KillerPHP Blog

Coding

How to install Python on a Chromebook in 2018

September 10, 2018

There are few options for Python coding on Chromebooks. It is not as easy as doing it with Windows, or a Mac, but it is doable.

Doing a quick check out the Web, I found 2 options, one is easy, while the other takes more work.

Option #1:

Use a browser based Python code editor. There are a few out there. I found http://pythonfiddle.com/ and it works pretty well. I don’t know if you can run Python gui based programs with it, but you can write lots of Python code and even save it.

Option #2:

Install Python on your Chromebook. This will require more work but I imagine, you have much more flexibility since you can run the Python code directly on the Chromebook. Here is an article that will give you the step-by-step:

https://wsvincent.com/install-python3-chromebook/

Option #3:

The StudioWeb program includes a code editor that works with Python. In our Python course, your students will have many guided Python code challenges, where they will be writing actual Python code while getting instant feedback.

Hope that helps,

Stefan
StudioWeb

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Why not teach practical coding to students?

May 11, 2018

I’ve been teaching code since 2003, and created the StudioWeb code training platform in 2011. Our first two schools jumped onboard in 2011 as well.

With the help of hundreds of schools, and tens of thousands of students, StudioWeb’s courses have become increasingly effective teaching students (grades 6-12) how to code.

What makes StudioWeb’s engaging curriculum stand out, is that we are able to teach real-world coding skills (JavaScript, Python, HTML5, CSS3, SQL, PHP), while still keeping the curriculum fun and easy to use.

… Everybody is surprised how easy it is to use StudioWeb! Teachers feel secure in the process, and students are encouraged by how easily they learn to code.

Course Content, and Training software developed hand-in-hand

One of the reasons StudioWeb based classrooms constantly achieve great results, is because both the curriculum and software were develop at the same time … mindful of feedback/data from tens of thousands of students and their teachers.

StudioWeb first launched in 2011, and since that time, we’ve integrated that experience into StudioWeb 2, StudioWeb 3 and now with the soon to be released StudioWeb 4 – the best yet!

Result:
StudioWeb provides a highly refined software and engaging curriculum specially designed for classroom teaching.

Contact us and set up a free demo class – it’s free you know!

Stefan
StudioWeb

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Great Alternatives to Dreamweaver for the Classroom

February 20, 2018

This is a common question I get from teachers:

When it comes to teaching web design, what is a good alternative to Dreamweaver?

A few things to consider:

  1. Most professional web designers DO NOT use Dreamweaver.
  2. Teaching web design with Dreamweaver introduces an extra layer of complexity for no good reason. You have to teach BOTH Dreamweaver and web design.
  3. Dreamweaver is expensive compared to many alternatives … especially considering the free software out there! 🙂

Side note: I’ve been teaching code and programming since 2003, and web design is a great vehicle that you can use to teach code with.

… Wed design is great (to teach code with) because it’s visual, easy to learn, and cross platform. Heavy tools like Dreamweaver try to hide the code from users, but that hides the most important aspect of learning web design: writing actual code!

Great code editors for your students

There are many great options to choose from that are free, and you have options for all types of computers:

  • Windows
  • Mac
  • Chromebook

Taken from the StudioWeb QuickStart Guide:

Sublime Text – for Windows and Mac:
https://www.sublimetext.com/

Notepadd++ for Windows:
https://notepad-plus-plus.org/

Brackets for Mac and Windows:
http://brackets.io/

Caret for Chrome and Chromebooks:
https://goo.gl/cm8WpV

TextWrangler for Mac:
http://www.barebones.com/products/textwrangler/

Thanks!
Stefan Mischook

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What Yale’s Socially Assistive Robots and StudioWeb have in Common

August 2, 2017

I was reading an article on Yale University’s research with socially assistive robotics, that help to teach kids. The main points I got out of the article:

html course badge studioweb

  • Robots learn and adapt to individual student need.
  • Students are motivated when the learning process is turned into a game. A little competition is very motivating for many students. Otherwise known as gamification.
  • When students work one-on-one with a robot, they are not afraid to answer questions, since all the students are busy working with their own robots.
  • The robots look like fun toys.

This is interesting to me, because the StudioWeb app and curriculum, has been developed with an awareness of the above lessons.

StudioWeb’s experience reflects Yale’s:

StudioWeb’s software shares similar traits (if you will) with Yale’s socially assistive robots. StudioWeb is a gamified app where students learn to code, as they unlock levels, earn badges and score points. Students work on their own computers, at their own pace, and so they don’t have to worry about social pressures.

Understanding the importance of the emotional component of teaching, each of our courses are represented by fun and cool animals: two frogs, a sheep, a spider and a python. Each animal also becomes the course badge students can earn. Finally, we add to the learning process fun, with the gaming aspect, and good old fashioned humour.

… Students come away smiling and giggling as they learn to code.

StudioWeb does not replace teachers … but we help! 

From the article:

“You may have a public school where there are 25 to 30 kids in a classroom and the amount of time that the teacher can spend one-on-one with each child is relatively limited,” said Scassellati in an interview with R&D Magazine.

Socially assistive robots free up teachers time, so they can concentrate their efforts where it might be needed – say students who made need special attention. This is a far better approach than trying to teach a classroom as they did in Plato’s time.

In a nutshell: the core lessons need not be taught over and over again by the teacher. That’s where assistive technology (robots and apps) come into play.

StudioWeb provides the same benefit. We’ve designed our curriculum and app, in such a way that it is nearly impossible for students to get stuck on a coding lesson, whether it be theory or actual coding. As such, students happily work through the video based lessons, without having to ask the teacher questions that have been asked countless times.

Rather than using an Ai, we’ve been able to refine our lessons over the last several years, eliminating the common questions, by addressing them in the lessons themselves.

… Good old fashioned teaching my father taught me, combined with data from a few hundred thousand students and your courses start to get really good!

Stefan Mischook
StudioWeb.com

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Top 3 Code Teaching Tips

March 6, 2016

SQL code training badge

To get the best outcomes with students, here are my top 3 code teaching tips:

  1. Write real code, not ‘lego’ code.
  2. Use real coding tools, not code simulators.
  3. Build real projects from start to finish.

1. Write real code, not ‘lego’ code

A funny thing happens when students write real code: they start to learn not only how to code, but they learn the concepts behind the code. What I’ve seen over the years is that trying to hide the code from students with block based code teaching tools slows the learning process.

You have to write code to learn to code.

2. Use real coding tools, not code simulators

A big part of learning to code is learning the environment of coding. If you want to teach someone how to cook, you have to teach them with food and frying pans. Same for coding; students should be using code editors, and in the case of HTML5, CSS3 and JavaScript, the web browser and its built in browser development tools.

3. Build real projects from start to finish

I used to be a martial artist, and I can tell from experience that you don’t really learn the art until you jump into the ring.

With coding, you have to get students building real projects as quickly as possible. For a web design coding class, that would mean simple web pages, and then websites. Soon enough, though, your students should be building mobile-ready websites and perhaps even simple games.

The key is to develop students’ coding skills by creating real projects from start to finish. Having students complete a small component of a larger app is OK, but it is far less effective than having students build from start to finish, from scratch.

Students are really motivated when they build a real web page, and soon after, a website! This is something that they can show their friends and family – their work is not stuck inside an app. But what may be the most motivating is their websites can be about a theme that interest them, and so, it will be unique.

Stefan Mischook
Studioweb.com

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Have Students Work Together on Coding Projects and Teach Pair Programming

February 23, 2016

paired programming

Just with StudioWeb’s HTML, CSS and JavaScript Beginners courses, you have 40 projects/assignments you can handout. They can be used as team projects and for individual students as well.

Pair Programming – a real-world style of coding

Let me first quote Wikipedia:

Pair programming (sometimes referred to as peer programming) is an agile software development technique in which two programmers work as a pair together on one workstation. One, the driver, writes code while the other, the observer, pointer or navigator, reviews each line of code as it is typed in.

In professional coding/programming, pair coding is a common practice whereby two coders work on the same page of code at the same time. One coder takes the lead, while the other kind of acts like a supervisor, checking for errors and suggesting ways of doing things. The roles switch as they like.

What industry has found, is that the resulting code is oftentimes better, and coders working together are more productive, overall.

How your students will benefit from pair programming

Once students have completed a StudioWeb chapter (videos, code challenges and quiz questions), you can pair them up to work on the projects. Not only will they learn how to work together, they will get a taste of how coding is in the real world.

Some suggestions:

  1. Have stronger students pair up with students who may need some help. Use Studioweb’s auto generated chapter grades to determine who is who.
  2. Have students switch pair programming roles, allowing students to experience both perspectives.
  3. Emphasize to students that this is a way that coding is actually done at a professional level.

Final comments

StudioWeb’s projects (student handouts and completed project files) are bound to course chapters and lessons, this makes it easy for teachers to manage the whole process. In fact, many teachers are able to take on the role of classroom facilitator, as the students work together to produce real web pages and websites.

Pair programming can be extremely productive in the classroom, just as it is in the workplace.

Hope that helps,

Stefan Mischook
Studioweb.com

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Why ELL Students Should Learn Code

February 20, 2016

ELLs learning to code

English-language learners (and disadvantaged students) stand to benefit the most from learning to code. Here are just a few reasons:

  • There is a huge demand in tech-related vocational jobs that are high paying ($70k/year,) that don’t require a university degree.
  • All coding languages (ex: HTML5, CSS3, JavaScript, Python, PHP) are based in English – ELLs will see their English skills improve by learning to code.
  • Inexpensive equipment is all you need to learn to code- you could do it with very affordable computers like Chromebooks.
HTML code - note the use of English words.
↳ HTML code – note the use of English words.

A big demand for tech workers

Many of the vocational and factory jobs of the 1960’s are gone, or going away. But the great thing is, that they are quickly being replaced by technology related professions that are high paying, have great working environments, and the demand is only growing.

Jobs like:

  • Software developer / coder.
  • Robotics
  • Advanced Life Sciences
  • Cyber Security
  • Big Data
  • The Code-ification of money.

… In fact, you see traditional workers already moving to coding – coal miners for example.

Teaching students to code (and teaching them to think like coders) will help prepare your students for these jobs. The demand for these type of workers will continue to grow over the next 10-20 years and all these jobs DO NOT require a university degree. Certification is all that is required, if that!

What I look for when hiring coders

I’ve been employing coders since the late 1990’s, and I can tell you that I never put much weight into whether someone had a university degree. In the technology fields, we are looking for skills and practical experience, rather than university degrees.

English-language learners should start learning code as early as possible

Learning to code is as much about learning to think like a coder as it is a skillset. Repetition and a gradual introduction to the principles and techniques of coding is the key to learning code.

… It may take a little longer for ELLs to learn to code, and given this, it makes sense to introduce coding as soon as possible. How long it takes though, is not important. All that matters is they get there.

To help in the process, your students should be exposed to practical code projects and to the tools that coders use from the start.

Final comment

I recently came across a segment on MSNBC about this subject… it sums things up nicely. It gets to the point starting at the 2 minute mark.

Stefan Mischook
Studioweb.com

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Should Kids Learn Coding Instead of Foreign Languages?

February 16, 2016

learning-languages

I was reading an article on the debate in Florida, whether to allow kids to learn code instead of a foreign language. I can offer some perspective here, since I am a coder who speaks English and French.

What has been more valuable in my life: knowing French, or knowing how to code?

Coding has easily been the most valuable skill for me.

But if my second language was English (rather than French,) maybe the tables would be turned. I say this because- though French is a great language, and I think the more spoken languages you know the better- French has limited use on the world’s stage. English though, is the language of business… it is a must-learn.

Coding is much more like English; it, too, is an international language of sorts. Knowing how to code has many positive impacts on your life, even if you don’t become a coder!

Note: I should point out that I live in Montreal, Quebec, so French is far from being a foreign language here. Nonetheless, coding (even in French Quebec) has been more valuable to me.

The advantages of being code literate

Everyone knows that coding skills are in high demand and that coders make big money. But what some may not recognize is that having coding skills will also have a positive impact on all aspects of a kid’s life and career:

  • Learning code teaches logical thinking, organisational skills and problem solving skills.
  • Understanding code makes you more technology savvy: much harder to scam someone who understands code.
  • Knowing code will make learning and using apps easier, since you will understand the basics of how apps are built.
  • Many apps (ex: spreadsheets, 3d software) can be automated with simple code called ‘scripts’. Basic coding skills can help boost your productivity in your normal day-to-day work.

So should kids learn coding instead of a foreign language?

My father is a retired teacher, and he suggested that it was probably best to let the student decide. Not all students are wired the same, he reminded me, and so they probably know what is best for themselves.

Stefan Mischook
StudioWeb

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Teaching Mobile App Development

February 8, 2016

HTML5_Logo_512

If you want to teach app development, I would strongly suggest you future-proof your students, by teaching them the most popular way to code mobile apps- that’s with HTML5.

HTML5 is the future of app development.

I just got back from lunch with an old buddy of mine who works at SAP (3rd largest software company in the world), he tells me that 99% of their mobile apps are NOT being developed in the native languages (Java for Android and Swift for iOS,) because for 99% of apps, HTML5 does a great job and it is much less expensive.

When a coder writes an app in Java for Android, they then have to write it all over again in Swift for iOS. Twice the work. If they write the app in HTML5, it works on all types of devices. Write once, run everywhere is one of the ‘holy grails’ of coding.

HTML5 builds Windows 10 apps too!

Windows 10 is the best Windows yet, and it’s spreading like wildfire – it will become one of the most important platforms to code for. Windows 10 apps can be written in HTML5 … it is native to Windows 10 in fact.

HTML5 builds web apps too!

We shouldn’t forget that HTML5, CSS3 and JavaScript are the only languages used to build websites and web apps. So teaching your students to code with the three languages of the Web, makes even more sense given where the market is and where it is going.

Easy to set up

HTML5, CSS3 and JavaScript are built into every web browser; nothing to install, nothing to set up. Every code editor in the world supports these languages, and you are not restricted to any type of computer.

… With iOS development and Swift, you need a Mac. With Android, you need to install Java. BTW, Java is NOT JavaScript. They are different languages.

HTML5 is visual

One great thing about teaching code with HTML5, is that it is very visual. Students can see their efforts materialize in real projects that they can show friends and family. HTML5 produces much more than just basic web pages; animation, apps and even games can be created with HTML5.

Conclusion

If you want to teach code, HTML5 is easily the best choice. It’s even easier with StudioWeb, since teachers with NO prior coding experience can be up and running in about an hour.

Thanks,

Stefan Mischook
Studioweb.com

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If You Teach Any Programming Language in 2016, Teach JavaScript!

January 28, 2016

javaScript

Hi,

Let’s start with the conclusion:

JavaScript is the most popular programming language used today, and it is only getting more and more popular.

JavaScript is used to create web apps, server apps, games and mobile apps. If you want to prepare your students for the future, JavaScript is the programming language to teach.

JavaScript uses common programming paradigms

JavaScript is a modern language that shares many of the same characteristics that you see in all the other popular languages used today. That means as your students learn JavaScript, they will be learning concepts and techniques that are pretty much universal.

JavaScript requires no setup- there is nothing to install

One of the great things about JavaScript (as a teaching language) is that there is nothing to install. If you have a web browser and a simple text editor, you have everything you need to start writing JavaScript code.

Conclusion

Any of the modern programming languages (Python, PHP, Java, Ruby, C#) can be used to teach programming, but JavaScript is clearly the choice teaching language today, and likely for many years to come.

Both JavaScript and PHP courses are available on StudioWeb.

Stefan Mischook
Studioweb.com

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