Showing posts with label Javascript. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Javascript. Show all posts

Friday, July 9, 2021

Blackbird Code - One of My New Favorites in 2021

I'm taking this week to recharge and get ready for the next session of the Practical Ed Tech Virtual Summer Camp. For the next few days I'm going to highlight some of my favorite new and new-to-me tools so far this year. 

Blackbird is a new platform for teaching programming to middle school and high school students. Blackbird is positioning itself as a platform that fills the gap between using a blocks-based service like Scratch and writing code in an IDE. Blackbird doesn't use blocks or even offer any blocks. Instead, Blackbird provides a series of interactive lessons in which students write JavaScript. 

Blackbird lessons are arranged in progressive units. From the first lesson students are building a game they can customize to their heart's content. When they've finished all of the lessons students can move onto a "workshop" where they can work on independent projects that you can observe from your teacher dashboard in Blackbird. 

There were a few features that stood out to me during my first run-through of Blackbird. First, students can get choose how much guidance they get on each lesson. Second, students' progress is locked in place as they go. Third, from your teacher dashboard you can see how much time your students spend on each activity. 

Students can use just the basic instructions for each lesson or click on the definitions and "deep dives" embedded within the instructions. Those definitions and deep dives give students an explanation of what they're writing and puts the explanation into an applicable context. 

Blackbird units are composed of progressive lesson sequences. When a student completes a lesson with 100% accuracy the code they wrote for that lesson is locked. It's locked because the next lesson will build upon their correctly written code. Locking the previously written code in place prevents students from accidentally changing their existing code and thereby impacting what they're currently working on. 



Applications for Education
While it's helpful to have some prior coding experience, Blackbird can be used by teachers who don't have any prior coding experience. Blackbird provides detailed tutorials and lesson guides for teachers who don't have coding experience. Furthermore, teachers can do the exact same lessons and activities as their students to learn alongside them.

This post originally appeared on FreeTech4Teachers.com. If you see it elsewhere, it has been used without permission. Sites that regularly steal my (Richard Byrne's) work include CloudComputin and 711Web. 

Monday, July 5, 2021

CodePen - One of My New Favorites in 2021

I'm taking this week to recharge and get ready for the next session of the Practical Ed Tech Virtual Summer Camp. For the next few days I'm going to highlight some of my favorite new and new-to-me tools so far this year. 

CodePen is a site on which students can create web apps or modify existing web apps that others have added to the CodePen galleries. The neat thing about CodePen is that in real-time students can see how HTML, CSS, and Javascript are used together to create web apps. 

In the following short video I provide an overview of the basic features of CodePen. In the video I also show how students can use CodePen to tinker with web apps to learn about the functions on HTML, CSS, and Javascript in a web application. 



CodePen Free and Paid Plans
CodePen offers free and paid plans. My students and I have only used the free plan so far. The paid plan offers additional features that could be helpful to me in the future. Those features include Professor Mode and Collab Mode. Professor Mode would let me remotely watch my students' progress in real-time. Collab Mode would let me and my students collaborate on projects in real-time much like working in Google Docs. You can read more about CodePen's paid plans for educators right here

This post originally appeared on FreeTech4Teachers.com. If you see it elsewhere, it has been used without permission. Sites that regularly steal my (Richard Byrne's) work include CloudComputin and WayBetterSite. Featured image created by Richard Byrne using Canva.

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Code Your Own Retro View-Master

CodePen is one of my favorite sites for helping students learn how web apps are constructed. In fact, I like it so much that I'll be featuring it in one of next week's Practical Ed Tech Virtual Summer Camp webinars. 

The concept of CodePen is that people can share the web apps that they develop and others can copy and modify those projects. The neat thing about it from a teaching and learning perspective is that you can see the how the CSS, HTML, and JavaScript work together. Edits made to the code are almost instantly carried-out for you to see. 

Earlier this week I received an email from CodePen that highlighted a few projects from the public project gallery. One of those projects that jumped out to me was the Visualizer 3000 project. The Visualizer 3000 lets you create an image gallery that is displayed in the form of a View-Master. A new image from your gallery is displayed each time you click on the handle on the side of the View-Master. 


Applications for Education
As I mentioned above, CodePen's format provides a great way for students to see how CSS, HTML, and JavaScript work together to form a web application. The Visualizer 3000 project could be a fun one for students to tinker with to change the color scheme, add pictures of their own, or change the number of pictures that rotate through the gallery.

Here's a video overview of how CodePen works.



This post originally appeared on FreeTech4Teachers.com. If you see it elsewhere, it has been used without permission. Sites that regularly steal my (Richard Byrne's) work include CloudComputin and WayBetterSite.

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Students Can Tinker With Web Apps on CodePen

Last week at the end of Two Ed Tech Guys Take Questions & Share Cool Stuff I briefly mentioned a site called CodePen that I've been using with my students for the last couple of weeks. CodePen is a site on which students can create web apps or modify existing web apps that others have added to the CodePen galleries. The neat thing about CodePen is that in real-time students can see how HTML, CSS, and Javascript are used together to create web apps. 

In the following short video I provide an overview of the basic features of CodePen. In the video I also show how students can use CodePen to tinker with web apps to learn about the functions on HTML, CSS, and Javascript in a web application. 



CodePen Free and Paid Plans
CodePen offers free and paid plans. My students and I have only used the free plan so far. The paid plan offers additional features that could be helpful to me in the future. Those features include Professor Mode and Collab Mode. Professor Mode would let me remotely watch my students' progress in real-time. Collab Mode would let me and my students collaborate on projects in real-time much like working in Google Docs. You can read more about CodePen's paid plans for educators right here

This post originally appeared on FreeTech4Teachers.com. If you see it elsewhere, it has been used without permission. Sites that regularly steal my (Richard Byrne's) work include CloudComputin and WayBetterSite. Featured image created by Richard Byrne using Canva.

Monday, May 3, 2021

Blackbird Code - Overview and First Impressions from My Students

Last week I published a written overview of a new learn-to-code platform called Blackbird. In short, Blackbird is a platform that is trying to bridge the gap between using block editors like Scratch and making students jump into a full-fledged IDE without any built-in support resources. Blackbird teaches students how to write code (specifically, JavaScript) through a series of short, guided lessons before challenging them with some "workshop projects." Along the way there are plenty of easily accessible help resources for students to use without having to leave the code that they're currently writing. Watch this video that I made for a visual overview of Blackbird.



Initial Impressions from My Students
I have a small group of students taking a Computer Science Principles class with me. In the class there is a mix of freshmen, juniors, and seniors (sophomores are welcome to take the class, I just don't have any this year). Today, I used Blackbird with them for the first time. All of my students thought the first few lessons were "too easy" and they breezed right through them. But by the time they got to the fourth lesson in stage 1, they didn't feel that way. At that point they started to use the "show me" button in Blackbird to get a little help writing their code. All of the students felt like there was a lot of repetition which, as one student pointed out, is a good way to learn the language.

The exception to the above impressions from my students was one junior who had a lot of prior experience writing JavaScript. He ripped through all of the stage 1 lessons very quickly. So quickly, in fact, that I challenged him to watch this video then try to code the Snake game. He accepted and will probably finish by the time class meets again on Thursday.



This post originally appeared on FreeTech4Teachers.com. If you see it elsewhere, it has been used without permission. Sites that regularly steal my (Richard Byrne's) work include CloudComputin, TodayHeadline, and 711Web. 

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Learn Javascript Fundamentals and More With Google's Grasshopper

About eighteen months ago Google published a mobile app called Grasshopper. Grasshopper was created as an app for students to use to learn to code on their Android phones or iPhones. Today, Google announced that you can now use Grasshopper in the web browser on your laptop or desktop computer.

Whether you use Grasshopper on a phone, tablet, or laptop each lesson starts with an introduction to the basic vocabulary of coding before moving into the coding lessons. You have to pass the vocabulary quiz before your can jump into the lessons. Each lesson has a tutorial, a practice activity, and a quiz. You have to successfully complete each lesson before progressing to the next one. Grasshopper will save your work in progress.

Applications for Education
I tried the Grasshopper app when it first came out and found it intuitive and easy to use. As I wrote then, I can see middle school and high school students following the tutorials with little or no intervention from their teachers. In fact, I'm going to have my 9th grade students try Grasshopper next week when I'm away for the day and a substitute teacher will be with them.