Sunday, October 02, 2016

Sharing the LogoTurtle at World Maker Faire

  • A 10 year-old boy who had never programmed in Logo saw the square example and immediately saw how he could modify it to make different shapes and nest that loop in another loop to make the multiple tiled shapes on the left. His dad was floored by what he did so quickly on his own. He left with his family for a while and came back a couple hours later and added to his octagon program to make the shape in the video. Amazing, he had been thinking about it while walking around and wanted to pursue his other ideas about it.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

More VR Explorations, Now in HTML

I just learned about Mozilla's A-Frame framework for VR development. Wired touts it as an easier solution to the heavy lifting required by the Unity environment. The main thing this get rid of are the iOS or Android platform requirements of setting up a Unity environment.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Learning From the Logo Turtle

Teaching with the LogoTurtle was an experiment for me last spring. I knew there would be a lot for my high school robotics students to learn from it but I didn't exactly know what. At the end of our LogoTurtle unit I asked the students to write about what they felt like they learned. I didn't prompt them to write about any specific aspect of their learning, I just wanted to see what would come out. I've been thinking about what they wrote and realized a few things; 1) each student is on her own learning adventure, 2) the LogoTurtle is actually teaching them as much as, and maybe more than, I am, and 3) what are often called the soft skills of learning-resilience, collaboration, making mistakes, perseverance-were a significant part of the experience for them.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Finally Figured Out How to Write a Class for Python Turtles

This explanation/examples did it. Exercise 4.2. Here is what I ended up with.

Updating Firmware on the Gogo Board V4

I have a bunch of Gogo Boards I've used for 4 years to teach creative making with robotics. Problem is mine are version 4.x and the developer, Arnan (Roger) Sipitakiat, has fully moved on to version 5.x. But there is a version 4.x setup that keeps my older boards working with Arnan's awesome blocks coding website, I'm writing this post to keep track of the pretty serious yak shaving necessary to keep them functional, probably only useful for my future fixes as only a small (Trump sized) handful of people ever used these boards. The Gogo Widget doesn't work to update the firmware on these older boards on a Mac, so I have to remove the Microchip PICs to reprogram the firmware. I have a Cana Kit UK1300 PIC programmer. But the software for writing the hex file to the PIC, PICkit 2, is PC only, so this tool is needed to write to the PICs on Mac. However, part of the instructions, adding two files to the root bin folder,

Monday, August 01, 2016

Thinking Through Ideas With Python Turtle

I like that you can program a screen turtle very easily with a straightforward Python installation and no additional setup. I was playing with it on a plane ride and went through a progression of ideas that I figure might be nice for people to see, along with the code. Using the screen turtle is a good way to move from Logo environments like Turtle Art to more challenging text-based coding with Python.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Make Your Own Virtual Reality App for Google Cardboard on iOS

I thought Google Cardboard was neat when I first saw it but a couple days ago I started playing around with creating 3D content for it and I'm blown away with the possibilities. I want to give a survey of some ways 3D content can be experienced in a Cardboard VR app but I'm not going to go super in-depth with any of them because each one is its own endless rabbit hole. The biggest hurdle, especially for making an app for iOS (as opposed to Android) is getting your Unity and XCode environment set up. Once that's working the rest is pure fun and amazement.

Saturday, May 07, 2016

LilyPad Arduino In the Classroom: Interactive Shirts

Last summer as a participant in the Constructing Modern Knowledge conference I had the opportunity to develop a project with the LilyPad Arduino (and meet Leah Buechley!). I worked with a wonderful group of educators to prototype a hat that lets you know with LEDs when you should apply sunscreen. I had only prototyped circuits with the LilyPad before, never actually sewing one into a project, so one big thing I learned during that project is that embedding the components into fabric involves as much problem solving and time as programming and prototyping the circuit.

Thursday, May 05, 2016

Code a Photobooth Program with P5 and a MaKey MaKey Controller

Creative student controller design!
This turned out to be a really fun project that my students can do quickly. We're using P5 to code a Photobooth program that streams the webcam and applies different filters the students choose. Plus we're adding a MaKey MaKey as a controller to work a little with