Monthly Archives: July 2013

Library codecamp for teens

Something we need to be seeing more of: a library offering a coding day camp for teenagers.

Last week the Chatanooga public library set forth on its summer day camp for teenagers learning code. After some enterprising Chatanoogans (Pythanoogans?) had success with a project called Community Py, an eight week course teaching Python to adults and teenagers, they applied for a grant for a more intensive summer session.

One 40,000 grant later, they had 55 Chromebooks and enough money to pay instructors and teaching assistants.

Now all they need, according to organizers, is more girls.


Bye bye Codecademy, MIT shows off a way to program using natural language


What if you could learn to code just by learning a few commands that match the way we speak or write?

Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute for Technology have shown off that for a few tasks, such as tweaking word processing documents and spreadsheets, people could use natural language as opposed to specific programming languages. As we spend more time in our digital worlds, making the manipulation of that world easier for everyone is the goal behind several startups such as IFTTTCodecademy or even ARB Labs, and is an essential ingredient for further breakthroughs.

The researchers in the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory demonstrated their findings using productivity software, but their methods might also work for other programming tasks. While it’s not exactly clear from the MIT release how this will work in practice, it’s awesome that such research is even happening. Giving more people the…

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Using Raspberry Pi in class

I’m inspired…

IMG_6441_2A practical guide for using Raspberry Pi in class –

This is a modified version of an article I was asked to write for The Guardian Teacher Network.

What exactly is the Raspberry Pi?

Computer Science pioneer, Seymour Papert wrote, “The role of the teacher is to create the conditions for invention rather than provide ready-made knowledge”. The credit-card sized, low-powered Raspberry Pi computer, costing about the same price as a textbook (£18) is one tool that can be used to help create these conditions. Designed and manufactured in the UK, the aim of this computer is to encourage children to tinker and experiment with computing technology at a very low financial risk, but offering massive educational value in return. The unconventional, bare-bones appearance of the Raspberry Pi computer frequently prompts more questions than it answers. In education, that is surely a good thing, for outstanding teaching is more…

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