In the ever-evolving landscape of educational technology, Replit (formerly Repl.it) stands out as a beacon for coding education. A a web-based integrated development environment (IDE) founded in 2016, Replit offers a multitude of features designed to simplify access to coding environments, allowing students and teachers to keep the educational focus on learning to code. In this review, we’ll see how Replit measures up across factors that matter most for the K-12 classroom.
User Interface & Usability
For Beginners: Replit presents an uncluttered interface, welcoming novice programmers with an accessible workspace. In two clicks, your students can select the language they are working in, and have a space to start coding.
For Experienced Users: More experienced students will find advanced features tucked away in the interface, allowing you to create differentiated curriculum to meet the needs of every learning level.
Learning Curve: With embedded tutorials and intuitive tool tips, the platform ensures a smooth learning curve. It’s simple to introduce Replit with minimal explanation, and to integrate the platform into your classroom quickly.
Free Version: Replit’s free tier offers robust functionality, more than many other free programs offer. The free tier has some limitations on creating private repositories, and provides less computing power for free users. However, the power is enough for most classroom assignments.
Educational Discounts: Replit Teams for Education provides specially priced plans, giving educators and institutions access to a collaborative environment with enhanced privacy and control.
Premium Features: Teachers and schools can investigate upgraded plans that offer private repositories, unlimited collaborators, and more powerful computing resources, catering to more intensive or larger-scale projects.
Replit operates seamlessly across various operating systems, including Windows, macOS, Linux, and even tablets, requiring nothing more than a modern web browser. The pros are that student learning can take place anywhere. The con: internet access is a requirement, and you’ll need to ensure the site is approved for use by your district, as some districts have strict web access policies.
The platform shines with built-in tutorials, making it easy for students to start learning right away. You can monitor progress and manage classrooms with Replit Teams for Education, taking advantage of collaborative projects and assignment tracking.
Safety & Privacy
Support & Community
Customer Support: Responsive support is available, which is crucial for resolving any issues that may arise in a classroom setting – just locate the “Help?” button in the left menu bar, and you’ll be directed to the help you need.
Community: A vibrant community and extensive forums foster a collaborative environment where educators can exchange ideas and best practices.
Customizability & Extensibility
Educators can integrate their own content and leverage a multitude of third-party libraries and frameworks, ranging from code assistance to advanced applications. However, Replit does not support traditional plugins due to its online nature.
A particularly helpful feature of Replit is the ability to have multiple files supported, making it extremely useful in teaching more advanced programming classes.
Being a cloud-based platform, Replit requires an internet connection and does not offer an offline mode, which might be a deal-breaker for settings without reliable internet access.
Updates & Maintenance
Replit is maintained with regular updates, improving features and security, typically rolled out seamlessly to users without any action required. This makes it a great choice if you have little or no IT support for software installation and maintenance.
Real-time collaboration is a standout education feature, allowing students to work together on projects and receive peer feedback effortlessly.
Languages & Frameworks Supported
The platform supports over 100 languages and frameworks, making it highly adaptable to various curriculums and coding levels. It also offers templates in various languages and for different types of projects, including AI and Discord based projects, which are engaging and relevant.
Replit is suitable for a wide range of settings, from individual classrooms to entire school districts, with Teams for Education scaling to meet diverse needs.
Integration with Educational Suites
Integration with popular educational tools is limited but developing; for now, Replit primarily stands alone, though its comprehensive feature set ensures it covers most needs independently.
Students can build and share real-world projects, publish web apps, and even host them on Replit. This makes Replit a great solution for a wide range of students, from the very early stages of text-based coding through advanced computer science classes.
While Replit does not have specific accessibility features like screen readers, the web-based nature allows it to be used in conjunction with browser-based accessibility tools.
Replit is a great tool for classrooms, offering students access to code wherever they have internet: desktop, laptop, and even tablet. While no platform is without its limitations, Repl.it‘s strengths in collaboration, multi-language support, and ease of use make it an attractive choice for classrooms.