alice in summerland

learning and teaching math in alice

Infinite recursion

These past two weeks have closely resembled an infinitely recursive method. If tutorial.notFinished, melissa.workOnTutorial. Else melissa.startNewTutorial. Repeat. (And repeat, repeat, repeat,…repeat).

I finished my multiplication table tutorial today. Just 30 pages, cha-ching! Excluding the good job slide and the 3 slides at the end with screenshots of the whole code, only 26!

Not much to say about my tutorial-making experience today. It’s become pretty mechanical now. I’ve pretty much memorized property, method, and function in Alice, where they are, where I can put them into the methods, what the drop-down menus will look like, etc., to the extent that I can write a Powerpoint slide with explicit instructions without even trying in Alice first.

Understanding the shuffle

Following up from yesterday when I tried to make a slide that would explain the shuffling, I did that in what I think was a clear way today, as you can see in the picture of the slide on the left. The first step of moving the green square into the temp spot represents how we keep a temporary object during a shuffle. Then the yellow square moves into the open spot, and then we can put the green square in the yellow’s former place. Sounds pretty simple to me, but I might have done a few more shuffles in my day than the youngins who will be doing this tutorial.

world.checkAnswer code

As I said, at the end of the tutorial I have a few slides that simply display the code so that the programmer can check to see if his answers are correct before playing the world. As you can see, this is way too small. It’s big enough to read on a Powerpoint slide, but would be completely invisible in 4-per-page PDF format. I’m not sure how to fix this because the lines are so wide; if I make the image any bigger than the ends are cut off. I’m going to look at past people’s Powerpoint and see how they resolved this issue.

Redesigned multiplying matrices visual

Once I finished my tutorial (yay!), I looked at my multiplying matrices program in hopes that I could start a tutorial for that soon. Not the case. Looking back on the code today, it looks absolutely horrendous. Variables everywhere, inefficiency galore–it’s a nightmare that needs to be rewritten. Additionally, the visuals were pretty bad, so that’s what I started on and made the numbers bigger and different colors so they were clearer and easier to click on.


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