December 14, 2014

3 More Things to Share about our Hour of Code Week -- A Project, a Challenge, and a Presentation

I have three more things to share about our grassroots Hour of Code Week at our school.

1. A project. Mr. Van Amburgh's Stagecraft class did a full-on coding project this week. Here are comments made by some of the students about the tutorials:

"The app that I played was the angry birds one, Due to the blocks, the game was simple and fun. Although coding might not be as simple and fun, trying it for the first time in a way like that is very good for a beginner, such as myself. I had so much fun I played multiple rounds on the angry birds app, and even tried a couple others, like coding combat, coding combat was more fun probably because it was easier to just type in what you wanted your character to do. I also played Isaiah's game, Ping Pong madness, the game was simple and fun, and for his first time ever making a game, I give him a 5 out of 5 stars. (Right now I am the current record holder with 55 bounces without drops.)" -- Ethan 

"The apps that I had played were the angry birds app and the coding combat ones. They were fun and simple to understand. I had played two rounds in the coding combat app because I just love vikings so much and I had played multiple rounds on the angry birds app. I had found that the coding combat was more fun probably because it was a bit easier to just type in what you wanted the character to do than to drag over the box that said what the player was going to do. I had just kinda figured out how to do the coding from the doing what the game asked me to do." -- Erika

"The app I tried was called touch develop. Its system was basic and easy enough to follow, even for someone abhorrently bad with technology like myself. It taught me about java script programming by having me make a little animation. The app was informative but not very interesting. I would have liked it better if there had been more of a focus on problem solving instead of procedures that had to be followed to the dot. Because programming is a science that requires exact calibration, I have never been that interested in it. If there more freedom for variation it mite be more appealing to me." -- Ari

"Using the angry birds and bad pig tutorial, I was able to code the program so that the bird would quickly find the pig. It was extremely simple thanks to the blocks, but I had to watch the video in order to figure it out. Having never done any coding this was all very new to me. Although the beginner tutorial was easy and fun, I can definitely see how complex this process can become when I look at the actual code. It reminded me of the block puzzle I used to play on my iPod, where you have to get the red block pass the other blocks that can only move in one plane. The problem solving element is the basis of both and keeps me guessing how to make the solution the shortest." -- Sarah

"I experimented with scratch. It was pretty fun, with many interesting things, like the box style. It simulated programming with scripts, but much simpler. The only thing I did not like about it was that it was very hard to do simple things, like make the screen scroll with the character. It also took a lot of experimenting for the use of variables, which was pretty fun yet challenging to figure out." -- Noah

I really liked the program I used. I picked the game called Code Combat, which is basically like a medieval RPG where you go through each level trying to collect gems and even get to fight monsters. I liked it so much that I actually made a free account so that I could save my progress! It was surprisingly easy to do coding, all you have to do is type commands for your character to do on the sidebar and then click "run" for the character to do them. It's a really cool and fun way to learn the basics of coding. -- Jessica

"I liked the tutorial, and it was really fun to try. I've tried to do coding before, but it always failed. The blocks definitely make it easier to program a game/movement/action; they were less confusing, since they weren't made up of numbers, letters, and punctuation symbols I didn't understand. Although some parts were a bit odd, it got less confusing after a few tries. :)" -- Lauren

"I had fun with the tutorial of the program. Then I made a ping pong game by myself and it actually turned out ok. The process is difficult but if you do it enough it becomes habit. I would recommend trying multiple game styles to learn how to make a game. I want all of you to try my game out but I don't know how you can find it." -- Isaiah

2. A Challenge. Jesse Doan of the AP Computer Programming Class issued a challenge to all Seabury students to break his Cooney code:

Can you figure out "What Cooney Likes"? :)

3. A Presentation. Our week ended with a last-minute, very informative lunchtime presentation by some of our AP Computer Programming students.

Relaxing for a photo, after the presentation -- presenters and attendees
Not a bad turnout considering the late notice and the competition (Cooking decorating and Christmas caroling in the dining hall. :D )

Computer teacher Mrs. Hodara is hoping that some of the attendees will sign up for AP Computer Programming class next year!

◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊

P. S. The winners of the Hour of Code participation drawing ....?

... will be announced tomorrow in school. 

Thanks to everyone who participated in the Hour of Code this year! We will plan earlier next year, for an even better celebration.

Keep on coding!


BESTS I'm Voting For (and Recommend) for the 2014 Edublog Awards, the #eddies

As Joyce Valenza mentions in her article Edublogs (discovery) time! the Edublog Award lists are a great place to

"scout for, shop for, or discover inspirational voices."

Here are some of my favorites:

Best group blog

Yollis' 365 Blog. A beautiful photo-filled, inspiring, crowd-sourced blog using Blogger's Flipcard design. Genius! And +Linda Yollis is so dedicated!

Best ed tech / resource sharing blog

Free Technology for Teachers. Solid information I can count on. Yes, it's in my Must Read category of my Feedly reader.

Shake Up Learning. So many good tips! Notifications are ON in G+ for +Kasey Bell's stream of goodness. The woman does not sleep, I know. :)

Best twitter hashtag or twitter chat

I voted for #edchatHi, of course! Our little group of Hawaii educators ROCKS! Please consider #edchatHI for your vote.

Best class blog

Mrs. Yollis' Classroom Blog. Am I fan of Linda and her work? Most definitely!

Best free web tool

Luckily, I didn't have to choose just one in a category, because I went kind of wild here.

I voted for: Padlet, Pinterest, Canva, Google for Education, Dropbox, and Commonsense Media. I adore and use them all!

Here's another category where I went loopy with the button-clicking. I want to celebrate and support all of these people for their stellar work and dedication over the years.

So there you have it, my favorites!

Check out ALL of the categories and nominees:

The deadline for voting is December 15, but you'll have lots of time to follow, learn, and be inspired. :)


P. S. Yes, I did indeed vote in the Library/Librarian blog category, but I am refraining from publicly mentioning my choices in this blog. There are so many brilliant voices in the category (Librarians ROCK) -- I would vote for ALL of them if it didn't cancel out my votes. Check them out and vote

December 11, 2014

School Librarians: Consider Applying to Present at the Research Relevance Colloquium

Dear school librarians,

Have a research experience you want to share? +Tasha Bergson-Michelson and +Jole Seroff are looking for proposals for their Research Relevance Colloquium, to be held before the ALA Conference in June.

The Research Relevance website has a partial wish list of the kind of proposals Tasha and Jole are looking for:

+Debbie Abilock and +Kristin Fontichiaro will be offering insights at the colloquium, and Tasha and Jole will be presenting as well. 

Tasha and Jole came on Google Rocks! Hawaii to talk about research and their project. Here are some of my takeaways:

•Jole summarized what the Research Colloquium will be about: "What are the key skills for us to be teaching, thinking about our students who are actively learning in the 21st century, in a very different environment from that in which most of us were trained to teach information skills? We're looking for best practices for teaching and the most critical skills for our students in their futures."

•Reference was made to the book Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman, with slow thinking as a good metaphor for research.

•We want kids to ask good questions, rather than just locating proof.

•Here are two hashtags to explore: #tacitresearch and #researchrelevance (official hashtag of the colloquium)

•We shouldn't be a victim of our tools. Our tools should empower us.

For more thought-provoking specifics about teaching research, check out the rich discussion:

The deadline for proposals is December 15. Consider applying!

More information about the Colloquium is forthcoming. Bookmark the website!

Happy researching ...