UPDATE (2/1/2017): See the note at the bottom of this post.
Here is a bookmarklet that will add QR codes to the student login cards for your code.org class.
Below is a video explaining how to use this bookmarklet.
I was recently informed by a couple teachers that the bookmarklet doesn’t work. After some investigation, I figured out why. As a security measure, new browser standards have been set that prevent many bookmarklets from working. This security measure is called a Content Security Policy or CSP. The bookmarklet will only work if you disable CSP for the page before running it.
In May, my nine-year-old daughter suffered a stroke. The stroke weakened the left side of her body severely. However, with therapy she has managed to improve each week. Because of the stroke, she has a lot of tone in her arm. This causes her arm to pull up close to her body instead of naturally resting down and at her side. She has to make a conscience effort to put her arm down and we are frequently reminding her.
One day I got an idea. Could we use sensors to measure when her arm is up and use a vibration to remind her to put her arm down? After a little digging online, I quickly learned that the Pebble smartwatch has an accelerometer that could be used to detect orientation.
What happened next was truly remarkable. Within a day, I had a response explaining that my idea was possible. By the next day, another user made me a working prototype app. I learned how to install the app on a Pebble watch that my good friend loaned me. I made adjustments to the code using an online development tool called CloudPebble.
Another user offered to merge the app into a watch face “so the watch doesn’t have to look like it’s only there for the stroke.” From here, things really took off. With my feedback, we added several other features such as a learning mode so the app could be used by others in similar situations.
This experience has shown my daughter the true power of the Internet. She saw that it is so much more than a place to consume media. The Internet allows total strangers from all over the world to work together. She learned that people will volunteer their time and skill to create new things and help others.
It is the best lesson about the Internet I could ever hope for her to learn.
Watch this clip from Sesame Street where young students from 1980s describe a computer and what can be done with one.
I love their answers:
a computer is something you write on
[with a computer you can] make designs
you can make pictures with it and it helps you read
it’s not human
[a computer doesn’t have] feelings
It can think but you have to tell it what to do, we are [doing the thinking]
By now, the kids in the video are about forty years old. They are my age. We grew up working with a computer. The focus was on what we could do with a computer. What could we write, design or create with a computer.
I wonder if today’s students have the same focus? Are we shifting from a ‘what we can do with a computer’ toward ‘what can a computer do for us’ mindset?
Maybe Google doesn’t hate audio but I certainly think they skipped it for its love of video.
With all the TV and YouTube channels at our fingertips, we tend to look toward video as the only tool for expression and communication. However, much like a good book, audio allows our students to conjure up imagery from within rather than having it blasted effortlessly into their minds in the form of video.
We can also challenge our students to create new forms of expression by restricting the use of visual elements. When students are asked to create audio works, they are given a chance to develop new ways to communicate effectively.
However, audio support seems to be missing in Google Apps for Education.