Monday, November 19, 2012

Teaching Tech with Badges (virtual and iron-on)!

Do you teach technology (arduino, raspberry pi, mobile dev, 3dprinting, making, hacking, etc.)?

I have been looking at the idea of using gamification in my classroom for some time now.  I really like the idea of quest-based learning and inquiry-based learning. -- Give the students a quest or topic, and they learn what is needed to complete it.  This is how many of us learn in the "real world."  When I looked for gamification ideas, I happened upon Boy Scouts.  I love the idea of earning merit badges.  Merit badges have specific requirements -- see Boy Scouts Computers merit badge for example.

Of course, most all of us already know about Edmodo's badge system.  The cool thing is that teachers can create their own badges with their own (unattached) requirements.  The problem is that the teacher has to create their own badges with their own requirements! :)

The two examples below are badges with pre-defined requirements.  Why reinvent the wheel? :)

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Teach Programming in a 1:1 iPad Classroom

So, you've heard that programming is the new language to learn.  You want to teach it to your students but don't have a laptop cart or classroom computer.  You do have a class full of iPads (or only one), though.  There is a solution!

Teaching Programming Logic

In an elementary class or middle school class... or a basic computer high school class, I suggest teaching programming logic.  Many people are familiar with Scratch (or other tools like: AliceAndroid App Inventor or Stencyl) to learn/teach computer programming logic.  For the iPad, there is a cool app by the crew from hopscotch called Daisy the Dinosaur.

In Daisy the Dinosaur, users can add "commands" to the "program" and play them to watch Daisy move, jump, etc.  It includes "advanced" concepts as: loops ("repeat 5") and when functions (based on touch or when the user shakes the device).  It's not as advanced as something like Scratch or App Inventor, but it is a good start to learn programming logic.  It comes with two modes: 1) Free-Play and 2) Challenge Mode.  The Challenge Mode is the place to start; it steps the user through the basics of the functions in a logical, sequential path.

Teaching Programming Code

For actual programming using code, I like the app Codea by Two Lives Left.  Codea uses LUA as its language.  This worked well for me, because I use Corona SDK (which also uses LUA) in my class to make mobile apps and games.  

Codea goes on sale every so often, so make sure to put it in your App Shopper wish list to be notified when it does.


The only bad thing with something like Codea is that there aren't many resources out there to teach introductory programming using Codea.  There are some tutorials for Codea.  Linked from that site is another Codea "Hello World" program tutorial and a LUA crash course that are worth checking out.

If the above tutorial sites are NOT enough to get started in programming, I would suggest using an online tool to learn how to code like Codecademy.  

A cool thing that I did find is that you can make games that work with the iCade using Codea.

a brief video I made about using the iCade with Codea

Once I get my Avertv HD Video Capture Card, I'm going to make some intro to programming using Codea tutorials... or better yet, have my students make them. :)