Programming and Programming

In an attempt to create a resource of useful information, I will be working on monthly “blog” posts about topics that through some means have come my way.  I am not claiming to be an expert in any particular field, however, I would love if these posts became a start to a conversation.  One of the most powerful things about this organization’s members is the diversity of their expertise.  I am graciously looking for topics for these posts.  Please send requests to

Now that I have addressed the programming aspect of this post, I will continue on to the main content:  programming.  I have taught some aspect of programming in my webpage design, Principles of Engineering, Computer Integrated Manufacturing classes and my after school VEX robotics team.  Depending on the application or interest there are many resources that are either stand alone or supportive of programming instruction.  This month I wanted to share some of the ones I have found useful.

Fist off, I wanted to highlight an event that is incredibly relevant to this particular article:  Hour of Code.  December 8 – December 14 is computer science education week.  This site, although promoting heavily during this upcoming week, is available all year and features many resources instructing basic programming as well as introducing common languages such as Javascript and Python.  These resources are available at’s website.

Another resource that I have enjoyed using for webpage design as well as a challenge for students is Codecademy.  This website features self-guided tutorials that instruct then check student progress.  This website offers tutorials in html, CSS, javascript, jQuery, Pythong, Ruby, and PHP.  For me, the site is primarily useful as a tool to get students started on a path to webpage/app development.

Finally, I wanted to discuss programming for the VEX robotics.  The text-based method my students use to  program the VEX robots is RobotC.  RobotC is very close to javascript and when using RobotC’s language editor it has a very useful debugging feature.  The debugging feature in RobotC helps not only to debug the student-written program but also helps debug the VEX cortexes.  Recently, RobotC has introduced a Graphical Natural Language.  The Graphical Natural Language features a drag-and-drop programming method that is more visible than the terminal-eque RobotC.  Although I do like students to understand the full details of writing code, the fastest and easiest to use code-authoring software is EasyC.  This is very useful for VEX competitions when quick edits or complete reprogramming may be necessary.



Posted in Vice President's Corner

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