Github, html, css – starting out!

Early this year I was introduced to Github at the RailsGirlsWgtn Weekend back in March. Over the weekend there was the chance to create your own Ruby on Rails app, using Github and other sites to get it working. I must admit it was all a bit of a mystery to me and I doubt I could go back and recreate any of it, including the command lines to get stuff onto Github.

Since then I have learnt quite a bit more about programming (see posts about Python) and have developed my knowledge of HTML / CSS. For our Y12 Digital Technology class this year we have done quite a bit of website stuff and I have learnt more about using divs for layouts and cool sytling in CSS and my skills and confidence have improved.

Not long ago I came across Alyx Gillett’s website, which I think has a really cool and simple layout and design. So I started to look into creating one for myself. I looked at what hers is made in, which is www.squarespace.com. Looks cool but you have to pay after a free 14 day trial and it gives a bunch of stuff but nothing I think I need at the moment. And the  i had a brainwave, as I am a DT teacher wouldn’t it be cool if I made my own site completely from scratch. So I started have a play around with some ideas, look at some sites that had layouts I liked. This one provides the HTML & CSS – www.maxdesign.com.au. I started playing around with the Two column fixed width example and the One column fixed width layout.

site2

After playing for a bit I got busy with other things until just the last few days. I decided I wanted to have a crack again and also thought it was about time I started a wee project of my own. I thought creating my own site and getting it up online would be a good place to start plus it is a chance for me to really embed my own learning and think about how I can improve my own teaching of HTML & CSS.

So, after doing some Google searches about using Github and discovering Github for Windows and Mac, and learning about being able to use gh-pages to host a static website I pushed my wee site out into cyberspace. Using Github for Windows/Mac is so much easier then using the command lines – although I am sure it will be useful to know those sometime in the future.

Here is my site – http://schuknight.github.io/schuknight-site/. Still very much a work in progress and a learning tool for me.

ghiosite

Here I am on Github – https://github.com/schuknight. Useful stuff from RailGirlsWgtn Github page.

Next few steps with my site will be planning out what I want and also in November I am doing a 2 day HTML course at Yoobee, so hoping to learn some cool stuff there. It will be good to learn properly after a few years of picking things up here and there!

I have also rediscovered Sublime Text text editor. I like it as it just seems nicer then Notepad++ and can put on Windows and Mac!

sublime

How did you learn about HTML/CSS, webdesign? Got any goto sites that you think are essential? Either that you use now or learnt heaps from? What site do you recommend for me to keep developing my HTML/CSS? What site is good to start learning about Javascript?

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Learning Ruby – Rails Girls Wellington

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Today I spent my day at a Rails Girls Wellington event. The aim of the two day workshop is…

 We aim to take a range of skill levels and form smaller working groups based on experience.

The day started with coffee and mingling and then an introduction from the two fantastic organisers – Merrin Macleod (@merxplat) and Kelly Cheesman (@kellective). It was interesting hearing Kelly talk about how her interest in technology started at high school with a program called Tech Angels.

We moved onto having a chat with the person next to us and I chatted with Nat (@NatDudley) from Vend in Auckland. Great conversation about how important it is to get more women and girls into coding and about Gather Workshops – more investigation needed (@nzgather).

It was then time to hear from Charlie Ablett (@charlieabettnz) with the heading of her talk being ” Software is the closest thing we have to magic”. She discussed what she sees as that three main reasons that women don’t continue with computer science / programming:

  1. programming is done by yourself and therefore not very interesting
  2. working on programs that are boring, trivial and simple – so computer science is boring
  3. it is not creative

Having started a first year programming paper via the University of Canterbury at the beginning of this term, I would agree with this with what I have experienced so far, although I am very very new to it all.

However, Charlie made it clear that programming is not actually like that when you get out there into industry.Paraphrasing  – “It is not true that you program by yourself, it is collaborative and social, whether in the same physical space or not. It is all about solving problems and coming up with the best solution for a problem. This is a very creativity process as there can be lots of solutions for a problem but not all of them good solutions. Being able to express your creativity in programming can be limited when starting out but as you learn more you can express yourself and do amazing things.”

Charlie ended with saying that programming is about consistently growing and learning. That you can make changes in the physical world by writing software and turn thoughts into real world change.

We then moved on to trying out Ruby by using Try Ruby – http://tryruby.org/. Then a talk from Amy Palamountain (@ammeep) about GitHub – Code.GitHub & Animated Gifs. Great start talking about how code is just really text and how would you manage a wall of text adn 50 people on your team etc. Excellent introduction to GitHub with cool demo and interactive as participants were invited to add the the Animal Party (plus free stuff too!).

github-mark

We then got into doing some Ruby on Rails by following the guide railsat http://guides.railsgirls.com/app/. This was good, slightly frustrating as I seemed to keep hitting hurdles but there were plenty of great coaches to help me out. My progress was also slow as I networked with a few people, which was great and brings me onto some questions.

One conversation I had we talked about Python and Ruby and how Ruby is used more in industry and Python is more used within scientific areas. This got me wondering about whether there are teachers in NZ teaching Ruby in schools. Or are we mostly teaching Python because there are a lot of good resources available.

So, my questions:

  1. are you or do you know of anyone who is teaching Ruby in high schools?
  2. would Ruby be a better programming language to teach in high schools?
    • would it be easy? would it be more interesting for girls? (I am already finding what I have done to do more interesting as I am making something that I can see / use on a webpage straight away)
  3. anyone interested in exploring developing resources for Year 11 / 12 / 13?
  4. who is interested in coming into school (local Wellington school, all girls’) and talking about how they got into the industry and the work they do now?

Would love to hear your thoughts!

 

Goal 3 – learning Python

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So, after getting through enrolling at UC I have managed to get onto Learn2 (UC Moodle site) and into COCS121. So far so good. Have bought the recommended text book (Practical Programming) and loaded on iPad. Have got link to the interactive text book (How to Think Like a Computer Scientist), which looks pretty cool.

Have started catching up on the lectures that I missed due to not being enrolled. Am finding it quite interesting and not stressful so far!

There are 10 other teachers from around the country enrolled in the course, all doing it by distance and the set up for us is pretty good. I am going to have to allow probably at least 5 hours a week to it to keep on top of everything. Which will mean a very very busy first half of the year.

Quite excited about it though. Oh and if it wasn’t enough am of to the Rails Girls Wellington 2 day workshop in a couple of weekends. (@RailsGirlsWgtn)

Goal 3: learn Python so can teach effectively and engage students in this learning area.

Footnote: a small thing but see real life application for me, writing program to convert metres to feet, as I am mad on surfing!
Was going to link to text file but Google Drive having a hissy fit, so this is what I wrote:

def m2ft():
metre = float (input (“Wave height in metres: “)) return metre * 3.2808
print(“Wave height in feet is “, round (m2ft(),2))

So then how do sites like this – metric-conversions.org – make it come up with feet and inches?? Rather than decimal points. Something I will hopefully learn.

Just thought of another use – in PE students run the Cooper 12 minute run and we then get them to calculate what there time would be over 4kms. Would be cool to have little program to do that quickly (I am sure I could find one on web but cool doing myself!). Even better would be getting the students to make it themselves – cross curricula!