Friday, July 18, 2014

Can Middle School Kids Create iOS Apps?

The Problem

No question about it, Apple does not make it easy to write apps for iOS. I take the fact that the Apple Developer program license is only free to university programs to be just one sign that Apple does not expect many students in K-12 to be making apps, no matter how much teachers may want them to (and they do!). I'm not talking about rare whiz kid 12 year-olds who follow enough tutorials and have enough guidance and a fairly good idea to make an app and get it in the store. I work with teachers who want to integrate app-making for iOS into their science curriculum, with 50 students developing

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Arduino waitForButtonPress function

Lots of programming robotics languages (RobotC, leJOS NXJ, Cricket Logo, NXT-G) have functions that allow you to suspend processes while waiting for some kind of input. My robotics students most learned about leJOS NXJ's Button.waitForAnyPress() method. When we moved on to programming Arduinos one of them wanted to use the same concept to run a sensor calibration routine in setup(). So we had to make one, and it turned out to be very easy. She was initially trying to do something complicated with boolean variables but I remembered using this simple construct in