Thursday, July 28, 2016

Web Programming book and kids' coding camp

My Sabbatical plans changed somewhat last spring, and I ended up putting all of my time into writing the "Web Programming" book to be released in beta this fall by zyBooks. If you are not familiar with zyBooks, they are online books that feature animations and interactive questions. Students are much more engaged when interacting with zyBooks than with traditional print books. Plus zyBooks are usually much less expensive.

The "Web Programming" zyBook covers HTTP, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, jQuery, mobile, PHP, Node.js, and databases. It's been a great experience writing the book, and I've learned a lot in the process. I'm finishing the final chapter in the next few weeks. Contact zyBooks if you would like to preview the book.

This week I ran the Kids' Coding Adventures camp for 20 kids in grades 1-3. It was the first coding camp in Searcy for young kids that I'm aware of. We used Tynker, a platform for teaching coding to kids and adults. The kids absolutely loved it!

What would make me want to spend three days with young kids teaching coding? I attended a Logo programming camp in the 3rd grade, and it was like I had discovered an amazing treasure! The camp introduced me to something that would later be my profession. I wanted to provide the same experience for the kids of Searcy. Plus my two sons really wanted me to run the camp, and it's hard to say "no" to such enthusiasm.

The Harding website has a nice write-up about the camp.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

My Sabbatical

I'm very grateful that Harding has allowed me to take a one semester Sabbatical. I owe a lot of thanks to Gabriel Foust, my colleague who has been working on his Ph.D. at Texas A&M for the past four and a half years and has finally returned to Harding so he can take over my Spring course load. Thanks, Gabe!

My plans for the Spring have been in flux for a while, but they've finally ironed themselves out. I'll be spending a portion of my time writing some book chapters for a Web Development book for a well-known publisher. There is a team of writers for the book, and it will hopefully be available in the Fall. My Web Dev courses will begin using the book in the fall as well.

Additionally I'll be doing some software development for Flatirons Solutions, a company out of Bolder, CO, that I worked with a few summers ago. I'll be exposed to some new technologies that I will hopefully incorporate into my courses here at Harding.

A lot of my students thought I'd be gone this semester, but I plan on being in my office as much as possible and being available, so feel free to stop by and say hello!

Edit 7-28-16

The book ended up being the focus of Sabbatical. The book is called Web Programming and will be available to the general public at the end of 2016 from zyBooks. Topics include: HTTP, HTML5, CSS, JavaScript, mobile, Node.js, PHP, and databases.