…my first week and first assignment -done!
CS50x – Week 0
I rather enjoyed my first week of CS50x. It was a rather fabulous and novel feeling to be using my brain again, well other than for answering endless “why?” questions from a four and a two year old or using it to decide what to put on the grocery shopping list. There were new concepts to get my head around; explanations of binary, ASCII and Hexadecimal code, and algorithms. I found the video lectures and accompanying walkthroughs interesting and didn’t find myself wandering off to la la doodle land too often. The presenters were personable, they spoke in “real” language and used everyday examples to explain the fearsome technical bits – pairs of desk lamps, being switched on or off were used to illustrate binary code. Warm fluffy feelings of “I might actually be able to do this” ensued.
Problem Set 0 – Scratch
The first assignment was to create my own project using a programming tool called Scratch. It looked quite frivolous and fun, for a start there is no scary typing of code in to a black terminal type screen. It is a visual way of coding, using cartoon sprites along with puzzle pieces of code that slot together to form your program. The Scratch tool was created with children in mind, as a way of teaching them to code. In a rather sweet twist of fate I had previously watched a TED talk by Mitch Resnick talking about this very tool and how we should be teaching our kids to code. The basic premise of the talk is that we all learn to read and write without the presumption that we will grow up to be a writer. It is considered an essential life skill, it enables you to interact with many different pieces of information in many different mediums every single day. With technology today, and with what our children have access to, doesn’t it make sense that they are able to question, pull apart and analyse, and create themselves? Learning to code is not just reserved for those who want to grow up to be computer programmers or scientists, it could be just as life enriching as reading and writing.
The assignment informed me that my mission was to have fun with Scratch and create whatever took my fancy (an animation, game, interactive art, anything at all) with some specific criteria (about variables, loops, conditions, using sprites and sounds) in place to demonstrate my understanding of what I had been taught in the weeks lectures. I made a game:
Monkey Rock Paper Scissors – go and have a play!
I passed the first assignment with a perfect score!
I would encourage anyone, that might enjoy a tinker, to go and have a look. Anyone can make an account and play around, it is a really cute tool and is very easy to use (if you want any help feel free to give me a shout). It is definitely something that the IT-Rex and I will be introducing our little girls to one day (teeny digital dolls in the making!).