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  • Andrew Cox
    The study also recommends that you decrease the examples as you progress As students develop greater expertise decreased example use and correspondingly increased problem solving appears to improve learning 3 Combine graphics with verbal descriptions In addition to graphics or video you should also provide an audio track since the brain can process the visuals better when they don t have to use their eyes for both reading and interpreting the graphics Graphics are often not as obvious in the world of software development but perhaps the rise of screencasts on the web indicates that video with an audio voiceover is an effective teaching aid There are other studies however that indicate videos are often misleading in how much information is retained by the student 4 Connect and integrate abstract and concrete representations of concepts The studies show that students struggle more with abstract representations initially but are better able to use the learned concepts in different contexts I m not exactly sure how to apply this to software development Is the bowling kata an example of an abstract concept Or are we talking about visualizing the MVC framework I m going to need to think about this one a little more 5 Use quizzing to promote learning If you think of quizzing as a means to help students understand what areas they need to study rather than an evaluation for a grade quizzing suddenly seems much more powerful One concept that I will definitely adopt is the idea of pre quizzing to prepare students for the material they re about to learn This could work very well with SkillBonsai when using an external resource like another site s tutorial or a chapter in a book But how do we validate that a software solution is correct Aside from simple check the output tests perhaps we could add a more subjective checklist for the student to do a self check on the quality of code including Do your variable and method names express intent i e are they named clearly Are your methods less than 10 lines long Are your classes doing more than one thing Each quality question could provide links for the student to review what each of those quality checks means in detail if they need a refresher We could also encourage them to have their solution checked by someone in their local or online programming community I think there are limits to what we can do with online quizzing for software development but there s a lot of untapped potential with simple multiple choice or fill in the blank quizzing 6 Help students allocate study time efficiently It is our belief however that students ability to manage their own studying is one of the more important skills that students need to learn This is probably the key takeaway for me Students are notoriously poor at metacognition or knowing how much they know This really resonated with me and I think it s one of the most

    Original URL path: http://andrewcox.org/page/5 (2016-04-30)
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  • Do Research-based Study Methods Apply to Learning... - Andrew Cox
    and readability The study also recommends that you decrease the examples as you progress As students develop greater expertise decreased example use and correspondingly increased problem solving appears to improve learning 3 Combine graphics with verbal descriptions In addition to graphics or video you should also provide an audio track since the brain can process the visuals better when they don t have to use their eyes for both reading and interpreting the graphics Graphics are often not as obvious in the world of software development but perhaps the rise of screencasts on the web indicates that video with an audio voiceover is an effective teaching aid There are other studies however that indicate videos are often misleading in how much information is retained by the student 4 Connect and integrate abstract and concrete representations of concepts The studies show that students struggle more with abstract representations initially but are better able to use the learned concepts in different contexts I m not exactly sure how to apply this to software development Is the bowling kata an example of an abstract concept Or are we talking about visualizing the MVC framework I m going to need to think about this one a little more 5 Use quizzing to promote learning If you think of quizzing as a means to help students understand what areas they need to study rather than an evaluation for a grade quizzing suddenly seems much more powerful One concept that I will definitely adopt is the idea of pre quizzing to prepare students for the material they re about to learn This could work very well with SkillBonsai when using an external resource like another site s tutorial or a chapter in a book But how do we validate that a software solution is correct Aside from simple check the output tests perhaps we could add a more subjective checklist for the student to do a self check on the quality of code including Do your variable and method names express intent i e are they named clearly Are your methods less than 10 lines long Are your classes doing more than one thing Each quality question could provide links for the student to review what each of those quality checks means in detail if they need a refresher We could also encourage them to have their solution checked by someone in their local or online programming community I think there are limits to what we can do with online quizzing for software development but there s a lot of untapped potential with simple multiple choice or fill in the blank quizzing 6 Help students allocate study time efficiently It is our belief however that students ability to manage their own studying is one of the more important skills that students need to learn This is probably the key takeaway for me Students are notoriously poor at metacognition or knowing how much they know This really resonated with me and I think it s one of

    Original URL path: http://andrewcox.org/post/16120144443/do-research-based-study-methods-apply-to-learning (2016-04-30)
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  • Andrew Cox
    the event We need some sort of a Before You Arrive kit that gives a very brief overview of the event and tells you how to get the most out of the day This should include everything from setting up your development environment to bringing enough business cards to share Make sure you have plenty of whiteboard space During a coderetreat there s a lot to take in I love having information radiators for active and passive learning There are a number of things that I wanted to convey to the participants throughout the day including Wi Fi credentials Twitter hashtag The goal of Coderetreat The 4 rules of Conway s Game of Life The 4 rules of Simple Design The TDD cycle List of buzzwords and concepts Mark Twain quote I didn t have time to write a short letter so I wrote a long one instead Put more focus on goals at the beginning The primary goal should be written clearly on a whiteboard to remind everyone throughout the day why they chose to give up their Saturday to program In addition to the primary goal I think I could spend more time calling out secondary goals like getting better at pair programming and test driven development learning your tools exposing new OO concepts and spreading the software craftsmanship bug If the participants leave with a firm idea of the goals of the event it will help to spread the idea of coderetreats Don t push the challenges before the participants are ready Due to the big event it was too tempting to pull out the whole bag of tricks for the sessions I think it would ve been best to give cues to focus on fundamentals for the first 3 rounds and only start to introduce more modest constraints like ping pong pairing and TDD as if you meant it late in the day if at all If you re working with developers who have all been to a coderetreat before then you might be able to pull out things like no conditional statements or use verbs instead of nouns but I think otherwise they put undue hardship on the teams Learning pairing TDD simple design and even new programming languages is more than enough for most people Ask more probing questions during walk arounds Much of being a great facilitator is having a strong understanding of OO concepts yourself This allows you to ask the right questions to stretch a practitioner and guide them toward simple design I still have quite a way to go on this front but I think I would do well by reading up on some of the OO concepts and forming questions that I can ask ahead of time Write down a list of buzzwords and concepts during the event If you ve been to a number of conferences and are interested in Software Craftsmanship you might take for granted how many buzzwords you regularly sling around People don t often

    Original URL path: http://andrewcox.org/page/6 (2016-04-30)
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  • Coderetreat: A first-time facilitator's... - Andrew Cox
    expectations before the event We need some sort of a Before You Arrive kit that gives a very brief overview of the event and tells you how to get the most out of the day This should include everything from setting up your development environment to bringing enough business cards to share Make sure you have plenty of whiteboard space During a coderetreat there s a lot to take in I love having information radiators for active and passive learning There are a number of things that I wanted to convey to the participants throughout the day including Wi Fi credentials Twitter hashtag The goal of Coderetreat The 4 rules of Conway s Game of Life The 4 rules of Simple Design The TDD cycle List of buzzwords and concepts Mark Twain quote I didn t have time to write a short letter so I wrote a long one instead Put more focus on goals at the beginning The primary goal should be written clearly on a whiteboard to remind everyone throughout the day why they chose to give up their Saturday to program In addition to the primary goal I think I could spend more time calling out secondary goals like getting better at pair programming and test driven development learning your tools exposing new OO concepts and spreading the software craftsmanship bug If the participants leave with a firm idea of the goals of the event it will help to spread the idea of coderetreats Don t push the challenges before the participants are ready Due to the big event it was too tempting to pull out the whole bag of tricks for the sessions I think it would ve been best to give cues to focus on fundamentals for the first 3 rounds and only start to introduce more modest constraints like ping pong pairing and TDD as if you meant it late in the day if at all If you re working with developers who have all been to a coderetreat before then you might be able to pull out things like no conditional statements or use verbs instead of nouns but I think otherwise they put undue hardship on the teams Learning pairing TDD simple design and even new programming languages is more than enough for most people Ask more probing questions during walk arounds Much of being a great facilitator is having a strong understanding of OO concepts yourself This allows you to ask the right questions to stretch a practitioner and guide them toward simple design I still have quite a way to go on this front but I think I would do well by reading up on some of the OO concepts and forming questions that I can ask ahead of time Write down a list of buzzwords and concepts during the event If you ve been to a number of conferences and are interested in Software Craftsmanship you might take for granted how many buzzwords you regularly sling around People don

    Original URL path: http://andrewcox.org/post/13810557640/coderetreat-a-first-time-facilitators (2016-04-30)
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  • Andrew Cox
    software that I hadn t considered until this year When you go to work or your party in your homemade costume you know every single flaw of your costume You know it could be better But you know what It doesn t matter If you came up with a unique idea and it resonates with people It doesn t matter if people can see your tape starting to curl up on your cardboard sword Make something cool and ship it What makes a good costume To be a good costume I think it has to be either Unique Really really well done If you re going as Boba Fett or Jack Sparrow you d better be able to stand in as their stunt doubles in Star Wars Rise of the Midi chlorians or Pirates of the Caribbean V Return to Disney World For example in 2007 Beth went as an Engineer from Star Trek TOS The Original Series She bought an authentic Gene Roddenberry insignia patch and had her mom sew her a Starfleet Engineering uniform in 2 days That costume was solid You could probably sell it on eBay to a Trekkie and they d be the talk of the next convention I usually take the other tack the unique costume Not that I m the first person to think of a particular costume but hopefully I m the first person you ve seen with that costume The costumes Here are my costumes from the previous 5 years In 2007 I inadvertently started a theme of Saturday Night Live alum movie characters This is Navin R Johnson Steve Martin from the last scene of The Jerk In 2008 I went as Bob Wiley Bill Murray from What About Bob one of my favorite movies The unique element here is

    Original URL path: http://andrewcox.org/page/7 (2016-04-30)
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  • Why I love Halloween - Andrew Cox
    with shipping software that I hadn t considered until this year When you go to work or your party in your homemade costume you know every single flaw of your costume You know it could be better But you know what It doesn t matter If you came up with a unique idea and it resonates with people It doesn t matter if people can see your tape starting to curl up on your cardboard sword Make something cool and ship it What makes a good costume To be a good costume I think it has to be either Unique Really really well done If you re going as Boba Fett or Jack Sparrow you d better be able to stand in as their stunt doubles in Star Wars Rise of the Midi chlorians or Pirates of the Caribbean V Return to Disney World For example in 2007 Beth went as an Engineer from Star Trek TOS The Original Series She bought an authentic Gene Roddenberry insignia patch and had her mom sew her a Starfleet Engineering uniform in 2 days That costume was solid You could probably sell it on eBay to a Trekkie and they d be the talk of the next convention I usually take the other tack the unique costume Not that I m the first person to think of a particular costume but hopefully I m the first person you ve seen with that costume The costumes Here are my costumes from the previous 5 years In 2007 I inadvertently started a theme of Saturday Night Live alum movie characters This is Navin R Johnson Steve Martin from the last scene of The Jerk In 2008 I went as Bob Wiley Bill Murray from What About Bob one of my favorite movies The unique element

    Original URL path: http://andrewcox.org/post/12183086383/why-i-love-halloween (2016-04-30)
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  • Andrew Cox
    great resources in the Ruby community these days that it takes a concerted effort just to keep up My attempt at a solution is to batch my Ruby learning into one day a week Naturally that day of the week should be Tuesday My plan is to spend 1 3 hours each Tuesday digging into some podcasts blogs and code Resources to learn from each week Here s my initial list of resources I plan to draw from Ruby Rogues podcast Ruby5 Ruby Weekly Railscasts Practicing Ruby Articles I find during the week tagged with rubytuesday via Pinboard My first Tuesday So tonight was my first Ruby Tuesday Um wow 1 hour is nowhere near enough time to cover all of these resources I tried to listen to the 1 hour Ruby Rogues podcast while reviewing the Ruby5 notes It was a little hard to divide my attention between the two and I didn t even finish reading through the Ruby5 notes I did end up learning a lot of useful stuff though so the hour spent was very worthwhile It s clear that 1 hour a week isn t nearly enough to keep up with Ruby I m going

    Original URL path: http://andrewcox.org/page/8 (2016-04-30)
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  • Ruby Tuesdays - Andrew Cox
    so many great resources in the Ruby community these days that it takes a concerted effort just to keep up My attempt at a solution is to batch my Ruby learning into one day a week Naturally that day of the week should be Tuesday My plan is to spend 1 3 hours each Tuesday digging into some podcasts blogs and code Resources to learn from each week Here s my initial list of resources I plan to draw from Ruby Rogues podcast Ruby5 Ruby Weekly Railscasts Practicing Ruby Articles I find during the week tagged with rubytuesday via Pinboard My first Tuesday So tonight was my first Ruby Tuesday Um wow 1 hour is nowhere near enough time to cover all of these resources I tried to listen to the 1 hour Ruby Rogues podcast while reviewing the Ruby5 notes It was a little hard to divide my attention between the two and I didn t even finish reading through the Ruby5 notes I did end up learning a lot of useful stuff though so the hour spent was very worthwhile It s clear that 1 hour a week isn t nearly enough to keep up with Ruby I

    Original URL path: http://andrewcox.org/post/11935641417/ruby-tuesdays (2016-04-30)
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