From Coding Novice to Confident Coder with #GoSlowWorkshop
Guest Blog Post by Jennifer Scott
Can yearbooks cost students under $10? YES! When you design them in Google Slides. Jennifer Scott has created an Add-on for G Suite that would make this process easier… and she entered a coding contest with it to boot! Help Jennifer win by helping her demonstrate the reach her app could have. Fill in your school address on the Google Form!
Journey to Learn to Code
I am an English teacher. Depending on the principal’s whim and year, I am also a 7th-grade history teacher. In 2014, my crazy self asked, “Hey, can I teach the yearbook class?”
But I am not a coder.
I believe my time is valuable. My work hours are 7:30 am to 2:45 pm with a “prep” period after students go home. I want educational technology to work. I want to click once, not five times. When I choose to work outside my paid hours, I want to be efficient.
Which is precisely why I wanted to learn to code.
Last night, on a whim, I opened Google Apps Script and looked for the very first line of code that I wrote. The script, which I wrote for the Alice Keeler Go Slow Coding Workshop on July 9, 2017, was aptly named “My First Script.”
You might be thinking, “I understand efficiency. I understand that you want technology to work. We all do. But WHY learn to code?”
Who Inspires Me
Both Alice and Catlin believe in being efficient. They believe their time is valuable. Catlin urges teachers to Stop Taking Grading Home while explaining effective workflows. Alice writes code like Roster to Slides and Pull-the-Paragraph to make in-class feedback possible.
But I am not Alice or Catlin. I am me. Alice’s code and Catlin’s workflow are inspirational, but I need to adjust their brilliant ideas to meet the needs of students and myself.
Yearbooks are so expensive for students. This means some students miss out on the collection of memories that many of us treasure. Google Slides works as a graphic design tool. Switching to designing yearbooks in Google Slides and using self publishing options to print, the cost of the yearbook can be as low as $8.
I created a website, slidesyearbook.com, to help others create their yearbooks in Google Slides.
I had this idea that I could improve the process of making yearbooks in Google Slides by using Code. I had seen some of the things Alice Keeler had coded and thought, that could be modified to enhance my SlidesYearbook project.
I changed 1) the last name to directions, 2) I removed the email because students don’t have email, and 3) I started a new line. Plus, I changed Alice’s green slide to my Doctor Who blue.
Visually the difference looks like this:
Alice Keeler’s original Roster to Slides Code for a September 11, 2018 lesson
Learning to code a big idea like SlidesYearbook is challenging, but worth it. Two years after my first coding lesson from Alice, I am now in a coding competition. Yes, this educator – an English teacher – is competing to win $10,000 for a code I wrote to help my students focus less on inserting images into our Google Slides yearbook and more on learning graphic design.
Now my yearbook students can use class time to learn from Tony Vincent using his Shapegrams tutorials. Compton JHS students created these yearbook decorations in two days just last week. They loved it!
Artwork by 8th Grader Zalma
Impacting Others with Code
The SlidesYearbook code is done. Now all I need to do is to gather data for the presentation to the judges. I will be scored on the code AND its impact on users. SlidesYearbook saves students money and allows them to focus their time learning graphic design. I need to prove that users all over the world already use the SlidesYearbook workflow or would want to learn more. Please help me by completing this survey.
And, after you have submitted the short survey, sign up for Alice Keeler’s next Go Slow Coding class. I would love to be your classmate.
We can be coders together.