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Looking for a Future Project Manager or two...

posted Apr 22, 2012, 12:10 PM by Richard Guenther   [ updated Apr 22, 2012, 6:54 PM ]

Ever take a look at Kickstarter?  Lately I've been noticing many projects on Kickstarter that simply crush their funding goals--getting many times what they originally asked for.  This approach to funding is great when it works, like the first Numpy book, which is now available free to all after donations far exceeded the original request.



This seems like a good opportunity for a few students to organize a project on Kickstarter that will help fund the Skyline Creative Commons website, when we find a new home for it.  Remember the SCC?  It was pretty great before those hackers messed up all the PHP files on my Dreamhost shared server.  Although we are hopefully moving the site to a new server soon, it would make sense to put this idea on kickstarter.  Remember that the SCC will be a place for students to share their original creations in digital art and sound.  Because we're making the site free for people to download any of our art, music, or sound effects we made, a Kickstarter plea may do very well, as I'm sure we're probably the only school to do something like this.  The money we raise could be used for more Bamboo pens, digital cameras, MIDI keyboards--or even for helping to pay for a larger server.

Talk to me if you are interested.  Putting something like this on a resume or a college application (to Stanford, perhaps) would really, really, really look awesome!

Worth Reading this week:
  1. Programming is the Real Work
  2. Space is ... mostly just space.

Students, you have my permission to read those two during class or at home.  :-)

Skyline Comp Sci Victories This Last Weekend!

posted Apr 15, 2012, 11:29 AM by Richard Guenther   [ updated Apr 15, 2012, 11:32 AM ]

Tim PWNS the Tech Fair Competition!

Although I missed it, sources tell me that Tim from the MAD Team took first place in the return of the St Vrain Valley Tech Fair, which took place at Skyline this last weekend.  Tim gets all the credit for this one, and I'm sure he's a strong possibility for being a 3-time winner, as he's still got two more years to go!

Lauren, Josie and Dominique all win individual NCWIT awards, along with Mr. G

Saturday was NCWIT day for me.  We have had two excellent past winners for the NCWIT award, and this year we added three more--four if you count the educator award I won.  It was fun to be there to accept the award and watch the girls get their awards.  Josie and Lauren (like Tim) still have two more years at Skyline, so winning the national title is a strong possibility for both of them.


Thank you so much to all the winners!  Your hard work has made this possible, and although I may get behind in paperwork or sometimes teach a lesson or unit that is less than spectacular, things like this really help keep my motivation up for making Skyline's Computer Science program the best in the nation.  You all rule!


FYI:




Intrado Field Trip

posted Apr 9, 2012, 1:19 PM by Richard Guenther   [ updated Apr 9, 2012, 1:21 PM ]

It's time to start rewarding those students that have pushed themselves this year into learning as much Computer Science knowledge as possible.  Jason and I will work on awards for the Academic Awards night, and we also have a great field trip for those students. 



Intrado is a local 911 Networking company, and they will be hosting a group of Skyline CS students on Thursday, May 3rd, from 9:00 am to Noon.  I'll see if we can fit anything else in before returning to SHS that day.  I will be talking to my classes about this and getting permission slips handed out.  If you worked hard this year and learned a lot, you can expect to be invited to Intrado, where we will have some friendly team problem-solving opportunities that could be really fun.  You should check out their website and learn more about them before we go.

Next up is a possible visit from IBM to Skyline.  I'm working on the details of this one, so stay informed by checking here for updates!

Hai, I won a national award....

posted Apr 5, 2012, 8:11 AM by Richard Guenther   [ updated Apr 5, 2012, 8:12 AM ]

Winners are alphabetized, so I'm under G:

http://ncwit.org/award/award.educator.bios.php

SodaPlay on a Friday before Spring Break

posted Mar 23, 2012, 6:41 AM by Richard Guenther   [ updated Mar 23, 2012, 9:34 AM ]



Sodaplay has always been interesting to me.  I was wondering this morning if it was still out there on the web like I remembered it.  Turns out it's probably better now than it was.  Today you can work on your current programming challenges, as usual, but you also are allowed to check out Sodaplay and see if you can build something cool.  Note: Sodaplay uses Java applets, which are a bit old-fashioned.  Hopefully they will convert their site to HTML5!  :-)  Sounds like a good Summer challenge for Google's Summer of Code.

This Page Here has a whole bunch of different Sodaplay models you can try!

Have a great Spring Break!

Instructions for March 15th, and 16th.

posted Mar 14, 2012, 6:19 PM by Richard Guenther   [ updated Mar 15, 2012, 9:05 AM ]

Mr. G is going to the  D.C.

Hi students!  By the time you read this, Jason and I will have left DIA on our flight to Washington DC for the GK12 National Conference!  I'm not a big fan of traveling--I'm more of a stay at home guy.  But, this should be a good opportunity to go to D.C. and show the whole country some of the cool stuff we are doing at Skyline in Computer Science.  I know a lot of you really love your CS classes and I am so fortunate to have you all as students.  This has been a rough year for me, but hopefully none of that has shown in my classes--teaching 8 classes with no plan period is NOT easy.  I hope you have enjoyed learning Computer Science concepts, no matter what class you are in.  Next year I will hopefully have another teacher to help teach the 16 full sections of CS courses that I'm scheduled to teach.  8-0.  

I will be with Jason in D.C. Thursday-Sunday, but should be back to teach on Monday as usual.  I believe I have the same Substitute Teacher both days, so please work with him to make these two days productive and not stressful.  I have tried to set up plenty of work for you to be working on the next two days, but if all else fails, please make sure you are being productive--not just consumers.  Anyone can be a consumer!  Don't be a consumer--be one of the few and proud that create!

Note: Computer Club is cancelled this Thursday!!!!




Thursday Plans

Period 3 Intro to Programming

Students should be working on their new set of challenges, which are detailed on the current unit page for their course.  To help them with these, they should view all of the screencasts for this unit.  If students have not already received the screencasts, they are located in the shared folder, and they should DRAG THEM TO THEIR DESKTOP and then view them individually before attempting each challenge.   Here is the exact location of these screencasts:

Student_Share -->  Hand-Out Folders --> Computer_Science --> screencasts --> Alice_Lists_Unit

Period 4 Intro to Computing

Students should be working on their new project if they are done with the Inkscape 2nd set of challenges.  If they are still having trouble with any of those challenges, let them know that they can watch the screencasts that cover how to use paths in Inkscape which are located in the shared folder--if they do not already have these on their desktop.  Students should DRAG THEM TO THEIR DESKTOP and then view them individually before attempting each challenge.   Here is the exact location of these screencasts:

Student_Share -->  Hand-Out Folders --> Computer_Science --> screencasts --> Inkscape_Paths




Friday Plans

Period 5 CS105

Students should write a "use case" for their project and be ready to show that to me when I'm back from D.C.  After writing the use case, students should continue to develop their program so that it does what the current "use case" describes.  Students should check the current unit page for details on this.

Period 6 Intro to Computing

Students should be working on their new project if they are done with the Inkscape 2nd set of challenges.  If they are still having trouble with any of those challenges, let them know that they can watch the screencasts that cover how to use paths in Inkscape which are located in the shared folder--if they do not already have these on their desktop.  Students should DRAG THEM TO THEIR DESKTOP and then view them individually before attempting each challenge.   Here is the exact location of these screencasts:

Student_Share -->  Hand-Out Folders --> Computer_Science --> screencasts --> Inkscape_Paths

Period 7 APCS

Students have three things they can work on today, at their choice:
  1. Continue to develop the Word Game engine, including the new methods we created, and also the games Jotto, Jumble, and Hangman.
  2. Try to make a new Bug type in Gridworld called GridBug that draws a grid of cells on the screen.  For this to work, set the grid to Unbounded Grid
  3. Javabat problems

Period 8 Intro to Programming

Students should be working on their new set of challenges, which are detailed on the current unit page for their course.  To help them with these, they should view all of the screencasts for this unit.  If students have not already received the screencasts, they are located in the shared folder, and they should DRAG THEM TO THEIR DESKTOP and then view them individually before attempting each challenge.   Here is the exact location of these screencasts:

Student_Share -->  Hand-Out Folders --> Computer_Science --> screencasts --> Alice_Lists_Unit


March Madness is in the air...

posted Mar 11, 2012, 1:09 PM by Richard Guenther

March Madness isn't just about basketball--a lot of things seem a little crazy this time of the year.  This coming week is certainly a strange one.

Item: Deadline for District Tech Fair is this week!


Please make sure you get the project submission forms in for the District Tech fair.  The Tech Fair always seems to sneak up on us, especially this year, since last year's Tech Fair was canceled.  Still, Skyline is hosting the Tech Fair this year, so we MUST get some good projects entered for this.  I will help any students or teams that want to participate in this.  Thank you to those already signed up--I really appreciate it!

Item:  TCAP Tests

It used to be that students taking the CSAP got to go home for the afternoon and did not have to attend classes.  That changed a year ago or so, however, so now we have to consider how that affects our work in class.  I like to make this a less stressful time for 9th and 10th graders, who are a bit fried from the morning tests.  But, we still have work to do, so we will be starting some new units this week.  I will adjust the pace, though, so that we can both learn Computer Science in class and also do well on our TCAP exams. 

Item: Washington D.C. Trip

Jason and I have been chosen to represent the eCSite project in Washington D.C. this year!  Although I do not like to travel, I couldn't pass up on this one, as hanging out with Jason is always a blast, and we get to show the country some of the great things we are doing at Skyline in Computer Science.  There aren't many (any?) schools that have such a large Computer Science program, and the eCSite project has really helped me build this program up.  I knew a long time ago that I would enjoy working with the CS staff at CU Boulder when I met Dr. Clayton Lewis through the fact that we both taught the Python programming language.  Before Jason we had Jeff and Allison work in my classes, and I'm still using materials and ideas that we created together.

Railroad Train iPad app


Item: See How a Game is Developed

Seems like we always have some side projects going on around here.  Well, lately I've been obsessed with a certain iPad train game app that is, like many great games, simple to learn, but hard to master.  Just for fun, I'd like to develop a bigger and more advanced version of this game, and also do some analysis of the strategies a player can use while playing.  I've begun to design my version from scratch, and I'd love to see what students can come up with for ideas on this.  If you have access to a smart phone and can try this app out, that would be great.  I'll also try to bring in my iPod touch from time to time, so let me know if you are interested in taking part in this.  Although I have started writing some code for this in both Python and in Processing, I think an HTML5 and Javascript version would also be great.  Heck, let's even make a version using Lua and the Love2D engine!

Upcoming Events

posted Mar 5, 2012, 7:36 AM by Richard Guenther


The 2012 St. Vrain Valley Tech Fair will be hosted by Skyline this year!  That means we should have several students enter projects for this, and right now we only have a couple students who have talked to me about this.  For more info, visit the official site: St. Vrain Tech Fair.


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