One of the things I’m kinda excited about is trying out a totally different way of teaching JS. First off, the kids will have already been introduced to both HTML/CSS and Python: a few days of each. But most importantly, I’m gonna try diving straight into making things.
Changing colors dynamically, moving shit around, animation, building your own image search engine, etc. they’re all in the first few hours of learning the language.
What I’m not touching on is the fundamentals. “This is an array”. “This is passed by value, this is passed by reference”. “This is an object.”
It’s an interesting (and potentially dangerous) way to approach this stuff. For example, they won’t have a memory model of how a lot of these things work, which I suspect is going to really hurt debugging. But we’ll see.
On the other hand, I suspect we’re gonna get a lot more enthusiasm from the kids than we did with the same class last year. It’s kinda hard to keep them awake through yet another syntax lesson.
Anyway, I’m still iterating on the lesson plan. (And it doesn’t contain all my voice overs.) But feedback welcome!
Via jwz. And let’s be honest, the real travesty is the implicit braces, the uncapitalized ‘foo’ and the lack of docstring…
Reason #473878543 we need to teach people about how the web works.
It kinda sounds like the name of a Harry Potter book, doesn’t it? Mozilla Webmaker, and the Summer Code Party.
Ahhh yes, that must be the novel in which a Mozilla Webmaker encounters a 404 page, and has to enlist the help of his friends to defeat it, only to discover that the only safe way to sail through the world wide web … is aboard … a friend – ship. (/tinygag)
What it means, though, is that we finally have an awesome central hub to send people who want to learn how to make things on the web: webmaker.org
To kick off this initiative, we’re launching the Summer Code Party, which starts on June 23rd:
We’re inviting everyone to join or volunteer at free local events and teach-ins around the world. With new Webmaker tools, event kits and starter projects designed to make it easy, social and fun.
We’re not doing this alone. We want to build a big tent for everyone who shares our goal of a more web literate planet. Amazing partners are joining the party, from Tumblr, Creative Commons and Code for America to SoundCloud, the San Francisco Public Library, the London Zoo, and dozens of others. Plus special events with Boing Boing’s Cory Doctorow, OK GO’s Damian Kulash, and more.
What types of programs can participate? Summer camps, day camps, summer schools, public libraries, recreation centers, neighborhood groups, your kitchen table — anyone with a willingness to make, learn and engage using the open building blocks of the web.
If you’re interested in participating in the Summer Code Party, you can find an event near you, or create your own. This is a great opportunity for the readers of this blog to think about the people around them who might be interested in learning a bit of webmaking. You don’t have to be a web pro to create an event — all you need is a few friends, a kitchen table to gather around, and a desire to build, make and play. We’ll try to help with the rest!
I’ve now had two great instructor-based events: the Toronto hackjam, and the Boston meetup.
In my ongoing attempt to make myself as obsolete as possible, I’ve put together two documents for folks who are interested in running similar events in their area.
I definitely want to try more of these types of events — I think I learned a lot in both cases, but I’d also like to start seeing them spread beyond the confines of my little packed calendar. So if you’re interested in running one of these in your local area, let me know!
Last Saturday at the Mozilla Toronto offices we held a hackjam for classroom teachers with the idea of exploring the concept: how can I inject learning technology directly into my existing curriculum?
We had a great turn-out of 40+ teachers from K-8 all the way through college.
Some photos of the event here:
Big thanks to the session instructors who did all the heavy lifting of motivating and inspiring our participants:
- Marco Tomada and Zaki Patel: Introduction to Scratch
- Laurie MacDougall: Collaborative Story Writing on the Web
- Rochelle Mazar and Lauren Di Monte: Wikipedia Editing for Credit
- Laura Hilliger: Intro to Collaborative Web Making
- Kate Hudson: Making Web Movies with Popcorn
- Shadi Yazdan: Edmodo in the Classroom
For those of you who are sad that you couldn’t make it, or horribly jealous and wish we could host one in your city, I plan on putting together a howto for this type of event format, so please do contact me if you’re interested in giving it a shot.