Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Teaching Programming in Class AND in the CLOUD!

Being an educational technology professional, I end up teaching technology classes more than other subjects.  Sure, I've taught history and english -- but it is a more natural progression to be teaching a subject matter that is nearer to what you do every day than, say, the implications of the Dredd Scott decision on the Civil War.  While I can certainly go on about that, it isn't what I end up teaching.

** side note: my students will tell you that I have a particular knack for finding a way to work in history to my technology classes.  That, and waffles with bacon.  I love waffles with bacon. **

But one of the biggest challenges I've run into was finding an easy-to-use, easy for students to access, device and network independent method for students to write and debug code -- and be able to do it no matter what language I was teaching!  One of my biggest criticisms of programming over the past decade (or so) is that programmers do not learn the art of coding, they learn how to use a specific environment (Visual Studio, Borland Studio, Eclipse, etc)  I found something great and I wanted to share it with you, it is called Compilr.  Compilr is an online (device independent, yes, read that as "works on iPads") code editor and sandbox that allows students to write code from anywhere, anytime.  All you need is your device, and an Internet connection.  It works on iPads, iPhones, Windows, Windows RT, Android and Google Chromebook devices seamlessly.  It even includes (new) support for touchscreen interaction (which is way neat).  And, as an added bonus, if you are teaching advanced coding with a GIT repository -- you can just put that info in and BAM - import those projects.

What is really nice about 
Compilr is that it not only allows you to write your code, but it allows you to test and debug it -- all online.  When I first tested this with my Java classes, we have issues with some external libraries and even some basic ones.  But that seems to have been ironed out in the newest incarnation (now owned by Lynda).  And what's more -- it supports a gaggle of different programming languages natively!  Including C, C#, C++, Objective C, Objective C++, Fortran, HTML, Java, Javascript, Pascal, PHP, Python, Ruby, Visual Basic and x86 Assembly.  Click here for more information on their platform support.  

Sound awesome?  Well it gets a better!  Tired of saving code on Dropbox or a USB drive?  No more -- Compilr serves as a central repository for all your code and allows you to create and share groupings of code for classroom activities!

Want to hone your skills on your own?  
Compilr includes access to many tutorials and videos on coding in various languages!

Compilr goes a long way to achieving the cloud-based programming platform that almost every programming instructor has been longing for.

Bruce has worked in educational technology for over 18 years and has implemented several 1:1/BYOD programs.  He also has been a classroom teacher for various subjects.  Bruce is the author of five books: Sands of TimeTowering Pines Volume One:Room 509The Star of ChristmasPhiladelphia Story: A Lance Carter Detective Novel and The Insider's Story: A Lance Carter Detective Novel.  Follow Bruce's Novel releases by subscribing to his FREE newsletter!

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