Category Archives: Understanding

Adding Backgrounds to Paper 53

Paper 53 Logo
Paper 53 Logo

I was asked the question of how to add back grounds in Paper 53 the other day. Actually, that’s not exactly right. The question I was asked was, “Is there an app on our Divisional iPads that we can do blue print type designs on?” In fact, there might be…

Paper 53 has a lot of tools that will make the drawing of shapes and lines easy and fairly exact and they are explained in some detail on their site… Paper 53 Drawing Tools

Here’s a little taste of their abilities… Diagram Tools

In addition to have tools that allow for fairly exact drawing, there is also a tool that allows for incredible zooming for close up work. Zooming in Tool

Finally, Paper 53 also allows for various backgrounds to be added in, such as storyboards or blue prints or grids. Here’s how that is accomplished:

Adding Backgrounds in Paper 53 from Keith Strachan on Vimeo.

Human Books – Massive Sharing Circle

Sharing StudentsEvery once in while, one participates in an event that has a lasting impact on the soul – not in a troubling way, but in a way that reaches out, delicately torches, in some cases embraces, one for the better.

Today one of the strongest characters & most innovative teachers I know, asked me to be a “human book” and share a personal story along with 42 other human books in a massive sharing circle. It was breath-taking & awe-inspiring! And inside? My heart and soul reeled with hope as I watched students take in stories, share their own perspectives, not caring about their own differences or their issues, only wanting to share and talk openly about the story and the issue at hand. It was mind blowing how focussed and respectful participants all ages were.

Many of my fellow “books” had props or artifacts to sustain interest. This was a really good idea, but not one that worked well with my story. I was my own artifact. A lot of the stories I heard were quite positive! I shuddered a bit because, while mine ultimately turned out alright, it was not exactly a rosy story! I fretted, but unnecessarily so! The participants didn’t judge MY book by it’s weathered old cover. Nor did they deem my story unworthy. Quite the opposite in fact. My message of facing challenges, staying positive and not giving up despite what happens on your educational journey seemed to hit home with many. And many were surprised that a teacher could have such educational trouble!

This brings me to the part where I want to thank everyone, most especially Chantelle Cotton, for making this incredible experience possible.

Today hundreds of people connected in a way that was beautiful, deeply appreciative, and wonderfully connected! The sense of community, peace and consecutiveness was palatable.

We need more events like this!!!

Heat VS Temperature

I have been working on a HEAT VS TEMPERATURE simulation for a Grant Park coding challenge. The prototype appears below. I have limited the speed to 50 and the number of cloned objects to 50 as well. My temperature measurements at the moment are pure fiction and I would love some advice on formulas to make those more accurate.

At any rate, the idea would be to have students generate the code to create the simulation in order to explore what happens to heat and temperature when you increase or decrease the speed and/or number of particles in a substance.

Please feel free to email any feedback:  Contact Me

Should Kids Learn to Code? | Gaby Hinsliff

Learning to Code
Learning to Code

Recently, my Director gave me an interesting article to read entitled Should Kids Learn to Code? by Gaby Hinsliff. It was a fairly involved read and I thought I do my own version of a Storify of it!!! So here goes…

“Everyone should learn how to program a computer, because it teaches you how to think.”

…learning to code is simply learning to tell machines what to do…

“We want people who are comfortable with that sense that there’s no right answer.”

Teaching word processing packages and PowerPoint was all very well, they argued, but to become programmers, children needed to get under the bonnet and understand how computers work.

We’re teaching too many kids in schools how to use applications, not to build them.

Non-specialists can teach basic office IT skills, but teaching computational thinking requires more in-depth knowledge.

Although the tech industry is overwhelmingly male-dominated, this group, typically for a Code Club class, comprises roughly 40% girls. Yet girls tend to drift away from computing in their early teens – boys outnumber girls at A-level computer science by nine to one.

Perhaps that is the single most honest argument for teaching everyone to code: to give everyone an equal shot.

So, what in a nutshell, is the author’s & my opinion on the question? Yes. Emphatically yes! Students should learn to code. More importantly though, special attention will need to paid to engage and keep girls involved through the teen years.

WSD Coding Challenge Week 4 & 5 Drawings

Here’s the form where you can submit you drawings for this weeks challenge… Please have to try to have these submitted by week’s end.

 

WSD Coding Challenge Week 4 & 5 – Drawing App

As we zoom towards the break, I have been reminded that parent-teacher conferences have been or are in full swing. It is sometimes hard to keep up with outside projects at this time of year. With that in mind…

This week’s challenge is going to be a little different. One of the greatest thing about building an app is that you can actually start using that app!!! That, in fact, is the incredible power of coding! Solving a real problem, coming up with a solution that allows one to create or progress forward – in our case, we have been designing an app that can paint and draw!

Over the last number of weeks, Marcel Laroche’s class have been active participants in the WSDHSchallenges! One of his students has literally dropped this week’s challenge in our laps. And it’s an awesome one! See if you can guess it from just looking at the image below (posted with permission)…

Marcel Laroche's Class image

This weeks challenge is to actually USE the app you have created to PAINT or DRAW something special….

I am hoping you are all familiar with Chris van Allsburg’s book called “The Stranger”. If not, get it from the library and have a read or check out this PDF link…

The Stranger

This is a story about the seasons changing. We happen to be in the same situation right now. Spring is trying to arrive, but is having a hard time deciding whether or not it’s truly ready. What’s going on? Could it be that something like what happened in The Stranger is happening to us here in Winnipeg?


HERE’S THE CHALLENGE…

The challenge this week is to use the drawing app to draw a series of pictures…
As a classroom, decide what your picture(s) should be about? Should the class try to show pictures of Spring? Will the class retell the story of The Stranger but from a Spring point of view? Will you stick the images together in a sequence, creating a kind of image movie and add music? Get creative. I would love to post all these images online to show the power of app creation and use….

To that end, I will be posting an image submission form on Wednesday this week for uploading your images or images sequences… I will allow the following images upload types (jpeg, jpg, png, gif, tiff, mp4, m4v, mov). Please let me know if you need another file type enabled for some reason.

You will need some help with this as we have no way of actually “saving” the images out of our drawing app at the moment. I have posted a tutorial too assist with this below. The process for “saving” is the same whether you are using Scratch or Hopscotch.

WSDCodeCHWK4Prep from Keith Strachan on Vimeo.

How to get Screenshots from an iPad
Getting Screenshots from an iPad

FINALLY, SURVEY SAYS???

I would also appreciate if the teachers participating in the challenge please complete this survey to give me a sense of what’s working and where to go next…

Have a great Break!!!

WSD Coding Challenge Week 3 Solutions – Drawing App

This week I am going to show you how to search for my code examples in Hopscotch and essentially download them to your iPad so that you can explore my code easily.

WSDCodeCHWK3Solution from Keith Strachan on Vimeo.


I have uploaded the Scratch project to the MIT site and have embedded it here for your convenience to have a look at.

WSD Coding Challenge Week 3 – Drawing App

Week 3 Challenge: Paint Brush Size
Week 3 Challenge: Paint Brush Size

Line… is the most important part of any painting. (Lyle Carbajal)

This week gets a little more challenging! The challenge is to create widgets that will handle the brush size, making it both thicker and thinner as needed! We will be covering a couple of new concepts this week (If-Statements, “Listeners & Light switches”) as well as reviewing variables again.

Here’s the overview of the task:

WK3 Adding Line Widget from Keith Strachan on Vimeo.

What’s critically important to understand about the task is that Hopscotch isn’t actually completely up to the task…. We need a way to trigger things exactly when we want things triggered. For example, in this week’s code, each time the button that increases the paint brush’s thickness is tapped, two things essentially happen: 1) the paint brush’s thickness increases and 2) the display indicating the paint brush’s thickness changes to display the current paint brush thickness. This ALL needs to happen when the button is pressed and we need to trigger this.** We accomplish this feat with a variable and a listener routine.** Lets have a look at the logic that might come into play here…

Logic for Decisions in Coding Paint Brush Size
Logic for Decisions in Coding Paint Brush Size

Hopefully this makes some sense. The yellow objects in the diagram represent variables, the diamonds are decisions, or in Hopscotch if statements, and the boxes are commands. So the logic reads something like this…

  1. If a variable called IsTapped is ON then the Display needs to be updated and we need to check the next decision.
  2. Is the Brush Size at its Max? There seems to be a variable called MaxBrushSize and if it’s been reached then it’s displayed and the brush size is set to this value.
  3. OTHERWISE we move on. Are we at the Minimum brush size? Another decision. There doesn’t seem to be a variable for the minimum brush size so this is probably a hard coded value like 1! If it has been reached then it’s displayed and the brush size is set to this value.
  4. OTHERWISE the current brush size is displayed (there is a variable called BrushSize for this) and the brush size is incremented by BrushSizeIncrement which seems to be another variable.

Let’s walk through this in an example closer to our drawing app.

WSDCodeCHWK3Prep from Keith Strachan on Vimeo.

Here’s another example of how to handle if-statements in HopScotch. It’s similar to what you will need to create in your drawing app.

WSDCodeCHWK3PrepC from Keith Strachan on Vimeo.

One last bit of help to get you started. Let’s think just a bit about how to set up your interface:

WSDCodeCHWK3PrepB from Keith Strachan on Vimeo.


I realized last week that I gave enough information for the Scratch coders to accomplish this kind of coding already. In fact, they should be able to apply lessons learned last week to a line or paint brush resizing widget in their program this week.


As usual, I am available for online or in school support (in Winnipeg) if needed or desired. Let me know.