Just Some Notes On Education

July - 2021
  • I'm not a fan of the thing on Hour of Code where when you do one thing, it pops up a message with "Congrats, you completed puzzle 1. You just wrote one line of code" see screenshot from 2021-07-22T12:28:09-0400. It was too quick and took me out of what I was doing. Should have done a few things before popping that up.

  • There's also a "Did you like this puzzle?" prompt at the bottom of the popup, that's just adding more noise to the system.

  • The interface also has more things than you need. It has multiple moves that you can make even though the first one is just for run. It would be better if the first one, there was no chance of making a mistake.

  • In Hour of Code, there's a way to see the javascript that's under the hood. There's no reason to show that. It just muddies the waters (and puts yet another thing up on the screen to deal with)

  • When I first clicked on the page, it showed a video that I thought was going to be about what I was going to do, but it wasn't, it was a promo for the service. That was a bit confusing and then when I went into the program there was no actual help. I had to figure it out myself. Not a huge deal if there's a teacher, but not so good for someone working on it the first time.

  • The one I'm playing is for Grades 2+. The second step is 'Now let's see if we can create two lines that are at a 90 degree angle to each other. You will need to use the "Turn" block as well as the "Move" block.' Do second graders know what a 90 degree turn is? (I'm not saying yeah or nay, I really don't know, but it seems like more mental overhead than just "turn left")

  • The graphic shows else from an angle, but the grid appears to be 2D. Would be better to have a straight top down view.

  • I just realized that one problem with this is that there's no intro showing how to use the blocks. Like, it would be better to walk through each block one by one and actually do a thing first to show them. This goes with Erica's "I do. We do. You do."

  • The text also just says "turn" but not a direction. and the first block in the list is turning to the right when the expectation is to turn to the left. The right block should be on the board at that point. Only the left

  • When you move code it says something like "You're code may have changed, click 'Reset' and 'Run' to rerun your code". That shouldn't show up and you shouldn't have to click the button twice. The button should just be "Re-run" or "Run Again" or "Run with updated code" or something (though, probably not that last one)

  • I couldn't figure out how to delete blocks for a sec. It's done by dragging them back over to the source location. That's non-obvious. Maybe a trashcan at the bottom.

  • All the things I'm pointing out become less of an issue with usage. The trick it to make it as simple as possible to use (with as little clutter as possible) from the start so there's less mental overhead.

  • At the top of the puzzle, there's a progress bar with 20 explicit checkpoints marked with circles. That's daunting. (It also feels weird to have it in the global nav location, since it's not navigation)

  • Look at your course notes for the Beginner's Guide to React from Egghead for a bunch of other notes interspersed