Public Preview Release

The first version of a product is like the first draft of a story – you know you need to let others read it and give feedback, but there’s always more editing and chapters you want to write before you let it go out into the world. So, while we are proud of this public preview version, please know that this is a work-in-progress and there’s a lot more we want to do.

Microsoft has a long history of supporting K-12 computer science education – through products like Microsoft MakeCode, and programs like TEALS. Visual Studio Code for Education is an educational version of Visual Studio Code that is optimized for 9-12+ grade student learning experiences. Visual Studio Code is one of the most popular code editors used in the industry by professional software developers across the globe. Learning to code with a streamlined version of VS Code will support students preparing for the workplace by using the same tools and platforms as professionals.

Visual Studio Code for Education features:

  • Web interface - built on top of, the online version of Visual Studio Code, VS Code for Education is accessible across devices and platforms with no additional downloads, installs or configuration necessary – making it easy for educators to get their students up and running quickly and without worrying about software updates, versions, or troubleshooting.

  • Simplified UI – we know that students new to coding can be overwhelmed and intimidated by professional grade development environments. We made the interface simple and approachable by removing a lot of unnecessary menus, options, and status bars that may also distract students from their tasks. In addition, the main actions for students are clearer, i.e. the Run button.

  • Integrated Content – one of the biggest decisions we made was to tightly integrate learning materials with the code editor and terminal. When you open a course in VS Code for Education, you’ll notice a Table of Contents pane on the left, and a Content window displayed. Students move through the course receiving progress indicators, engaging with summative “Check Your Understanding” assessment modules and open-coding Python formative exercises.

  • Accessibility-focused – coding is accessible to all students with curriculum content, editor, and terminal support for screen readers, zoom and high contrast colors to improve content, editor, and terminal visibility, and keyboard-only navigation allowing for use without a mouse.

  • Python for the Web – students can code in terminal windows or in Python code files all within the browser – no interpreter or additional libraries needed to download or install.

  • Projects – in addition to the “Introduction to Python” course, VS Code for Education also provides a sandbox experience for students who want to create their own projects. In these projects, students can add, edit, and run their code files, never having to worry about storing their work - it will be automatically saved online to VS Code for Education, waiting for their next coding and learning session.