Posts Tagged ‘learn to code’

Micro Adventure was a series books in the 1980s where you had to write computer programs to get from chapter to chapter. It was a great way to learn coding for a geeky kid looking for a good story related to computers. A few months ago, I was granted rights to use the books on a website, and now it’s in beta! Check out the site and let me know what you think!


“If you can read this, thank a teacher.” That was a poster in my 3rd grade classroom. They never said it would be “read this code.” Now that I’m teaching others to code, I can see why teachers continue to do their work, even if the career’s financial benefits aren’t in line with the value they add to society.
Take TEKY for instance. 50 people started to learn to code. 35 graduated after 9 weeks of instruction, and 7 more weeks of practicing what was preached. The teaching staff was paid a fixed amount. Those students? Off to careers paying $60K+ annually. Even for $100K of instruction – I don’t know what the total was – those students will have a huge impact on the economy many times that of the instructional investment. They’ve been launched from the nest, with incredible potential to live a better life than what the coal industry that abandoned them could offer. So the teachers hope for their “devlings,” and will teach another class to read and write code, and watch them grow and leave again.
It’s a bit heartbreaking. I still remember the jokes we told, the laughs and difficulties we shared as they learned, struggled, got up again and again, then got it. My fellow instructors I’m sure endured the same. You *want* them to succeed. And you’ve made dozens of friends along the way. They’re still your kids, though. They’re going to live their own lives, as careers, and once in a while you’ll reach out to each other to see how you’re doing. They’ll do great – you know that. Like a parent. They’re thankful – but they have a job to do, so they go do it. That pool of connections, of successes, grows. And I feel all teachers are greatly humbled by it. That’s real world change, simply by providing time, mind, and experience.
And maybe, someday, those students will become teachers, and receive the same joy and sense of pride we teachers do.
Dammit, “Cats in the Cradle” is in my head now.
Links to the graduation and open house videos:
Very proud!

I’ve noticed students feel learning object oriented programming appears tough when first exposed to structured development practices. To add insult to injury, boring example relationships like “people” and “students” and even types of fruit and their plant family relationships are used to show how objects relate to each other. I’m more in the camp believing learning “scary” new concepts should be fun, even memorable. People tend to remember good jokes, and forget dull experiences. I experimented with an approach to OOP. I used the old children’s storybook, Everybody POOPs.

We’re all human beings. All Humans eat and drink, and everybody poops. It takes a system to get to the pooping stage. We also fart. Adults fart and say excuse me!, while children fart and giggle. They’re still Human. Hopefully you can see how these related entities can be turned into computer classes.

I finally got around to recording a video of my teaching this concept, as it relates to classes in Microsoft’s C#. Student reactions are always enjoyable. Most of the time, they laugh, and have fun. I usually get compliments that it’s a lot easier to remember because it’s funny. Some people are disgusted I would talk about such a topic in class – I’m thinking those people don’t have a sense of humor. No photos are involved, so what’s the big deal?

Watch the Video

Here’s my original Blog Post about it

I was challenged last year to write a JavaScript version of Everybody Poops. I finally got around to that this year, explaining objects to students at the TeKY Initiative. That was a bit tougher, since JavaScript isn’t really object oriented. Still, it was fun. The students even got me a poop emoji mug 🙂 You can view the code here. You’ll need to use the console to play with the object.

I’m continuing to teach concepts in [what I feel are] fun, real world ways. My first step has been to create “Real World Programming” videos on YouTube. Two are complete as of this article – OOP (link above) and Inversion of Control + Dependency Injection. I hope to do a few more in 2017 as time permits. If you have a suggestion, please let me know!

I’ve been using this example for a couple years now – explaining Object Oriented Programming with a cute example based on the book Everybody Poops. It’s fun, and much less bland than the other OOP examples I’ve seen 🙂

Here’s the link:

In case you missed the first video on Inversion of Control and Dependency Injection:

This is the second video in my Real World Programmer series. I hope you enjoy!