Do You Want To Code With Elsa and Anna?

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What is the Hour of Code?

The Hour of Code is a two year old non-profit organization that focuses on expanding the knowledge of computer science to everyone.  Hour of Code makes the tools for learning programming and computer science easily accessible.  More than 59 million students have participated in the Hour of Code.  This foundation is bringing in a lot of diversity into the STEM fields.  41% of the students taking online courses are girls.  In the high school classrooms, 34% of the students are girls and 60% of them are African American or Hispanic.  The courses are available in more than 30 languages.

Completing the tutorials

I decided to work independently on completing the tutorials so I could finish them at my own pace.  The first tutorial I completed was “Creating a Winter Wonderland”.  The theme of it was the movie Frozen.  I thought this was a really cute and easy way to start learning coding.  It had you use blocks to write lines of code.  The lines you created made Elsa and Anna skate around a pond tracing snowflakes.  My little cousin loves Frozen and I bet just the theme of the lesson would make her  want to learn how to code.  It is so simple to do!  To complete multiple tutorials it is quite lengthy.  There is an average of 20 lessons per tutorial.  

Where can I use the tutorials?

The courses work the best on computer.  I tried using it on the iPad but it just directed me to multiple apps that I can learn how to code on.  Code Academy is a good iPad app for learning how to code.  I used that previously to the Hour of Code.

Levels of Difficulty:

The Frozen tutorial was definitely the easiest.  All you had to do was drag and drop the pieces together and write lines of code that said things like, “Spin 180 degrees” and “Move 100 pixels”, etc.  The hardest tutorial was the Javascript one.  Screen Shot 2014-12-22 at 11.30.54 AM

 

The tutorials gave you hints on what to do.  They were really easy to follow and you could move along at your own pace.  The Javascript had a screencast that you are supposed to watch, however, it is a harder topic to learn so the video was also harder to follow.

I am more interested in exploring the Computer Science field now that I tried the Hour of Code.  My advice for students next year is to allow for more time to complete the tutorials.  I would also suggest new comers to start out with the easy tutorials like the Frozen one, or Coding for Beginners.  That way the users can learn the very basics of what coding does and means before coming up with their own lines of code.

Massachusetts Conference for Women

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“Courage is recognizing what you’re afraid of but acting in spite of it”- Lupita Nyongo

Life is Good

Wow! This was such an amazing experience.  On December 4th Mira, Mrs. Scheffer and I (along with a few other girls) went to the Mass Conference for women.  We could not be more thankful for our peer, Nathan Rippin.  He had an interview with a woman at Bentley University and told her about Mira and I and our help desk experience.  The woman he spoke with is not only the president of Bentley University but she is also the president and founder of the Massachusetts Conference for Women.  Gloria Larson sponsored all six of the young women who went to this conference.  It was an extremely generous thing to do.  We were one of the few groups of high school girls that attended.  There were around 10,000 women all in this one room.  After receiving our badges we walking to the escalator and looked out to the conference.  It was filled with vendors talking about all sorts of things.  Felicia and I had the opportunity to speak with a woman about doing charity work for Cradles to Crayons.  We went into the ballroom to listen to the founder of Life is Good speak about how you do not have to do something but you get to.  This speech was very inspiring to me and helped me look into life in a whole new way.  It was very motivating.  He told stories about how his t-shirts affected other people.  The most interesting story was about two brothers who had disabilities that changed their life.  One boy was missing a leg and the other brother was blind so they obviously face different struggles in life.  The message on the Life Is Good shirts helped them stay in a positive mind set.   life-is-good

Follow Your Passion

It was one of those stories that really made you stop and think about how grateful you are and that life IS good.  Life is fun and exciting and we should cherish every moment of it.  It really made me focus on the glass being half full, not half empty.  After we listened to John Jacobs we went to our first seminar of the day.  The first seminar was about following a passion.  There were three speakers through this presentation. One of whom being Jessica Bacal.  She wrote a book about mistakes people made and how it helped them move forward.  She interviewed many women to compose a wonderful book filled with useful knowledge.  The other two speakers were two young girls.  One of them started their own jewelry making business named Em John.  Her name is Emma Johnson and she is only seventeen!  Listening to her speak made me think how that could’ve been me, and still CAN be me.  The other girl was a college student who travelled the world.  Her name is Wendy Darling.  She was a curator for a gallery in Germany and she is a awesome artist.  It was crazy to hear how independent someone only a few years older than me.  It was so inspiring to hear and makes me want to push myself to make my own amazing experiences and travel the world doing what I love.  After the three women spoke at the breakout session girls were able to go up and talk about their dreams and passions that they want to pursue.  We visited some of the vendors that were working with companies that we would be intrested in connecting with.  Felicia and I want to be engineers and we went to booths that were science related to look into companies that we could potentially work for in the future.  The Keynote Luncheon speaker was Hillary Clinton.  She talked about women in the work force and a little bit about the government and how they spend their money.  Overall it was a really cool experience.  As a high school student, there is not many opportunities like this.

Thank You

Lastly I want to thank Gloria Larson for this wonderful opportunity and for providing us with the tickets but also a thank you to Nathan Rippin for telling Gloria about the girls in Help Desk.

Mrs. Scheffer, Mira and I at the conference.
Mrs. Scheffer, Mira and I at the conference.
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Mira and I with big smiles on our faces, thankful for our experience!

 

 

 

 

Chem. Is Try: An App Review on Chem.: Pro

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Chem. Pro: Chemistry Tutor is a free app for the iPad that is basically a 24/7 chemistry tutor.  On this app you can purchase separate lessons to learn.  The level of learning is very versatile.  People have used this app for their college courses as well as high school classes.

The instructors in the videos are very good and can explain everything in a simple way.  There is more than 31 hours of lessons.

 

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Chem.: Pro is very easy to use.  It is offered on an Apple device and Androids.  It is  sold in many different countries’ app stores.

Because this app makes chemistry so easy students are more likely to learn.  A lot of students have having to convert units because it can involve a lot of steps and be time consuming.  Thankfully, the app comes with a handy dandy unit conversion calculator.

On this app there isn’t anything you need to share with others.  It is  simply an app that allows you to learn the topics in a different way than in a classroom.  If you did want to share lessons with people you could take screen shots or take notes on Google Drive and share it with fellow students. There also is not much customizing in this app.  However, you can pick and choose which lessons you want to buy.  All of the information is stored on the app so you do not have to import your own things.

Chem Pro: offers multiple lessons that have matching flashcards to use as a study tool.  It has a  periodic table at easy access so you can always look back at the table.  There is an equation sheet that allows you pull up any chemistry related equations.  It makes chemistry a lot easier and faster.  They even have a molecular mass calculator.

 

Overall I would rate this app a 5/5 stars.  This app is really only directed towards Chemistry/Science.  It will help reinforce information you have already learned or teach you new things.  it is an organized app that teaches you chemistry in a logical order.  It presents information in a simplified manor and helps you develop problem solving skills in this particular subject.

Step It Up With 6!

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Get the iPhone 6

The iPhone 6 was born this September.  It’s has a big brother, the iPhone 6 Plus.  Get your hands on the thinnest phone in the world.  The regular iPhone 6 is larger than the phones before it but not as big as the Plus.  The new iPhone addresses many of the problems consumers encountered with the 5S or 5C.  The screen is larger.  The battery life is improved.  The camera is very new as well.  If you are interested in the direct comparison between the two latest iPhones visit this page from Forbes. 

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Updates

The camera protrudes out a little and most would assume the lens will get scratched but apple laid a sheet of sapphire glass to protect it from being scratched.   The camera app comes with filters that you can use on the pictures before you even take them.  Even with the extra inches, the phone still fits perfectly in hand.   The back of the iPhone is made of a premium metal solving the biggest issue; cracked glass!  Well on the back of the phone at least! Because metal is a material that is hard for radio signals to penetrate, they inserted rubber strips to offset that.  The power button that used to sit on the top of the phone is now moved to the right side.  It is in a perfect location to click while holding the larger phone.  The speakers are longer so that when you hold your phone horizontally, you do not cover the screen.  The iPhone 6 can be purchased in Space Grey, Silver, and Gold.  Apple designed the iPhone 6 to have a higher screen resolution.  It offers 1334 x 750 resolution; opposed to the previous phones with 1136 x 640.  The screen is so HD that it almost seems like the screen is popping out at you!  Apple designed a Health app that allows you to track your daily fitness.  You can track things like how many flights of stairs you have climbed or steps you have taken. Learn more about the iPhone 6 from Apples website here.

Touch ID

The TouchID is improved.  TouchID is the feature first introduced on the iPhone 5S.  It replaces the home button with a finger scanner.  You can add your finger to the device and it will save it.  To unlock your phone, you just have to hold your finger down.  They improved the accuracy of the TouchID.  In other countries you can used TouchID to pay for things online or anything on your phone. This is called Apple Pay. In the United States, we are not yet allowed to do that.

Keyboard Changes

There are major updates to the keyboard.  There is text predictions that suggests words you may be typing.  You can just click on the word instead of finishing to type it.  You can record your voice and it does not need time to type it.  It will automatically come up on your screen.  Most importantly, there are new emojis!  Apple has designed something new and even more advanced, yet again.  I wonder when they will run out of ideas?

If you are interested in a more detailed opinion on the iPhone 6, go to this post from TechRadar.  

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Thank You Find My iPhone

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Friday night I went to Spooky World in Litchfield, New Hampshire.  My friends and I waited in lines for haunted houses all night.  When we went to go get food at the concession stand, my friend realized she lost her phone.  She just bought the 5s two weeks ago.  She was totally devastated.  We called it a number of times until we remembered the app Find My iPhone.  Felicia did not have the app downloaded on her phone but it still worked.  She logged into her Apple ID using my phone and we were able to zoom in on the location of her phone.  She dropped it in the line waiting for one of the houses.  If you do not have an iPhone or iPad, you can log onto iCloud.com and preform the same search.  You can put your device in Lost Mode so that no one can access your personal information.  You can also wipe everything off of the device if you think someone has stolen it and will access your information.  You can display a message on the device like “This phone is lost.  Please call 555-555-5555 if found.”  We are very thankful for Find My iPhone.  If you can not find your phone, I suggest calling your wireless provider to disable your phone.  It is also recommended to file a police report if you have insurance because that is one of the first things you are looking for.

Here are some pictures from the night with Felicia and some scary monsters!

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What Is A Screencast?!?

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What Is A Screencast?

Screencasting is a way of recording your screen while narrating it.  Screencasts are most often used for tutorials.  Short and simple lessons are more appealing because no one wants to watch a fifteen minute screencast on how to upload PDFs from Notability to Google Drive.  There should be no background noise.  Your voice should be clear and audible.  While recording, there should be not distractions like sirens or side conversations. It should be easy to read the information on the screen and the font should be big enough for the viewers to see on their screen.   Assume that your veiwers know nothing at all.  Don’t skip over the small things because they may not know and then become lost.  Think of a screencast as the video version of a screenshot. Next week I will be uploading my own screencast that has something to do with the new  iOS 8.  My screencast should be the epitome of a perfect screencast.  I will create the best screencast using this checklist! It will have no background noise, short and simple and informational.  All you really need for a screencast is a microphone, a camera, and a mouse.  A rolling ball mouse is the most accurate because it is the easiest to move.  You do not want it to take a while for your cursor to go over icon. The arrow of the mouse is needed to show the viewers what you are clicking on.  On an iPad, a stylus may be helpful for writing neatly.  You can use a graphics tablet if the screen casting is taken on the computer.

iPad Apps To Make Screencasts:

No apps that allow you to record your screen for free.  There are apps that can record lessons similar to khan academy like Educreations,  Showme, and Screenchomp.  If your willing to spend some extra dough, you can purchase Screencast-o-matic or Explain Everything for 2.99.  However, you can use a Mac to mirror your iPad to your laptop and record your screen using QuickTime.  Educreation and Showme can be accessed from the internet if a student does not have an ipad.  You can also use multiple screenshots to create a slide show that is similar to a screencast.  This link will provide you with tutorials on how to create a slide show that is seamless as if it were a screencast.

Mac Or PC Tools:

You can use QuickTime that comes with the make.  QuickTime comes on the Mac.  If your interested in Quicktime and more of it’s ability click here!  If you do not have an Apple product computer, you can use this free site that offers the highest quality screen casting for free at www.screencastomatic.com.

A perfect example of a good screencast is right here!

Linked here is a PDF with deeper details on preparing for creating a screencast.