Unit 2 - Week 1 Learning Log - Granata

  1. Begin logging your procedure by restating what topics you covered

I reviewed the initial training video introducing the changes to Processing with the new version, which offered a great overview of the capabilities of the program. Then I worked through the Hour of Code activities.

  1. Then add what you tried in Processing, offering some details about what’s going through your mind as you learn

The first program I tried was the random smiley face program. I was trying to rewrite each code piece and take notes on exactly what each line of code was telling the computer to do. For example, when writing “float x” you’re telling the program to create a new variable called X. You musn’t forget, however, to give X a value either at that time or later on in the program.

 

This week, I tried to recreate the pointellated sketch in color as instructed in the hour of code part of the project. I could make shade create the random patterns in all shades of grey, but couldn’t for the life of me figure out where I was missing the point for adding the color. Then I realized that shade’s color was set all the way at the END of the program, reset that to a new stroke color, and voila! Random colors.

 

  1. Copy the error or message

“Expecting EOF, found ‘shade’

 

Describe what you think the problem is

I was trying to make “shade” equal the value of “stroke”. However, I was putting that convention in the wrong place. I had placed it before the void draw section of code, therefore establishing a variable within a variable that made no sense to the poor software.

 

When you debug the error, describe the lesson you learn about Processing

When the error appeared, I tried various iterations of assigning shade to a color value that would then change randomly. I tried just after the void draw statement, then I tried again just before the shade value declaration statement. Then I scrolled further and found the “set the color” statement and that’s where I finally found success.

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Reflection | Think about everything you know about how human languages and communication work. What are important differences and similarities between computational and human languages?


 

I believe the greatest difference between human language and computational languages is the removal of emotion and context. For example, computational languages are syntax dependent and completely logical. They MUST follow your conversation from point A all the way to point Z. There is no inflection, no emotion, and no varying from the step by step progression. Comparing that to human languages, there are infinite nuances within every language that add color to our conversations. From body language that can add sarcasm or humor to a statement, to homonyms that add dimension to our use of text, human languages are far more flexible and adaptable than computational languages are thus far. Therefore the error message I encountered was logical in computational speaking, but illogical in human language. In human language, if I tell someone to get an assortment of markers from the table, they will pick up the markers and wait for the next instruction. Computers, on the other hand, process so quickly that they say “why do you need the markers?” before that thought has even crossed the human’s mind, and thus the error appears.

 

One great similarity between human and computer languages is that both look for a beginning, middle and end to “conversations”. In the context of Processing, you create the beginning by typing “void setup{_____}” and create the middle with “void draw {_____}” and end the program with “}”. Indeed, each line has to end with a “;” to tell the computer to move on. In human languages with use punctuation to tell our listeners or readers what inflection is intended or needed, to give them a chance to take a breath, and we have special words for the beginning, middle and of course the end of our conversation. This chronological importance takes place with new language learners, too. For instance, when teaching english to spanish speakers, the first unit is very often “Hello, Who am I, and Goodbye”. The ultimate first story. In computational language, the first code most programmers write is of course “Hello, World”. As the caterpillar advised Alice, “Start at the beginning, and when you come to the end, stop.” So it goes in all languages whether human or computational.


 

    • Gerald Ardito
      Gerald Ardito

      Suzie,

      Your insights on the relationships between human and computer languages are quite something.

      These jumped out at me:

      I believe the greatest difference between human language and computational languages is the removal of emotion and context. 

      and

      One great similarity between human and computer languages is that both look for a beginning, middle and end to “conversations."

      I see a lot of promise in the use of "conversations" as a way to bring all kinds of students into computational thinking and tools.

    Computer Science for Teachers Spring 2019

    Computer Science for Teachers Spring 2019

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