By Sue Smith

June 10, 2024

How we use Glitch to support learning at Fastly

Glitch is an empowering platform in so many ways. It enables people to bring creative visions to life by eliminating much of the friction you face on a typical web development pathway. It has been a source of immense joy to me over the years to show people who have never made a website how to build one in Glitch. The delight people feel at being able to make a site appear online never gets old. This year I’ve had the pleasure of bringing that experience to my coworkers at Fastly.

This is for everyone #

In the first part of 2024, we ran a new type of employee product training within the company. The goal was to enable employees with product knowledge, use this to refine the public learning experience we give our users, and open a channel of UX feedback that would inform our efforts to make Fastly easier for everyone.

We decided to prioritize making the training accessible to absolutely everyone who works at the company, regardless of their knowledge level or role. Constraints included no expectation of developer skills, no requirement to download or install dev tools or environments, no accounts with dev platforms like GitHub.

Scheduling realities at a company like ours also meant we had a one hour time slot to get everyone in each session to a point where they’d achieved something valuable and that would act as a foundation they could build on. How could we achieve such a thing – to the Glitch fans among us the answer was obvious!

Making the web can be fun #

When I watch people embark on technical training, the point at which they first experience Glitch is always visibly impactful. By removing barriers like setting up local environments or figuring out how to deploy your site to get it online, you can jump straight into the activities that are meaningful to most people – like making a thing appear in a web page.

The aesthetic choices in Glitch also create a sense that you’re in a friendly, safe place – it tells you this is indeed for you, and not only that, you might actually enjoy yourself. It’s impossible to overstate how much of a game-changer this is when you’re trying to get people to try coding for the first time.

If you want to learn, teach #

Teaching in Glitch

Being able to facilitate a shared, live learning experience was invaluable in helping me understand how to teach Fastly. Getting feedback in the moment meant I could identify the points at which people get stuck or confused. Most importantly, teaching a varied audience helped me figure out how to articulate the value and purpose of our tech in a way that would make sense to more people.

As an educator I’ve been a Glitch superfan since long before they were daft enough to let me work there. As the years pass and technologies change, my belief in the power of this magical platform only continues to grow.

🎒 There are lots of ways you can use Glitch projects to teach coding skills – check out ~teach-in-glitch for some of them and join in the monthly community code jams!