So, I decided to give it a try. I downloaded it onto my Chromebook. Since Grasshopper is an Android application, the “other side” is loaded when I want use it. It’s not a problem. I can flip the screen back and use it as a tablet with touch or just launch it with the computer in laptop mode. More on this later.
I was pleased with the look, feel, and approach that it takes. Of course, I started at the very beginning.
and then I was off on the very visual path of learning.
This ol’ computer science teacher recognized the steps taken to get the learning rolling. Of course, you have to start with the basics and then move on. I found it interesting that the concept of arrays was introduced as early as it was but that was OK.
Like I do when I find applications like this, I found myself really running through it at full speed. So, I did slow down so that I could fully enjoy each of the steps and hopefully not miss something.
What would a computer science course be without the compulsory flip a coin problem!
Of course, I had the background so was able to move through fairly easily.
It was fun, nonetheless.
The resulting code is text and the approach is sort of a hybrid combination between text only and drag and drop coding. You’re given just enough tools at each step to get the job done. There wasn’t too much there to confuse the learning with extraneous options. For that, you’ll have to go to the next level or head over to the playground. But stick with things. You can complete the course and get referred to Coursera for next steps.
As it would happen, I had to take the car in for an oil change. I’m sitting in the waiting room and I know that they have free wireless. I decided that I would while away some time and continue to learn on my phone. Sadly, they had the Play store blocked but I decided to put the cost of a data download toward my learning. As I continued to work my way through things, this older woman came in for her service and looked over my shoulder. “Whatcha playing?” I explained what I was doing and the teacher came out in me. I don’t know how much she got but she could have moved to another seat so I’ll take it she was paying attention. Or too lazy to move!
In doing the tutorials, I found out something about myself. I think that every programmer brings baggage to a new language or new programming environment. In laptop mode, I hated that I couldn’t just use the keyboard for the coding. In tablet mode, I hated the fact that I had to use the keyboard for tapping some things. Well, maybe not “hate”. I guess there’s no pleasing some people. I think I enjoyed doing it in laptop mode better than tablet mode. That sort of flies in the face of the original goal which was to learn coding on the phone. But, now I have that option too!
So far, the tutorial is well locked down; I couldn’t skip over any of the lessons so I’m learning everything as we go along whether I need it or not. (and I’m OK with that)
If you’re looking for some new programming experience, download Grasshopper and give it a shot.