Week 3

Creating a Tutorial

June has arrived! Back home I would be thinking that summer is around the corner with warm weather, watermelon, and sunshine. In North Carolina it has felt like I am in the middle of summer. Maybe this is why I made a tutorial for the program Alice that takes a character from a snow scene to a beach scene. eskimo girl with a snowman eskimo girl with beach chair The tutorial still isn't finish yet but I have a good start on it. It is for learning about parameters and inheritance in programming. Basically you take a character make the arms and legs move so it looks like its walking and then save the information so you can use it again in another place.

Writing a Tutorial and a Mountain of Snacks

Today I continued working on my tutorial by writing instructions in a PowerPoint format. I am actually using OpenOffice Impress which seems to be working quite well for me. writing instructions can be slow when I am concentrating on how to explain what to do without using needless computer jargon. But I hope by the end of the week I will have someone else read through it so I can make changes.

In the afternoon I went with Professor Rodger to Costco. There are four weeks of workshops coming up where teachers will be spending a week learning about Alice programming. Teachers are a hungry bunch and we want them to be happy programmers by the end of the workshop. The Costco trip was to pick up snacks for these workshops. It was fun going down the snack isle and picking up at least one box of every kind of snack that was there. Two trolleys later we had a whole mountain of cookies, chocolate, chips, and granola bars. Needless to say we were getting some curious looks and even comments like "I want to come over to your house for the party".

Researching Alice

I spent the good part of today researching articles that related specifically to Alice. I found 8 or 9 articles; some of them were published this year. I also found another CRA DREU participant, Jordana Hodges working on Storytelling Alice under Caitlin Kelleher. Professor Kelleher's research is on human-computer interaction and computational learning environments. I browsed through her doctoral dissertation and got a taste for the differences between Alice 2.0 (what I am working with) and Storytelling Alice. I will continue reading through these articles and adding them to my reference page.

Deborah finished the first draft of a tutorial so I started going through that and making some comments. She is off to New York so I slowly wandered home taking some pictures of Duke. I posted some of them on my flickr page.

Wondering through Alice

I submitted my website today to the CRA-DREU. I did some more reading and continued to review the new tutorial. In the afternoon I was looking to be a bit more creative so I followed a textbook which had a tutorial on making a ball roll realistically. I then explored some of the options under the file menu and created a website and video. I also found a way to create a page which prints off the code. The video is a little big and not very exciting so I won't post it here but you can look at the code if you are interested. Soccer Ball Rolling Code. The rest of the day was a bit random. I was looking at all the objects you can add into an Alice world and found a shrub maze. This reminded me of a recursion problem so I tried to figure out if it would be possible to have a ladybug go through the maze but the walls of the maze were not separate objects so I don't think it will work. I also went through some of the example worlds and tutorials that come with Alice.

weather predictions for the weekend

Liz told me that the weather here can change from one moment to the next. Today was a good example of this. For most of the morning it was nice and sunny the next time I look up from my computer it is raining, a few minutes later sunny. And then it really started to rain! Perhaps it is because hurricane season started on June 1? I am a west coast girl, I don't know these weather patterns. Luckily I do understand umbrellas! The walk home was full of puddles but I stayed relatively dry.

It's raining inside?!

I finished revising a tutorial today, an introduction to functions. I'll put it into the repository on Monday. The rest of the day was spent on reviewing Debora's tutorial and Jenna's tutorial. They were both really good. It can be really brain taxing to write out a tutorial without knowing who the audience is or how much they know.

It was raining a lot today but after a while there was this dripping noise that sounded closer than the others. After looking at the window several times I found the leak! Luckily there was no serious threat to the computer equipment but the splashing would have hit Deborah if she had been here today.

my office

Here is a picture taken earlier of our office. From left to right is Prof. Rodger (she was visiting our office),Deborah, Liz, Me, Jenna
This was taken on a sunnier day.

Weekend on my own

sea shell mobileAll my apartment-mates were gone this weekend. While it may seem kind of strange, I wasn't too disapointed. It has been a long time since I was on my own and I found it enjoyable (at least in the short term). My main focus was to find my way to a grocery store. I had asked a few people about the grocery stores in the area and all I could remember was there was one with Lion in the name. Thank goodness for Google! I found my way and discovered that it wasn't that far especially because I have to walk.

I spent the weekend puttering, reading working on a new web page, created a mobile out of the shells I picked up on the beach the other weekend, and ate chocolate pie!