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