FAQ

Materials

Q: Do I need to buy or bring anything to class?

A: No purchase of anything is necessary. It is OK to bring backpacks to class. It is highly recommended to bring your own laptop, as we may have limited computer usage. Any necessary pencils or paper will be supplied.

Q: Where can I download the software used in class?

A: Some softwares we use in class include Corona SDK, BlueJ (with JDK 7+) and a text editor. Both Corona SDK and BlueJ are free and entirely safe downloads.

  1. Corona SDK:
    • Go to this page: https://coronalabs.com/
    • Enter your email or make an account. Download the free version of Corona SDK. (Enterprise version not necessary.)
    • Make sure to install the correct version for your operating system. (Mac OSX or Windows, x64 or x86 or x32).
    • Follow the installer instructions. Default locations are usually fine.
    • Once done installing, test that the software runs smoothly.
  2. BlueJ
    • Go to this page: http://www.bluej.org/
    • Download the correct version for your operating system. (Mac OSX or Windows, x64 or x86 or x32). It is recommended to install with JDK (Java Development Kit 8). If you don’t know what it is, you’ll probably need it. It’s the package used to code with the Java language.
    • Follow the installer instructions. Default locations are usually fine.
    • Once done installing, test that the software runs smoothly.
  3. Text editors: Our recommendations

Guest speakers

Q: I am interested in being a guest speaker for the class./I know someone who is interested in being a guest speaker. How can I arrange this?

A: Send us an email at nphscodenation@gmail.com about what you want to talk about or demonstrate to the class, as well as what days will work for you, and we’ll be glad to schedule it!

Parents learning along with kids

Q: I, a parent, am also interested in learning how to code. How can I do this?

A: You can learn right along with your child by using codecademy.com, the free online website that we will be using. Simply create an account, and then choose the language that you are interested in learning first.

Attendance

Q: I can’t make it to class for several weeks/months. Is this OK?

A: Yes, it’s OK to miss class for a while due to sports or other extracurriculars. We recommend you check our website once in a while to catch up on homework and stay as updated as possible with the rest of the class on your own time.

Q: Can I miss class if I must?

A: Yes, it’s OK to miss class if you’re busy. Remember to check the agenda on the website to know what you missed, and what homework you should finish by next week.

Tech class

Q: How is this different from my school tech class?

A: The current middle school technology class teaches how to use different softwares such as Microsoft Office, Scratch, Google Sketchup and/or Gimp. We teach students how to actually code programs. We are not discouraging students from taking their schools’ technology class; rather, we are teaching other essential concepts of computer programming and web development. This is involves much more critical thinking and real world concepts.

Curriculum

Q: What languages are we learning?

A: Beginning students will be using Codecademy and its built-in IDE to learn HTML, CSS and JavaScript/jQuery; by the end of the year, they can create basic websites and games. Advanced students will be using BlueJ and Udacity courses to learn Java; by the end of the year, they can create basic applications and have foundations for object-oriented programming. Other individual projects may involve learning C, lua, Matlab, etc.

Pacing

Q: What is the pacing of the class?

A: We give everyone plenty of time to complete lessons in between weeks. If you didn’t get too far during class, you can always access your codecademy account at home and work on it there. If you finished everything and want more to work on, there are many APIs or other languages that you can learn or explore on codecademy.com.

 

More ways to learn

Q: How can I continue expanding my knowledge of code?

A: Check out this post on our blog for more information (this page is constantly updated!)