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tips & tricks

ScratchEd and Harvard research teams guide to Introduction to Computing Using Scratch

By | blog, Scratch, tips & tricks, tutorial

CoderDojos across the world use Scratch as a way to introduce young people to fundamental coding concepts. The Scratch team have created AN INTRODUCTORY COMPUTING CURRICULUM USING SCRATCH. It consists of a teaching guide and student workbook. It was developed by members of the ScratchEd research team at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

WHAT IS CREATIVE COMPUTING?

Creative computing is… creativity.

Computer science and computing-related fields have long been introduced to young people in a way that is disconnected from their interests and values – emphasizing technical detail over creative potential. Creative computing supports the development of personal connections to computing, by drawing upon creativity, imagination, and interests.

Creative computing is… empowerment.

Many young people with access to computers participate as consumers, rather than designers or creators. Creative computing emphasizes the knowledge, practices, and fundamental literacies that young people need to create the types of dynamic and interactive computational media that they enjoy in their daily lives.

Creative computing is… computing.

Engaging in the creation of computational artifacts prepares young people for more than careers as computer scientists or programmers. It supports young people’s development as computational thinkers – individuals who can draw on computational concepts, practices, and perspectives in all aspects of their lives, across disciplines and contexts.

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How To Learn To Code – Resources for continuing coding

By | blog, classes, tips & tricks, tutorial

What is code?

Code, in computing, is program language.

There are many different types of program languages used by different software and hardware. Just like the many human languages, program languages have rules to follow and spelling to consider. They also allow you to get creative within those rules.

Unlike human languages, different program languages can work together to create more powerful programs. Sometimes, one program language can greatly enhance another.

Before we can write our poetry with code, we must first learn some of the rules.

Web program languages

In web development, there are 3 types of languages that all do different jobs:

  1. Markup
  2. Document Object Model (The DOM)
  3. Server-side

You guessed right if you guessed that these languages work together.

Markup

Markup is what gives a web page it’s structure. HTML (or, Hyper Text Markup Language) is the old reliable champion of web markup. Every web browser is built to read HTML, though different browsers can read things slightly differently.

Think of a web page as a human body, it has different parts that do different things. Markup is like the bones.

<html>
<head></head>
<body></body>
</html>

DOM

The DOM, in a nutshell, is an object. In code, you can picture an object like a family tree. There are parents and children and grandchildren nodes, and they all have names and are unique.

The only difference here is that there will only ever be one parent.

Let’s pause and look around with Mozilla’s X-Ray Goggles tool. This tool is similar to more advanced developer tools, and it is performing an action called traversing the DOM.

https://goggles.webmaker.org/

JavaScript

Just as web browsers use the HTML standard to read markup, browsers also use JavaScript (also known (to the very nerdiest) as ECMAScript). JavaScript does an excellent job at DOM traversal, telling us information about what a user is interacting with on a web page.

It can be used to perform interactive tasks like popping up a slideshow gallery when you click a thumbnail image, or switch tabs within a web page. It can also be used to send and receive data in the background, silently, as a user interacts with the program.

Keep in mind, all things in the browser run on your computer, relying on your resources to do the work. This is known as ‘client-side’, browsers are the client.

Server Side

Server-side code gives a web page access to web server resources – this can include datestamps, access to data sources, and can perform program logic. This is often similar logic to JavaScript language, except it runs on this code is run on the web server, relying on those services to do the work.

Some examples of server side code are PHP, and Ruby. Similar languages, different manufacturers.

There is a performance trade-off coding for server vs client, tip for all the future pros in the room.

Code Lessons

HTML & CSS

http://www.codecademy.com/tracks/web

JavaScript

http://javascript-roadtrip.codeschool.com

Server Side

http://www.codecademy.com/tracks/ruby

Developer Tools

https://www.codeschool.com/courses/discover-devtools

Additional Resources

HOW TO BUILD A WEBSITE (HTML/CSS) – Website 101 walkthrough

By | blog, tips & tricks, tutorial
LEARN TO CODE, FOR FREE!
Sunday, February 23rd 2014 from 10AM-1PM
Bitmaker Labs – 20 Duncan Street, Toronto, ON – Unit 201

Toronto, ON – CoderDojoTo has free classes for young people to learn computer & code skills. By following our lead instructor’s visual presentation, students and mentors work together to create a unique web page.

You will need:

A text editor – The software we need to edit our code.
Text Wrangler for Mac (free) – http://bit.ly/1aakfTP
Notepad++ for Windows (free) – http://bit.ly/1g76DLF
Sublime Text for Windows (free trial)- http://bit.ly/KaHm4P
Sublime Text for Mac (free trial) – http://bit.ly/1jbo6D6
A web browser – To view our code (hint: you’re using one to see this code too!)
The slides: 
View externally: http://bit.ly/1os8agM