Day Four 2015 - Coder

The day of the web programming workshop had finally arrived. I was excited for all that I had planned for my old and new students but nervous about whether the internet connection would work. It took a while for all of the computers to connect to the pi, and since only some computers had the ability to get google chrome or firefox, others were stuck with using and old version of internet explorer, that didn't show Coder well. However, we managed to get going, starting off the day discussion a few basics on the blackboard. We went through what HTML, css, Javascript, and node.js are used for and how we can code in each of them. We also talked about how the syntax for each of these languages is different from python and each other.

After that, we moved on to Coder. Here is a good time for me to talk about why I chose Google Coder. In my previous blog posts I have mentioned that I met the founders of the program in NYC and that I discovered the program on the raspberry pi website. However, what I haven't said before is that I have actually created cases for the Raspberry Pi B+ and 2 from scratch. I have made each individual case by hand and measured all of the parts myself. They are made of clear and tainted acrylic and say Pi á la Code (with logo) and Google Coder on the side. They are also easy to take apart and put back together because they require to stick the faces of the case together. My goal is to sell these cases to fundraise for Pi á la Code. Another purpose is that when I leave one of these Pis in Kasauli (so I can continue to teach Web Programming from California), the students will know which one has Coder and how to start it up. When I go back to California after this trip, I hope to make a better, more streamlined version.

After this we began to code. We started off with the first program, Hello Coder. The students were able to manipulate HTML, css, and javascript in order to change header text, body text, colors, fonts, and the background. They loved it! They really enjoy python, but web programming through Coder was a lot more interactive for them. They loved to see how the changes they made affect their website in real time. We talked about the different syntax including tags in HTML and how functions are written differently in javascript. Some of the students had never seen a website before, so this material was mind-boggling.

This little guy was my naughtiest student. He cracked a bunch of jokes and loved to get ahead of the class. Needless to say, he was also a lot of fun to have as a student. Along with the other boys, he really loved the Space Rocks game. At the end of the class, he held the top score of 10000! I hadn't seen my students so fascinated with these games before. Every time I tried to get them to move to a new topic, they didn't want to stop what they were doing. It was interesting to see that the boys favored manipulating the javascript of the game and the girls preferred editing the HTML and css on their title pages.

After we went through all of these files and the basics of Coder, we switched gears to creating our own apps. We began creating a basic flappy bird game, which we are going to finish virtually. Overall, the students had an amazing time. They loved how open and responsive everything was. Rather than python, which is not very visually appealing to code in, they really took a fancy to web programming. When I asked the class whether they preferred web programming or python at the end of the day, most of the boys said web, and most of the girls chose python!