Computer Literacy Program – Class 3 – Programming
|Ryan will do more thorough posts about the curriculum, the activities, and the effectiveness of the program when all the classes are complete on ideonexus.com. These are just my own personal recaps and memories.|
The third Computer Literacy class was on a topic near and dear to my heart– programming! Since we are doing the Computer Literacy Program out of our home, both dogs have been auditing the classes. But this is the first time a dog has helped with a lecture. Our first stab at explaining Logic Gates produced some pretty confused looks, so we elaborated using examples of people in the room. When the kids got a hang of the concept, we used Henry, who managed to squish himself between the students on the couch, as a quiz.
In case you want to administer a self-test in the privacy of your own home, here’s a reminder of what Henry looks like:
“HENRY IS A DOG AND HENRY IS ORANGE” I said.
“FALSE!” All the kids yelled.
“HENRY IS A DOG OR HENRY IS ORANGE”
I was quite proud. Henry, on the other hand, was confused. He couldn’t figure out why I was yelling his name.
To help demonstrate if statements, loops, variables and algorithms, Ryan had five kids each pick from a deck of cards. With a sixth kid acting as an index variable and another as a boolean flag, we walked through a live-action bubble sort in the living room. In the end all five card-carrying kids were lined up in order.
As soon as we started working through the examples in the directory, the kids noticed there was a file named “02SteveSmithVsLarryFitzgerald.htm”, so it built up a bit of a buzz with the boys. Before long, we got to that example. The kids opened it up in their web browser and started selecting.
The boy who liked Larry Fitzgerald was one of the first to click. A popup box declared that he was smart. He got a smug smile on his face, sat back on the couch and waited for his nemesis to react. The boy who favored Steve Smith clicked and was not pleased when a popup announced that he was wrong.
Instantly he looked up at me, “Did you do this?!?”
I nodded and he was even more appalled.
“Did you even LOOK at the stats?!?!”
In a heated tone, he started to detail why Steve Smith was superior to Larry Fitzgerald.
The moment could not have been scripted better! Right then, Ryan swooped in and said, “Well, if you don’t like it– let’s change it!”
Everyone opened the source code into WordPad and [with some hints] found the code that was responsible for the taunts. Then each child typed in what he/she wanted to see (One girl who didn’t like football at all changed both of her prompts to read “Who Cares?!?”). They saved their changes, reopened up the page in Internet Explorer and [with some minor debugging here and there thanks to single quotes or inadvertently erased semi-colons....] each child got to see popups that matched his/her views.
Now the boy who liked Steve Smith was much happier.
CODE REVISED BY A STEVE SMITH FAN
When I was in college and first dabbling in HTML, I remember how exciting it was to refresh a page in Netscape and see a change that I had made. Even if it was something simple like a background color, it was thrilling. I told the browser to do that. That was my doing!
Being able to watch the kids refresh their pages and see their handiwork come to life…
That was my favorite moment of the night.