Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Scratching away

This school year has brought new and interesting experiences.  I have been piloting new initiatives such as Google CS-First and ASU's STEAM Machines Club, both made possible due to generous support and a grant.  More on the STEAM Machines Club later.

As a recent assignment, I asked my middle school students to work on a debug-it challenge:
Scratch Debug-it


___/3_ I have completed at least 3 Scratch Debug-its from 'Scratch,' ‘Superwhy’ and/or ‘Mak’s Debuggers’ studios.

___/1__  I have created one debug-it challenge.

____/1_  At least one other student has solved my debug-it.

_____  I have posted my debug-it challenge to ‘Mak’s Debuggers.’

____/10_ I have completed a reflection on my Scratch debugging experience that includes:
-what was challenging about debugging
-what was interesting about debugging
-lessons you learned about debugging
-how debugging relates to coding

-any additional ideas or inspiration

What made this experience interesting was that I am now doing this after a year into our district's coding initiative that really spread after the 'Hour of Code.'  As a result, I have a wide range of levels in my classes all the way from experienced Scratchers (Scratch Ninjas) to beginners.  The most interesting observation I have is that debug-its have valuable lessons for all students, regardless of background in Scratch.  

In the words of Scratch expert:

"The hardest part about debugging the codes was finding the right functions to solve each problem. The most interesting part of debugging was figuring out what functions were required to solve each problem.  While debugging, I learned that there are multiple ways to solve each problem, and some problems may be way harder than others. Debugging relates to coding because code is what is debugged. Without code, you can not debugged anything because after all, there would be nothing to code. The project has inspired me to create a big project because now, i know how to fix any problems I come across."

And, in the words of a Scratch novice:

"The challenging thing about scratch debug it, is that when you think you're finished fixing something, you have to go back and check and then you realise that you're really not finished. The reason is because it was truly more complicated than you though, and you must make it work, finishing the debug after you make more edits.

An interesting thing that I learned in scratch debugging, is that it is not as simple as it looks, and it really involves a lot of work to complete, and repeating and duplicating codes. Also you can make things more creative by debugging than they were to start.

I learned a couple of things about debugging. The first thing that i learned is that, when it comes to debugging no matter how frustrated or angry you are if you don’t give up, you can still successfully finish the debug. The second and final thing, even though it is relative to the first one is if you mess up the whole thing, challenge yourself and see if you can make things work out in the end.

Debugging relates to coding, in one way, which i that, just like in coding you still drag and drop commands to make actions happen. Your also still coding in a way because you're using code to fix a coded error.

Yes I have one extra idea that I would like to share, which is that if scratch had more word coding, and less drag and drop coding, then I feel that things would be bigger, more productive, and quicker."

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