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Coding Python in Middle School

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Description

How can you bridge the gap between teaching simpler visual programming tools and teaching more complicated textual programming tools? Julia Lamorelle’s answer is Python. Julia cofounded Kiwi Compute, a new education business that focuses on teaching middle school kids how to code in Python, a language widely used in academia and industry today. She talks about why Kiwi Compute has this education strategy and how it executes it, despite challenges in setting up a Python environment and attracting qualified teachers.

Our closing music is called “Katana” by Miros, used with permission, and you can find more tracks by Miros on SoundCloud, user mirossound.

Listen to the Engineering Word Of The Day podcast. Also check out the book and ebook Engineer’s Guide to Improv and Art Games by Pius Wong, on Amazon, Kindle, Apple iBooks, Barnes & Noble Nook, and other retailers.

Subscribe and find more podcast information at k12engineering.net. Support Pios Labs with regular donations on Patreon, or send one-time contributions by buying us coffee. Thanks to our donors and listeners for making the show possible. The K12 Engineering Education Podcast is a production of Pios Labs.

Transcript

Pius Wong  0:00 

This is the K12 Engineering Education Podcast for October 16th, 2017.

 

Pius Wong  0:12 

Can you program the game 20 Questions on the computer? My guest today told me about one of her middle school students who did. I'm Pius Wong, and for this episode I met with Julia Lamorelle at a coffee shop here in Austin, Texas. Julia is one of the cofounders of Kiwi Compute, a new education business based here in Austin that teaches kids how to program in Python, a major text-based programming language. Hear all about it next.

 

Pius Wong  0:43 

Thank you so much for being on the podcast today.

 

Julia Lamorelle  0:45 

Yeah, no problem. I'm excited to be here.

 

Pius Wong  0:48 

I'm excited to have you here. You've got a unique experience. I think you've started an education venture here in Austin, Texas. And I've met you before, in fact. I saw you do your business pitch here in Austin a few days ago. But I think a lot of people listening may not know who you are or what you do. Can you introduce yourself?

 

Julia Lamorelle  1:10 

Yeah. So my name is Julia Lamorelle. And I am the cofounder and CEO of Kiwi Compute. And basically what we do is, we work with middle schoolers and teach them Python, which is a programming language, backend. And, for me, it's really important to teach them to be competent learners. So teaching them through coding is really great because it builds their competence. They're excited to continue learning. And typically we partner with after-school programs. We go during the day to schools. We teach private lessons. And for me, I just want every kid to be exposed to coding in some capacity.

 

Pius Wong  1:45 

So you are business.

 

Julia Lamorelle  1:47 

Yes.

 

Pius Wong  1:47 

But you have an education focus.

 

Julia Lamorelle  1:49 

Yes.

 

Pius Wong  1:49 

Tell me about the target audience. Who are you serving?

 

Julia Lamorelle  1:54 

Sure. So I want every kid to learn to code, which means that it's from every background, every demographic. I think it's really important that kids that are in low-income areas learn to code, because, you know, for them, it gives them a way to determine their own path, because you can learn coding from anywhere. There are so many free tools out there that they can learn programming from their computer, at the library, at school, and then really determine their own path. They can go to ACC and continue learning. They can go --

 

Pius Wong  1:57 

Community college here.

 

Julia Lamorelle  2:08 

Yeah. So they can go to a community college and continue that learning. They can even go straight into a job if they're really good. And sometimes for kids, that's the best option, which I think is great to give them more choice.

 

Pius Wong  2:40 

What age group are you looking to serve?

 

Julia Lamorelle  2:43 

We work mostly with middle schoolers. I've gotten before feedback that that's a really interesting age to choose, and that middle schoolers can't learn to code. And that is so wrong.

 

Pius Wong  2:53 

People say that?

 

Julia Lamorelle  2:54 

They do, yeah. They're like, are you sure that they -- I mean, because we're teaching them how to write code. And so they're writing Python. And there's a lot of block coding out there, which is the drag-and-drop.

 

Pius Wong  3:06 

The pictorial or visual method.

 

Julia Lamorelle  3:08 

Yeah, so Scratch, Hour of Code. And those are really great tools to teach kids to code or get interested. But then they need to move on to actually writing code. And most people introduce that in high school, AP Computer Science and things like that. But the challenge with that is that middle schoolers -- That age is when kids lose interest in computer science. And so by the time they get to high school, half the people aren't even interested anymore. So you have to reach them at a younger age, get them excited, so that when they're in high school, they want to continue.

 

Pius Wong  3:43 

So when you were creating this business or this program, you saw that there was this gap. There's evidence for this.

 

Julia Lamorelle  3:49 

Yeah. Middle school is a really tough age, and very awkward. And they're very quirky and just -- it's a tough age, and so it's often overlooked. And so people either focus at a younger age or an older age. Middle school is often skipped a little bit.

 

Pius Wong  4:07 

Okay. And so you explained why computer science is important for everyone. You've explained why you're focusing on middle school. Then you also talked about how you teach specifically Python, which is that text-based, you said backend language. What's a backend language?

 

Julia Lamorelle  4:22 

So it's doing stuff. It's not just the colors and things. Okay. Yeah. And so you're teaching kids, Python, which helps control all of these inner workings of the program.

 

Julia Lamorelle  4:22 

So for these, to make it very simple, frontend is what you visually see on the computer, and then backend is what's running the actual website or program. Very basic.

 

Pius Wong  4:47 

Yeah. And just for reference, Python is used in Snapchat. It's used in YouTube. It's one of the top three languages that tech companies look for today. And we don't necessarily tell our kids that because I don't think they really care about getting a job right away at Dell or wherever. They're more focused on: Oh, Snapchat, that's really awesome. But for Python, we picked it because, syntax-wise, it's one of the easier languages to start with. A lot of the kids we work with don't really know how to type very well. And so you need to start with the most basic language possible. And you can do a lot of really cool stuff with Python pretty quickly. Like if you teach them the basics, you can do a lot with them. I've had kids build their own calculators and build really cool projects with Python after just a few weeks. And that's very empowering to them. But it's also challenging them, and there's different levels. So I can push them if they get it really quickly, and they can go off and build really cool things.

 

Pius Wong  5:51 

It sounds like even though Python might have a little bit simpler syntax, the complexity can be as difficult as you want it to be.

 

Julia Lamorelle  5:59 

Yeah. Exactly. And, you know, sometimes kids do get bogged down by the little things in programming. And so if you can start with a language that is little easier to understand, then you can add in more complexities over time. And the great thing with programming is that just like Spanish or Italian or French, when you know one, you can move to another fairly quickly because the concepts are similar. And so if they learn Python, they can move a lot more quickly to a frontend language or to a different language, if that's what they want to do.

 

Pius Wong  6:34 

Do you see that? Do you see some of the kids in your program being, Hey, I want to learn C++, or I want to learn JavaScript, or something like that?

 

Julia Lamorelle  6:41 

So I've worked with kids that have actually it's the other way around. So they started with a different language, and they came to Python. Or they came from Scratch or Hour of Code. And then Python is the first time they're writing a language. I've had some some girls that I've worked with in private lessons start asking, like, what's the best way to hack something? Like, oh my gosh, why are you asking? Yeah, we talked about what is a good hacker versus a bad hackers.

 

Pius Wong  7:13 

You're teaching computer literacy in a way.

 

Julia Lamorelle  7:15 

Yeah. It's good that they're asking those things because it means that they're curious, right? And middle schoolers are very curious. They want to know, like, what is it? What is that white hacker? And what does it mean to do this? And so I find that good that they want to pursue it more and are interested in looking things up on their own and googling things and solving problems. Great. That's really good.

 

Pius Wong  7:43 

Going back to Python, one of the things that I've noticed and I've heard from other people is that, yeah, it can be a little easier to program in it, but that setting it up in the first place could be difficult possibly. And what I mean by that is, for people who are may not have set up Python before, maybe they have to install a bunch of software, get some libraries going in there, start working in Unix commands or whatever.

 

Julia Lamorelle  8:09 

Yes.

 

Pius Wong  8:09 

How do you -- How does Kiwi Compute streamline that process of just getting the Python environment set up? And how could other schools streamline that process?

 

Julia Lamorelle  8:18 

That is a really great question. So when I teach private lessons, I walk through the setup with them. And it takes a little bit of time. But I think it's important to show them that and to have someone there to guide them through it. For our classes, though, we actually have an online browser that we use, so it runs Python online. And that way, you don't have to download anything, because what we found is, downloading Python, dealing with a text editor, it really confuses kids. And you have to teach them all these other pieces even run the code. And so we wanted to make it as easy for them as possible to just type code in, run it, and see what comes out. So we actually created -- If you go app.kiwicompute.com, you can run any code online and see it from any computer.

 

Pius Wong  9:08 

And that'll be up? I can put a link to that in this episode?

 

Julia Lamorelle  9:10 

Yup. It's up. It's also on our website as a tab. And so that really helps us, because kids can -- we can go into a nonprofit and be teaching, and kids can save their code and then just open it back up another class and not have to -- not necessarily be on the same computer, which is important because a lot of our kids don't even have a computer at home, or they're transitioning to different computers. And so that's actually how we kind of avoided that problem because it is a challenge.

 

Pius Wong  9:43 

I know that even the IT departments at school districts -- they have to deal with IP and doing things over a server if they have Chromebooks, but you're kind of bypassing this.

 

Julia Lamorelle  9:52 

Right.

 

Pius Wong  9:52 

Okay.

 

Julia Lamorelle  9:53 

Well, also with Chromebooks, you can't download anything. So that was another thing we had to work through. So if you can run it in the browser, it doesn't matter. And the other challeng is, say, we downloaded it at school, they wouldn't have it at home. And they would have to replicate the process. That's not going to work, really, either.

 

Pius Wong  10:12 

How's that going then? Does that work well?

 

Julia Lamorelle  10:15 

It does. Yeah, I do think that when you get to higher level programming, like classes and things like that, which is a programming term, I don't think the text editor can run that, or the online application can run that. But at that point, I mean, I'm hoping that by the time we get to that level, we can download it. Because I do think it's important to download Python and actually doing it like a programmer would do it. But there's a time and place for it. So maybe in our second level or third level, we actually walk through: Hey, this is what it would look like to download it. Here's when you have a problem. Here's different commands. Here's how you move through folders, things like that.

 

Pius Wong  10:57 

So for an adult teacher who may not know how to code in Python or set up Python, would you recommend a similar method? Learn how to code in Python first, before getting bogged down and installing the environments?

 

Julia Lamorelle  11:09 

Yeah, I think for teachers, it's a little easier. I mean, I have found that it can be overwhelming. There's so many pieces to it, and, you know, having to download it and figure out, like, what version of Python do I download? And where is that? And what does that look like?

 

Pius Wong  11:25 

It's more complicated than installing Arduino.

 

Julia Lamorelle  11:27 

Yeah. And if you don't have someone to ask, and then you start looking things up online, and you're like, I don't know what to do, and then you just kind of stop. So I would say to start with an editor that's online first. However, there are a lot of free tools out there that will walk you through it. So if you do want to do that, there are a lot.

 

Pius Wong  11:48 

What are some good resources that people can look for or that you use in your program?

 

Julia Lamorelle  11:53 

Learn Python the Hard Way is amazing.

 

Pius Wong  11:57 

It's already intimidating. I've never seen it.

 

Julia Lamorelle  11:59 

So it was free up until, I want to say, a month or two ago, but you can buy it and forever have it. I think it's like $10. And it walks you through lesson by lesson really spelled out. And he gives you -- he pushes you and challenges you to try different projects. He walks you through how to download Python, which version to do. You can even email him.

 

Pius Wong  12:26 

Just like an online class.

 

Julia Lamorelle  12:28 

Yes. It's not even a class. It's just self-learning. So like, Lesson One is print statements, and you walk through it, and then he has you write out code and see what it like does. Code Academy is good. It just depends on how much time you're willing to give to it. But I think if you give five or ten hours a week, you can you can get pretty far over time.

 

Pius Wong  12:56 

One of the biggest challenges that teachers face in engineering or in computer science in every subject is differentiation. When kids come into class at different starting levels, and you were saying that you teach kids that kind of have different starting levels of computer science, how do you deal with that?

 

Julia Lamorelle  13:15 

Yeah, so what we do is, we have about two teachers in every classroom, depending on the number of kids. And the reason being is we want to have a good teacher-student ratio, because we do have those students that are really advanced, or it takes a little bit of time to get whatever concept we're teaching. And so one teacher will be up front, walking through a lesson or discussing something with the class. And then another teacher will be walking around, chatting with kids, helping them catch up or challenging them. So we'll have in our lesson plans, we incorporate challenges for kids. So like, okay, so and so is really far ahead. We're going to see can they figure this piece out. That kind of allows us to reach that range of kids. We see that a lot.

 

Pius Wong  14:07 

I'm also thinking about marketing, essentially. There's two levels of marketing I'm thinking of. One is, there's that question of how do you get kids interested in your program or in coding in the first place?  And the second level is, you've already got these kids. How do you keep them engaged in a text-based programming course? So yeah, those are two questions. Maybe we'll tackle the first one. How do you get kids, or parents in this case, or their teachers interested in doing an after-school program or an in school program like this?

 

Julia Lamorelle  14:38 

We get different types of kids that come in. We get the kid that has been doing Scratch, code.org, or even has dabbled a little bit in actually programming. And their parents and the kids are looking for something new, and they're like, Okay, I'm ready to move on. Don't really know what to do. And so they come to us and say, Hey, Can you help us, you know, learn to actually write code? So we get that group of kids. But then we get a group of kids where their parents just know they're really smart. And they're really driven and they're really excited. But maybe sports aren't for them, or, you know, they just want something new for their kid. And so they put them in our program, and the kids usually warm up to it really quickly, because it's challenging for them. I mean, programming is problem-solving, and it's logic. And so kids that are like that, just really get it. So they might not have thought they would like it. But they end up really gravitating towards it.

 

Pius Wong  15:38 

So you're looking for problem-solvers, or kids who really would like or benefit from problem-solving.

 

Julia Lamorelle  15:44 

Yeah. But then we also have kids that are really creative. Over the summer, we worked with a group of kids, and all of them wanted to just create these stories with programming, which was really cool.

 

Pius Wong  15:55 

What does that mean? How did that turn out?

 

Julia Lamorelle  15:58 

They wanted to use print statements to talk about unicorns and this cupcake story. And it was great, though.

 

Pius Wong  16:07 

I want to read that story.

 

Julia Lamorelle  16:08 

If that's what you want to code, that's fine. You know, in our classes, we talk a lot about how coding is just -- I don't use this word -- but a vehicle for them to pursue their passions. So, you know, if you're interested in dance, or you're interested in volunteering with animals, use coding as a way to further that interest. It's just a tool. It's not the end. It's just the way to get to where you want to be.

 

Julia Lamorelle  16:20 

You're kind of answering the second part of that question that I posed. How do you keep kids engaged in the curriculum once you've already got them in the seats?

 

Julia Lamorelle  16:43 

So what I like to say is that games, like gamification -- so making programming really exciting, where you have like Scratch, that's what Scratch is, right? It's taking a character and using code to have them move. That's gamification. And that is really great to get kids interested. But at the end of the day, to move from that to being a developer, you have to find a middle ground. And so I think that's what we are. We basically say, okay, we know how to connect with middle schoolers, we know how to make programming relevant for them. And so us as teachers are going to connect with them and get them excited and do fun activities in class. But at the end of the day, we're actually coding. So they're writing lines of code in class, and doing projects that are exciting to them, so that they'll want to continue. So it's kind of bridging the gap and targeting that specific audience. Does that make sense?

 

Pius Wong  17:39 

I think so. It sounds like you're saying that you don't want to just give a cartoon reward or something every time they learn a concept,

 

Julia Lamorelle  17:48 

Right. Because, I mean --

 

Pius Wong  17:51 

That doesn't happen in Google, I'm sure. Not all the time. Maybe sometimes.

 

Julia Lamorelle  17:54 

Right. Maybe there. I mean, it's not the real world. And I don't want to be a reality check for them, and be  like, Oh, hey guys --

 

Pius Wong  18:02 

Go back to the hole, or something.

 

Julia Lamorelle  18:05 

But you know, I want it to be fun for them, but I still want to show them that you can code and do really cool things with just the code. You know, coding itself is really cool. And so we incorporate activities in class to make it fun for them. And our teachers are really fun too. And I think that adds a huge piece of it.

 

Pius Wong  18:23 

Your staff is probably a big resource for you.

 

Julia Lamorelle  18:26 

Yeah. And they do it professionally. I learned programming after college and taught myself. We have two teachers that are, like most of our teachers, are actually women, which I love.

 

Pius Wong  18:38 

Is that intentional?

 

Julia Lamorelle  18:39 

It's not, but I mean, I think it's really important to have -- I mean, a man and a woman teacher is important, because the kids will look to them as role models. But a lot of our teachers have really interesting careers. One of them was a game like a game developer. She created video games, and another is -- she taught herself way later in her career and completely pivoted, which I think is great. And I think kids should hear about that.

 

Pius Wong  19:08 

Okay, you're relying on people and personality, and not just gamification and those types of things. Is gamification a gimmick?

 

Julia Lamorelle  19:18 

I don't think it's necessarily a gimmick. I think there's the right time and place for its value. I mean, Scratch and code.org have been monumental in getting kids to code. You know, I've heard so many great stories of kids that started there and moved on to be programmers, and a lot of our kids started there, too, but then they need something else, right? They need a next step from there.

 

Pius Wong  19:45 

What is the next step after Python? If a teacher teaches Python, what would what would the student have to learn next? Do you just let them do whatever they want?

 

Julia Lamorelle  19:55 

So you mean in class?

 

Pius Wong  19:57 

In classes, or like when a student graduates, let's say, from your program and finishes it, how do you connect them to the next thing?

 

Julia Lamorelle  20:06 

Yeah. So, you know, we have different levels of Python. And we like to say that there are, you know, five or six core pieces of Python that we teach. And we don't cover all of them in the first semester. So that's the first piece, you usually dive deeper. But then we talk about how, Yeah, we've learned the five or six key pieces of Python, but then the hard part is actually figuring out how they work together, and how to use them as tools to build what you want. And so as we move forward, we challenge kids with projects that are harder, and seeing, Okay, well how can you make this program more efficient? Because there are so many ways to create a program. It's just: Can you do it in the best way possible? And so that's the part I really like, is saying, well, I don't know if that's the best way to do it. What do you think? And giving them the freedom to figure that out on their own.

 

Pius Wong  21:01 

So you could just keep on making it more advanced.

 

Julia Lamorelle  21:04 

Right. And I think having them work together on projects is really exciting, too, because that's how programming works in real life. Each person is responsible for different pieces of code or interacting in code together. And so I think that's cool, as well.

 

Pius Wong  21:21 

What other challenges do you face, or do you think you'll face, in running this program?

 

Julia Lamorelle  21:28 

I think one of the things that I just think in general is a challenge is schools. They want to bring programming into their school, into their curriculum, or even after school, but it can be expensive. It is hard to find quality teachers, because with programming teachers, they have to be teachers, educators, good communicators, but they also have to know programming, and that overlap is pretty hard to find. Because it's basically saying, Hey, you have to want to work with kids, you're probably going to take a massive pay cut. And that's hard to find. And so schools recognize that, and so how do they navigate that? And they also have a lot of pressure from districts for testing. I mean, there's so many pieces that are higher priority.

 

Pius Wong  22:28 

Do you think that's why more schools don't do what Kiwi Compute does in the school itself?

 

Julia Lamorelle  22:33 

I have seen a lot of high schools incorporating it, which is great. I see a lot more of AP Computer Science or a computer class where they touch on coding. So I'm seeing it more at the high school level, but I think in middle school, there's too many other factors that they have to -- testing or cost. So I think they're doing -- They're aware that they need to be bringing it in. But it's: How do they do that? So figuring out how to solve that problem and overcome these barriers. The nice thing is that for Kiwi, we ask our teachers to come for two to five hours a week. And so they're actually able to manage a job full time or part-time, while still teaching with Kiwi. So it allows them some balance. So a lot of our teachers, I mean, all of our teachers have full-time jobs in software development of some kind.

 

Pius Wong  23:32 

They're a part-time teacher.

 

Julia Lamorelle  23:34 

Exactly. Which I think is great, because then they can bring that experience to their Kiwi classes and talk about that. But to have a full-time teacher come in -- We were at a school, and we had a teacher come in 40 hours a week. They can't they can't work elsewhere. And so then that poses a challenge, and I know most schools I've talked to, that is the biggest challenge. Most schools I found that have programming in their middle school or high school, it's a teacher that was a teacher first. Typically, not always. I don't say always, but a teacher first that then learned programming, and then went to their school and said, Hey, we should teach this.

 

Pius Wong  24:15 

Does Kiwi Compute train teachers to do that? Or is that not what you do?

 

Julia Lamorelle  24:19 

So I would like to. I mean, we've talked to -- I was telling you about this. We talked about creating an application where teachers could use it and potentially get in front of -- have more teachers be comfortable teaching Python in their classes. Because I totally get it. It's overwhelming. Where do you start? What do you teach which language is best? How do you teach middle schoolers? You have to have a good understanding of the concepts before you can even teach it. And so if there's a way that we can make that easier for teachers, I'd love to get there. It's a huge goal of mine.

 

Pius Wong  24:55 

Plus I like your hints about that business model of getting part-time teachers and letting them do other things, because I know someone else who's in that boat, where they teach part-time engineering. And then they have their other job as well. And it seems like that's much more satisfying for this person.

 

Julia Lamorelle  25:11 

I've actually met a lot of programmers that want to teach kids. It's just not what they want to do full-time. You know, they're willing to, they want to teach, they love it, they're excited about it. And they either had a mentor growing up that did that for them, and they want to give back, or they wish they had a mentor, like two ends of the spectrum. So they want to be that person for someone else. And that's actually how Kiwi started. Marty and I, my cofounder and I, both did not learn in college. We both self-taught ourselves after college, and it really resonated with us. And so we're like, we want to give that opportunity to every kid.

 

Pius Wong  25:50 

That's neat.

 

Julia Lamorelle  25:51 

Yeah, it's been great.

 

Pius Wong  25:52 

Do you worry about if, in the ideal future, all schools do teach coding in middle school, is Kiwi Compute, going to be out of business, if that happens?

 

Julia Lamorelle  26:02 

I don't worry about it. That's my goal. Yeah, if we get to that point, I'd be happy. I would just pivot to something else. Because that would be -- I mean, that's what we're working towards. So, like, the more companies that do this, the better because then every kid will have a chance to code. So I'm totally fine with that. I don't care. I don't know. I'd be happy, if that were the case.

 

Pius Wong  26:27 

You can teach everyone how to do another programming language that nobody knows about.

 

Julia Lamorelle  26:31 

Or there's some new career that hasn't even come up yet.

 

Pius Wong  26:34 

Hasn't been invented yet.

 

Julia Lamorelle  26:35 

Yeah, exactly.

 

Pius Wong  26:35 

Artificial Intelligence or something.

 

Julia Lamorelle  26:38 

Yeah.

 

Pius Wong  26:39 

How do people find out more about you and about Kiwi Compute?

 

Julia Lamorelle  26:43 

Yeah, so I always love getting coffee with anyone, so if you ever want to learn more, you can always just email me at julia@kiwicompute.com. I love hearing people's thoughts, feedback. Just talk

 

Pius Wong  26:59 

We're in a coffee shop right now listening to strange background.

 

Julia Lamorelle  27:04 

But that, or you can also go to our website kiwicompute.com. We're always looking for partners, too, so if you're a school or nonprofit, I love working with nonprofits. It's my jam.

 

Pius Wong  27:16 

Yeah. What does that mean? Like you would teach at the nonprofit?

 

Julia Lamorelle  27:20 

Yeah, so we go to their program and partner with them. I think that's the best because they know their kids best. And so, we will go to them. And we pick a group of kids that we'll work with for ten to sixteen weeks, and work with them once a week and teach them Python.

 

Pius Wong  27:38 

Okay, you become part of whatever camp or whatever it is that they're already -- okay.

 

Julia Lamorelle  27:43 

Yeah, so we're like a portion of their program.

 

Pius Wong  27:45 

For a school, you're usually an after-school program?

 

Julia Lamorelle  27:48 

Yes, we've also done during the day. We'll be part of an elective or something where kids can have a taste of programming through us.

 

Pius Wong  27:58 

Thanks for those details. And so, Julia, I appreciate all those tips and tricks about teaching Python and CS in general to kids. I'm sure there's lots more we could talk about. So I hope to have you on again sometime.

 

Julia Lamorelle  28:12 

Awesome. Yeah. Thanks so much. This is great. Thanks.

 

Pius Wong  28:17 

Thanks again to Julia Lamorelle of Kiwi Compute for speaking.

 

Pius Wong  28:26 

Since recording our conversation, Kiwi Compute had some really good news. They went on to win a business pitch competition from the city of Austin called the Gigatex App competition, for that app Julia talked about where people could code in Python over a web browser. As part of their prize Kiwi Compute will receive $19,000 to help develop that app further. For notes and links related to this episode, including on Kiwi Compute's public Python coding app, you can visit this podcast's website, k12engineering.net. There you can also find transcripts for episodes. And to help me out, please leave a rating and review of this podcast on iTunes or Stitcher. Follow the Facebook page and Twitter handle. Finally, you can financially support this show by donating on patreon at www.patreon.com/pioslabs. That's patreon.com/pioslabs. Our closing music is called "Katana" by Miros, and you can find more music by Miros on Soundcloud under the username mirossound, or just check the show notes for a link. The K12 Engineering Education Podcast is a production of my independent Studio Pios Labs. Thanks for listening.

 

Pius Wong  30:00 

Howdy. It is Pius, and I have three post-show updates today. I know there weren't updates for a little while, and it was lacking, but now I got them. One is related to South by Southwest Edu. So as you already heard, if you've been listening to other episodes, I am going to be official press for South by Southwest Edu in March in 2018, barring any any extenuating circumstances, I'll knock on wood, but I should be there. And we're going to get news real soon on if our submissions to present are accepted or not. And so I can send you some news. Stay tuned on Twitter, on Facebook, or just listen to the next episode to figure out if we got accepted or not, and what we're going to do there.

 

Pius Wong  30:48 

The second update I want to tell you about is that I am working on a programming project. So I actually teach adults, some basic math to help them get their high school equivalency diplomas. And so as part of that, I wanted to create a tool for them and for other students to help them visualize number operations, like not just adding, subtraction, but also multiplying and division, squaring that kind of thing, negative numbers. Because oftentimes, yeah, you can memorize your times tables and whatever. But it might be hard to think about what those operations really mean to physical things. And I like using the analogy to money and debts and profit and stuff all the time. But there's more than that monetary way of thinking about numbers. So I'm hopefully going to create a tool to help people visualize positive and negative numbers and the operations on them soon, and I want to share it with listeners, Patreon supporters, all that kind of stuff. And so listen in if you want to be updated on that.

 

Pius Wong  31:57 

The third update I want to tell you about is, I recently looked up how to livestream over on Twitch and a little bit on YouTube and other platforms. But I've joined Twitch. It's that service that a lot of people use to stream gaming and video games live. But there's a trend for coders and programmers to show off their programming live, especially if they are doing open source projects. And so I'm thinking about doing that as well, just for my own learning. But also, when I create games and web apps and tools, I plan to demo them on Twitch, as well as on YouTube and other sources. And if you're a teacher, maybe you might consider doing some videos on Twitch. I think it's a cool idea. But that's all I wanted to tell you. I'm thinking about all these things, and please tune in next time.