typewith-me

How can you do real time, collaborative, computer science instruction easily?

I teach a Principles of Programming class. Today our objective was to understand the concept of states. The challenges had four states: state 0, state 1, state 2, state 3. The program was to make a small square move around a screen in a clockwise direction, hugging the edge of the window.

Because there were four students I assigned each one a single state and let them know they were responsible for "passing their section on" to the next programmer. So they individually worked on their own state, and then had to combine them.

Now, how to combine? Easy, the elegant website TypeWith.me. I gave the students the link to the site and they could each enter their own code with their contributions being highlighted in unique colors. What happened in a 60 minute period was a lengthy conversation on what states could be used for, a joint programming project, and joint debugging (the best part, where we fix our programming mistakes).

Watch the videos below to see what the programming looked like (played slightly faster than real time) and the resulting animation.

It was a beautiful way to collaborate all doable because of the TypeWith.me software.

p.s. the language we use is Processing, an open source, visual programming language, built on Java. The challenge problem is from Learning Processing, by Daniel Shiffman.

p.p.s one of my students exclaimed during class, "this is so much better than Google Docs!"

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