Teaching Chaos

Chaos Theory

My friend Linda teaches drawing at University (amongst a wide assortment of things), and she was explaining a fascinating exercise to me. Requirements: white paper, charcoal, eraser, glue stick & tolerance for dirt. This is all about developing lots of strategies for recovering from errors and changes, and stumbling upon expressive, aggressive marks and effects […]

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Come the Revolution

I was talking to a – male – programmer the other day, and he was telling me how much his high school CS teacher sucked. This is not an uncommon story. I know some good high school teachers. I’ve heard about a lot of bad ones. This particular bad one taught Visual Basic, and gave […]

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Friends Don’t Let Friends… Become PMs


Recently, I heard about a school that has a mandatory “technology” class that students have to take in order to take CS classes in later years. It features: wood-working, circuit building, and Excel. This is horrifying. I want to go there with picket signs and stage a protest. Dress up as robots and chant things. […]

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Getting Started With App Inventor

app inventor

A colleague and I are running a workshop for high school teachers this week, and we plan to use App Inventor (which will now live at the MIT Media lab). So I had a play around with app inventor and it is so easy┬áto get started. The beginner app is one where the kitty purrs […]

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Experimenting with a Visual, Activity-Based Curriculum


When I left Ottawa, I had to find the new me to run my Processing Workshop. His name is Ali and he’s awesome. He’s had the idea to write up the ideas into a paper, so we’re working on that at the moment, but it occurred to me that I didn’t write much about it […]

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Processing Workshop

I’ve been a little quieter than usual for a number of reasons, one of which is that I’ve been working on a workshop for the University. It’s aimed at getting 17-18 year olds interested in taking Computer Science, and I’m using Processing for that. I’m experimenting with what I’m calling an Activity Based Curriculum. I.e. […]

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What Makes a Programmer Great?

This is a post I co-wrote with Douglas Gresham. Douglas is a software engineer at Google, who blogs at www.douglasgresham.co.uk (less often than he should, go bug him for updates). I’m a graduate student, though I firmly believe that great programmers are not the result of university courses in programming. But university courses take us […]

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First Day as a Ski Instructor

Although I’ve given a lot of free ski lessons since I qualified, to people displaying various degrees of talent and attention to instruction… yesterday was the first time people paid for my advice. I’m still kind of shocked that it’s worth anything, given that I couldn’t ski until I was 21. But, now I have […]

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Thinking Like a Programmer

I see this problem continually in the first years I TA – they’re so overwhelmed by syntax they don’t know how to start to write the program. VB (in Excel) is especially mean about this, as if a line of code won’t compile it won’t let you go to the next one. So, having given […]

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An Introduction to Processing

Find the slides for this below. If you’re interested, there will be a session tonight in Wave at 7pm, but there will be another one later this week as well. As ever – feedback welcome! An Introduction to Processing View more presentations from Cate Huston.

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