Level 4 JavaScript Animation Update

We now have hosting for the JavaScript Animation Memes from the Level 4 Training on Github.io. You can share your js.processing animated meme by uploading or copying the script to https://github.com/coders4liberty/js-memes and making a html document to run it. You can find further instructions in our training module.

The Foos Leaving the Fire

We have previously recommended the Amazon Fire tablet for young coders. However, the best coding game for the Fire tablet, The Foos, will no longer be available for the Fire tablet and will no longer be free. CodeSpark is developing CodeSpark Academy to build on and replace The Foos that will be available on Android, iOS, but will not be on the Amazon App Store. While there are still other coding games at the Amazon App Store such as Scratch Jr., Run Macro, and LightBot, The Foos was my personal favorite.

Sadly, this is one of the issues you run into with proprietary software. You cannot always use the software you want on the hardware you want to run it on. Sometimes, even software that already runs on the hardware you want to run it on will no longer work on the hardware. Richard Stallman would not endorse either The Foos or Amazon Fire.

Google launches Project Bloks, a tangible programming learning tool

I have said that GUI [graphical user interface] is the best way to start programming. However, I have come to realize that tangible, physical programming may be the best place to start.  Google is launching a project to create tangible coding blocks to help beginner coders better visualize the coding process. As Sheena Vaidyanatham states in the video, a key element to learning programming is persistence. You do not know the true joy of programming or mathematics until you encounter a challenging problem and find the solution through persistent tinkering. That is a skill that trumps knowing syntax any day.

Coding is Not Over.

While I do not like that Lauren Mendoza frames her argument as an attack on coding, she has a point. She seems to be operating under a different definition of coding. It appears she has noticed an over emphasis on syntax in the field and that has lead to a very negative perception of code. I concur with a lot of what she says. I find the nuances of syntax a bit annoying myself. I also prefer to use a graphical user interface [GUI]. I also believe coding should be about solving new, interesting problems and not an assembly line of redundancy and syntax. But I do not believe that coding itself should be a thing of the past. I would not say that GUI and coding are mutually exclusive. You can code using a GUI and coding can allow users of different skill levels to use the same interface. Continue reading