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Thread: Using MOTU toys to teach about Computer Science (trailer)

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2019

    Using MOTU toys to teach about Computer Science (trailer)

    Wow, after about two years of production I have finished my passion project, Computational Castle to YouTube and it is scheduled to premiere on Christmas Day at 6pm.

    I have had this crazy idea to educate people about Computational Thinking, but to also have a creative outlet around my ridiculous hobbies and interests.

    Such as, the over the top entertainment of pro-wrestling, showcasing my action figure collection, recreating 80s animation like He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, the slapstick of the Three Stooges, the childlike innocence and zaniness of Pee-Wee’s Playhouse and the sincere and kind heartedness of Mister Rogers Neighborhood - ALL ROLLED INTO ONE!

    That is me in a nutshell and now I am ready to share my art with the world. I wanted to make sure that I saw this art project to completion, and not another dusty novel or script sitting in my filing cabinet. I am extremely proud of the various pieces of art in the film, since most films outsource their work as a team (a director, an editor, a cameraman, a composer, special effects, etc.) - I wanted this to come straight from me.

    I also wanted this film to be an example of how Everyone Can Create - just like Apple’s iBook series I taught myself how to use various graphic design programs, did backwards design for classic animation techniques with modern video editing software and I even found out how to compose music. I wanted to have the opportunity to make a fun and creative film, but to also utilize how to educate others from my years in education.

    Some people may not be aware of this, but prior to my career in education, I was an independent filmmaker and a starving artist. I saw how hard it was to make my art, so I got into subbing to pay the bills which turned into an opportunity for a real and decent paying job. I was very fortunate to live in a state where I could take my Bachelors of Film and Animation and turn it into teaching art. Teaching art soon turned into teaching art with digital tools, like animation with Scratch, and then finally creating my class, Media Arts, where students solely created art by digital means. All during that time, I tried to infuse my art and creativity with what I was doing in the classroom.

    I had my students do weekly assignments in Code Academy and they made games in Gamestar Mechanic. Shortly after I left the classroom to become a digital integration specialist for my district, I heard more about more about coding in the classroom. I learned of concepts like programming and Computer Science in general. I can even remember the day the light bulb blew up for me when I saw Apple’s video about Everyone Can code, The video proposes that so many of our problems are solved by code - BUT what if everyone could code? How many problems could we solve? What if everyone just needed to know about the thinking behind it and how it can be applied towards any problem?
    I guess what really got me into understanding Computer Science was Apple’s Everyone Can Code iBook series The books lay out small lessons and you get to explore little puzzles and games in Swift Playgrounds. This is when I finally understood Computational Thinking, after exploring about a hundred puzzles, I began to look at all problems differently.

    I wanted to learn and absorb as much information that I could about this concept and field of study. I became an Apple Teacher with Swift Playgrounds, went through courses in Code.Org and Free Code Camp, put my own kids on coding tools/programs and read Computational Thinking and Coding for Every Student. I even got to participate in a Google Hangout with the books’ authors for one of our Edtech Task Force summer sessions.

    PHEW - so I guess that is the journey of that film. Searching for a creative outlet to be like other inspiring YouTube artists, but to teach others about this fascinating way to think via the skills and knowledge I had gained from instructional video production. Over the next two months, I am going to spend advertising the film and I would love everyone’s help with sharing, liking and commenting on my social media posts. I will probably continue my #ComputationalCastle Instagram story, which is always fun to fix up, showcase and write stories about my old He-Man action figures. I also plan to reveal another part of The Advertisement Opus, since I recently got a big bag of VHS tapes that need to be scoured for 80s commercials.

    Thank you everyone for supporting me. For encouraging me during this period in my life. It is really tough being a husband, father of three kids under six, hold down a full time job, a part time job as an adjunct professor AND all of the other duties in my day to day. To balance my personal life, my work life and artistic ambitions have been extremely difficult and taxing on me, but now I am glad it is over. I am just so happy to see this thing to the end and I looking forward to sharing it with the world for a live premiere with my family on Christmas Day at 6pm. So make sure to subscribe, like, comment on my upcoming social media posts to help spread the word about using computational thinking for problem solving in Computational Castle.

  2. #2
    Heroic Warrior Neophron's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Try to reach inside of me, try to drain my energy
    Let me show you just what I'm made of
    Simple curiosity trying to take a bite of me
    Let me show you just what I'm made of now...

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