Down the Rabbit Hole with Alice

I read Randy Pausch's The Last Lecture when I was in college. In it, Randy talks about developing Alice and how it impacted his career and his views on teaching computer science to kids. At the time, I remembered thinking, "I should download and try it out." But, I never did. Fast forward seven years.Read More

Scratch is the Hardest Thing I’ve Done in a While

I'm not going to lie - I found this week's assignment really, really difficult. More on that later. Nearly all of the coding I've done has been in front-end web development. I like playing with HTML structure and seeing what I can do with CSS. Lately, I've been creating a blog template which added someRead More

Abstraction

The essence of abstraction consists in singling out one feature, which, in contrast to other properties, is considered to be particularly important. Sparks of Genius, p. 72 Looking past the obvious is hard to do, especially when you're up against a deadline. Our quick-to-consume culture has conditioned us to see the world in snippets...short burstsRead More

Loops, Algorithms, and Headaches

Loops When I got into coding, loops were one of the more difficult tasks for me to get the hang of - especially iterating through conditions. Part of my struggle is that I made my loops too complicated...I tried addressing symptoms, not the overall desired behavior. When I jumped into the Noughts and Crosses game,Read More

Prototypes and Constructing Models

Each year teaching chemistry, I made it a point to my students that everything they learn over the course of the year is based on observation and best guesses. Up until 2009, we hadn't actually seen a molecule or an atom...they're just too small. What we can see is how they behave and change whenRead More

Game Theory and Computational Thinking

Game Theory Games and learning go hand in hand. Children learn social interaction, communication, and even motor skills through playing. Remember, Piaget and early learning theorists broke learning down into formal and informal actions. Play is very much in the informal category, with school in the formal setting. Lately, the gamification movement has pushed toRead More

Computational Thinking

I'm a scientist. I think in terms of what I can see and manipulate. Part of my training included a large amount of time making changes in systems, observing results, and making new changes in order to answer a question. It was systematic, measured, and thorough. Naturally, that tendency bleeds over into my relationships, parenting,Read More