Ho Ho Code

December is always a fun time for computer users.  In particular, there’s this abundance of Santa Trackers or similar applications.

Every year, they get more functional, sophisticated, and just plain fun.  Google’s Santa Tracker went online today.  And, there’s so much goodness there and playing with the Advent Calendar events make a daily visit here a must.  There’s always some new fun and enjoyment there, including a multi-player snowball fight.

By itself, this is wonderful but there’s an educational side!

Screenshot 2017-12-01 at 10.49.42

Now, you can safely justify Santa Across the Curriculum by going in on the educational side.  It comes with ready to use activities, including lesson plans!  Take a look at each activity and your mind will start spinning with ideas.

Again, by itself, this is wonderful too.

Could you go deeper?

  1.  How about coding your own Advent Calendar?  Looking for ideas?  Well, the sky’s the limit but how about this?  A popular activity is to code with your language of choice and draw shapes.  What about a “holiday shape of the day”?  The truly protective coder will want to make sure that only the shape of the day is available.
  2. Talk about coding in a serious way.  How does a project like this happen?  Someone at Google didn’t wake up one morning and write this.  It’s been an ongoing project now for over 10 years.  How do you ensure longevity?
    • Fully document things so that you can pass the project off to new coders
    • Draw and map out the logic behind the project.  It’s even a great activity to unpack what we see today.
    • Work in a team.  No one person could possibly have done all this.  How do teams get work done?
    • Planning – how do you plan for the future and add additional features
  3. Consider the user interface – now that the Santa Tracker is available on desktop or mobile application, how to you entice the user to get the most from the application?  How about accessibility?  Music?  Sound effects?  Colours?

Your ideas?

I’d love to hear your thoughts.  Will you use the Santa Tracker this December?  How will you use it?

Author: dougpete

The content of this blog is generated by whatever strikes my fancy at any given point. It might be computers, weather, political, or something else in nature. I experiment and comment a lot on things so don't take anything here too seriously; I might change my mind a day later but what you read is my thought and opinion at the time I wrote it! My personal website is at: http://www.dougpeterson.ca Follow me on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/dougpete I'm bookmarking things at: http://www.diigo.com/user/dougpete

4 thoughts on “Ho Ho Code”

  1. I’ll admit that I’m always reluctant to introduce Christmas too early to kids, especially Kindergarten ones. It really impacts on the calm environment in the classroom. Some kids will talk about the holidays anyway, but if we just leave it at their discussions instead of making it more than that, things go a lot smoother at school. We teach right up until almost Christmas this year, so we have lots of time to still explore the holidays.

    That said, this tracker does look interesting. I like the authentic use of numbers. A good way to explore counting back and number recognition (and even time). The coding activities I clicked on are cute, but may be more challenging than where our kids are at right now. I wonder if they’ll get to this level this month. We’ll see. For now, the advent calendar component and the clock component could provide some meaningful math options … maybe just a little closer to the Break! 🙂

    The Holiday Grinch 🙂

    P.S. I also don’t think that all of our students celebrate Christmas, so I want to be respectful of that, and also learn about different celebrations this holiday season.

  2. One of the links in the educational part is to learn about different celebrations. I can understand wishing to delay the “Holiday High” for a while. It will come eventually.

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