This website will be used to update the readers of the progress my group and I are making on our research project. By the end of this school year, one should fully understand the steps and trials that went into the completion of this project.
I am currently a sophomore majoring in computer science at Kennesaw State University. I am extremely hard working, organized, and dependable. I recently completed an internship at Harris Corporation where I worked as an analyst for the PeopleSoft IT department. Furthermore, I have been involved in a couple other projects where I assisted in the development of a website. I am also the Public Relations officer for Honors College. For fun, I love to complete DIY projects as well as be active by hiking or playing volleyball. Ultimately, my philosophy is to work hard so that I can play harder.
My goal is to create something that will assist students with disabilities by enabling them to be able to learn how to read and write in an enjoyable, accessible, and fun way. I not only hope to gain more knowledge in the programming languages, but learn the steps it takes to create, execute, and present a project.
For the past couple of weeks we have been researching the Blocky Languages that already exist. The task this week was to start thinking about how we could evaluation these languages; analyzing their weakness and strengths so that when we start to create our project, we could be sure to improve on certain qualities. This task was very difficult for me because I never had to create a rubric. I think about the many assignments and how students are given rubrics to follow but to actually create one is a lot harder than you think. I started forming some ideas, but in the next couple weeks, we will try to actually make one.
Now we are in the process of creating a rubric that can be used to evaluate the existing Blocky Languages. Each group member gave their summary, and there were some great ideas made. We also decided the focus we wanted to take our project; I mentioned at a meeting that based off a research paper I read that children learn and thrive off of story telling, so my group decided that we will develop some story lines and those stories will be altered based off the mathematical problems the student completes. This will hopefully teach the students both math and reading.
We found a name for our Block langauge! It is called Hopper's fables in reference to the first women in computer science. It is so cute and perfect at the same time. This week I was looking at if there were any projects that already existed that were similiar to our idea, and I did not find anything which is quite reassuring and lets me know that we are really fulfilling a need. I think it smart to focus on basic education such as math and reading but still teaching the framework behind programming. We also started developing story lines that we can to create. I was talking to my friends, and they gave me a really great idea about a firefighter trying to save a fire, but now they want to monetarily compensated!
This week was extremely busy because we have a lot of things we are trying to accomplish. Everyone posted their storylines to the google document, and I found them really interested. One girl was making super hero characters that tied in computer science such as binary bots which I think is so smart to get students familiar with programming concepts. Also, we are still editing the abstract and working on finalizing the rubric. I am now trying to search papers that back the points we are going to be evaluating.
Things have really taken off. We are beginning to start setting up the Block language; we now have to start reading up on the language and finding out what commands we want to use. We are still finishing up the evaluation rubric where for select categories we each had to create descriptions of criteria we will use to evaluate the other Block languages.
This week was good. I volunteered to start coming up with Blockly commands we would want to use in the language. I think that since we are catering to elementary students, our language should be short and sweet. What I mean by that is I think we should use action words which typically coincide with there beginning vocabulary, but that still begs the question of what group of elementary students were are targeting because 1st grade is completely different from 5th grade. Also, we submitted an abstract to SIGCSE, and it got accepted, but the conference is fastly approaching. I hope we will be ready in time.
We are still learning the ends and outs of Blocky. I found a Blocky developer that allows you to use to Blocky to make actual blocks. I thought that was cool because it really helped me get accustomed to this language. We also want to start coming up with commands that we will need to make blocks of. This required us to singularly focus on a storyline which ended up being my grocery shopping storyline. Now we are trying to visualize what commands the game will need; it is actually a lot of fun, but it is hard because everyone has different ideas, and we have trouble explaining our ideas in a way that everyone can visualize what a person is talking about. We are working through it though and making progress.
This week has been dedicated to learning about the Blocky language and documentation. Even though Blocky is meant to be user friendly, the code used in order to make the Blocks is a little difficult. I am still working with it and trying to figure out all the functions that go along with it. I have been using that Blocky developer and YouTube videos in the mean time.
This week our meeting was delayed, but we were tasked with making a block that corresponds to our grocery storyline as well as a graphic. She thinks that the graphic is going to be the hardest part to make the whole game come together which I agree. My other group members may visually see the game in a different way than I do, so making everything look cohesive might be a little difficult.
We got our rubric back from being reviewed, and there are some edits that need to be made. It is imperative that we finalize this rubric. Most of the errors are redefining terms in a more specific way that make it rankable which makes since. I have taken the lead on working on the rubric while my other group members have started working on the poster for C-Day which is fastly approaching. I hope we can make all these deadlines.
This week was very successful. I was able to completely edit the rubric, and even though it took a lot of time, I feel like I have gained an even more in depth understanding of the topic. This will allow me to be able to effectively evaluate the other other Block programming languages once we start that process. Also, C-Day was a success; I really enjoyed discussing our project with others. It was very productive, and now I am very excited for SIGCSE because our project was accepted there too!! THe girls and I got together earlier this week and started creating blocks for our storyline. Hopefully, we are on track, but we are having a face to face meeting this week so I will find out there. Overall, it was a very productive week.
This week the big question is finding out the appropriate words that could be used as commands for our Block lanuage. Students in elementary learn key words whether it is for spelling testing or increasing their vocabulary. We added in our rubric that there is a need for determining appropriate terminology so that children are most successfully when operating our game. To start this process, we are writing all of the vocabulary words that are used in other Block languages. This will give us a sense of what words are being used in order to determine if we should use them or not. Our professor gave us a couple weeks to look into this, so I think it will be interesting to find out our results.
This week I focused on finding the keywords in Code.org Moana. I have been documenting every word that I see while playing the game. That includes block names, directions, and other words that help with the progession of the game. The goal is to find common words that are appropiate and frequently repeated that this game uses to convey to their audience a direct meaning. For example, I found in Code.org in the Moana game that blocks like Move Foward and Turn Right were repeated commands. Considering the age group that Code.org is advertising for, move forward and turn are very clear in meaning. Things like this will help us determine what words we should use in our game.
We have continued detailing the words of the software that is already out there. I found celebration words such as "Amazing", "Chee-Hoo", and "Well Done." This is important to know what types of words are used to express achievement to the user. We do not want the words to be too hard to understand that the user does not know that they are being rewarded or that they have completed the level, but we do not want them to be too easy. These words are given with exclamation points to also help the encouragment. I think that words like "Awesome" and "Great" are around the same level as the previous words that can be used.
I am still trying to figure out how to create the functionality for the add to cart block. I think the best way to store the items when they are put into a cart is by having an array. I remember in my Programming Principles class, we used JavaFx which allowed us to determine when a button on the keyboard or mouse was clicked to do some type of action, but I guess if the user is just placing the block on the screen, then that would not be necessary. However, that also makes me think about what visually is going to happen when something is added to the cart. Will the item be visually placed into the shopping cart? I have so many thoughts on how this game should go or what it could be, I do not know where to start.
So my graphic for the group was to create a grid that would be used as the maze for the grocery store. This was created in Sublime Text by just drawing lines that mapped out the grid which was not too bad. However, now I am considering how would the player interact with the grid. We should have blocks that move the player and then the location on the grid would reflect that. We also want to have the grocery items visually displayed on the grid so that when the user gets to that location, they are able to add that item to their cart. The game is definitely making progress which is great. A lot of work to come though.
Our weekly meetings are starting up again, and everyone is getting prepared with all the necessary things we are supposed to have done. I have looked at Alice, and I am having a hard time determining which words should be included in my list. Alice is not a user-friendly as code.org. It is hard to actually get to the game and just do the general navigation. Things will get done though. We have several conferences coming up that we want to be really prepared for.
We are officially going to be at the SIGSCE conference, and it is super exciting. We are all working really hard to get prepared. We have graphics and are working on adding the functionality to our blocks. Also, this week I focused on assembling all the keywords my group members found in their software. I am looking for common words, and we are going to do a test where we go to elementary schools and ask them what they think each word means. This will give us the basis on their interpretations of these words and allow us to determine the most appropriate words to use in our program.
Work accomplished: This week we were able to accomplish a lot. We have made additional progress to our graphics. Mine is a grid-like map that is supposed to represent the layout of the grocery store. Also, I was able to assemble all the terms, and make a document the listed the terms I thought we should use when surveying the elementary students. Goal: The goal is to start developing a product which will require us to program the functionality of the blocks as well as connect the graphics to produce the game. A short term goal is conducting research on the elementary students in order to determine what useful terms should be included in our game. Outcome: I learned that the block languages we evaluated are not as different in regards to their use of terms. Alice by far was the most intricate and hard to comprehend for me let alone an elementary student. However, common terms such as "move forward," "Turn right" (with a clockwise arrow expressing the direction) were frequently used in all the languages.
Work accomplished: This week we were given the task of providing an explanation of the importance of how each attribute in our rubric contributes to the success of the user in effectively learning the material. My particular my attributes were user control which focused on readibility and navigation through the software. Another attribute I focused on was the ability to apply applications of the game into their real world in other words their education progression. We want them to able to take the basic math skills they are learning in the game and be able to do well in the subject. The last attribute I focused on was the visual representation of status for the user in order to keep them updated on their progress. Goal: The goal for this week is to use the rubric that has already been established and verified and evaulate the existing Block programming languages. As a result, each language will be ranked by score, and we will be able to see the strengths and the weaknesses. Outcome: I learned that my particular attributes are very and are key to the success of the individual. A lot of effort is going to have to be put into our language in order to accomplish the same level or better when compared to the existing languages. Doing things such as keeping to a simple color scheme and being consise in our wording will also help.
Work accomplished: During the week, I focused on evaluating the code.org Moana and ALice based on the rubric we constructed in order to determine how applicable the software is for elementary students with disabilities. Code.org scored very well when compared to the rubric. Some things they did lack was user creativity, extrinsic rewards, and sharability. This was interesting to me because creativity and extrinsic rewards were ranked pretty high in terms of importance, yet code.org did not see the need include it in their software. On the other hand, Alice is extremely difficult for beginners and very few of the attributes are suitable for elementary students. Goal: The goal this week is to continue to get ready for SIGCSE namely working on the poster. We hope to add the updated information we were able to collect such as the rubric and evaluations. Also, another goal is to accomplish some success with actually coding the game. Outcome: I initially did not understand the purpose of drafting a rubric to evaluate the existing software, but I now see the importance. It provides a guide for how we want to execute our program and shows the importance of particular features.
Work accomplished: This week I went more indepth in evaluating code.org Moana and Alice. I organized the evaluations in a table format and gave an explanation of what evidence was displayed in the language that caused the program to get a certain score in a particular area. Alice is not in a game format; the language is just an open forum to code particular graphics which does not align with how we want our game to be. Therefore, Alice is not a good example to follow when we construct our game. Goal: The goal next week is to prepare for the SIGCSE conference. We still have to update the poster with the most recent information we were able to obtain. We also plan on trying to code the game layout and connect all the graphics into one layout. Outcome: Evaluating a software is very difficult. You have to analyze every part of the program, determine its purpose, then evaluate it based on the rubric. Alice had some good qualities but they were not aligned with our rubric.
Work accomplished: This week I organized the poster that we will be using at SIGCSE next week. Our overall goal and purpose of the program is the same, but we were able to add some graphics that we created as well as key points from our rubric instead of just talking the idea of buidling one. We created the game grid-like layout graphic and placed actaul ingredients for how to make a cake on it. We also have a grocery list graphic that will be used to update the user on their progress of completing the game. It is really cool because we are template that mirrors a block language and therefore gives a creative feel to the poster. Goal: The goal next week is successfully presenting at the SIGCSE conference. We leave Wedensday and return Saturday. I am super excited to go to Seattle, Washington, and I cannot wait to experience what the conference has to offer. Outcome: Constructing a poster is very interesting. You are trying to highlight the important points in your research while still making it appealing to the audience. I am still editing the poster and have to have it completed in a few days so we can print it.
Work accomplished: This week was very exciting. Monday and Tuesday and the previous week, I spent my time creating the poster of what we were going to be presenting at SIGSCE. Wednesday through Saturday was the actual trip, and it was a lot of fun. We attended luncheons and talks and met a lot of people. One panel of the talks that I found particularly interesting was over the topic of group assessment and pair programming that professors were testing in their computer science courses. As a student, I found the topic very interesting because there is always speculation that if students were able to work together on assignments, then the learning experience would be more beneficial. However, these results were not conclusive; some professors experienced worse or the same results from the students who were assessed individually. Even though, it did allow for greater efficiency and group building skills, I came to the conclusion that when students worked in groups throughout the course, they are ultimately spending less time on learning the topic because they have an extra hand which might not have led to such an increase in perforamce. Goal: The goal for this week is to refocus the project and actually getting some software coded. We met over the conference and decided that we want to focus on first graders in the 6 to 7 year old age range. We also want to direct more focus on enhancing reading skills by making the blocks more into a sentence structure rather than code. Outcome: The presentation went really well. We got a lot of feedback from professors who want to see the end result of our game. I am confident that we will be able to continue to make great progress in the upcoming weeks and actually have a product to present at the next conference.
Work accomplished: This week I was only focused on coding the langauge. I have started creating blocks that will be used for the breakfast scene. How the group envisions that scene working out is that the user will enter into the kitchen and have a choice between three food items of what they want to eat for breakfast. Once they choose a particular item, the screen will zoom into that item, and they will hear an eating sound meaning that the user is eating the meal. So far, I have been able to create the meal blocks. Goal: The goal is to be able to add sound and be able to change from a zoomed out background to a zoomed in background of whatever item the user chooses for their meal. Outcome: Getting use to Blockly has taken more time then expected. Also, becoming familiar with Github and altering the Blockly on it instead of my PC has posed some challenges as well. I think that is why it took me a while to make progress on the code, but now I am more familiar and hope to produce more content.
Work accomplished: This week I continued to work on makig blocks. I have taken a step back from working on the breakfast scene and have put more focus into the very beginning of the game where the user is choosing their character because my other group member finished the graphics for that scenario. Now I have actual graphics to work with. Goal: The goal is to continue making blocks and add functionality to them. Outcome: The more I accomplish with the project, the more I realize how difficult and intricate it really is. Every little detail has to be accounted for, and it can be difficult at times.
Work accomplished: I was able to accomplish a lot this week. I not only created the blocks from the beginning of the game, but I also was able to start developing the functionality and successfully edit the github account. That was a big accomplishment for me. My next step is setting up a way to execute the blocks on the workspace because the block is completely disconnected from the functionality. Goal: The goal is to continue making progress. I want to be able to upload backgrounds and able to navigate between them as the user uses certain blocks. Outcome: I am truly learning so much and accomplishing a lot. I think it would be best if we organized a list of things that would make developing the game a little bit easier such as list of neccessary blocks, what each block should do, backgrounds, etc. I think that would help the developing process.
Work accomplished: This week has been very productive. We had a very informative meeting which restructured the group and allowed us to map out a finish line. I have been creating blocks for different scenarios, but our mentor has asked me to map out the blocks we need so that that job can be divided among the other groups members. This method is also more organized and allows us to map the progress we make. So that is my current project, and I think I am the best person to do it because I have been really making progress in Blockly. Goal: This week's goal to map out every scenario and have the necessary blocks as well as their functionality illustrated for each block. Also, I am going to make revisions on my evaluations that I performed based on the rubric. I hope to edit it to a point that it can be easily included to the paper we are doing this summer. Outcome: This week was very productive because it reorganized the group and structured the project for the end of the semester and the summer. I am excited to see what we are going to accomplish.
Work accomplished: This week I was able to accomplish the task of mapping out the blocks that we will need for the scenario of the first day of school. There are six scenarios that the user will go through during the game. These include getting ready for school, going to class for the first time, going to lunch, going to recess, doing a class activity, and then going home. The game is not that intricate; most of the tasks include moving through the scenario to the right location, but there were still some blocks that catered to a particular scenario. When determining what the blocks will say, I tried to keep it short and simple. Goal: The goal this week is to complete the final report and consolidate all our work. Outcome: We have been able to accomplish a lot this semester so to document everything is going to be difficult. Even though we got the extension for our project, we still have to wrap up as if it ends this month.
Work accomplished: This week has been crazy. We worked extensively on the final report. Everyone had different sections; mine included writing about the evaluations of the rubric evaluations. We previously evaluated the block programming languages that already exists, and I had to write a concensus of all those evaluations. I also had to write up the blocks that we plan on using for the first day of school game. I have to analyze the English common core requirements in order to make sure the blocks are the best ones to use for first graders. Goal: The goal this week is to continue working on the game, creating blocks, and programming. Outcome: The final report really allowed me to see how much progress we have made. There is so much more work to do, and I know by the end of the summer, we will have a product that we will be proud of.
Work accomplsihed: This week I have worked on coding the program. I took a more intricate look at Code.org and tried to find ideas and methods to use for our game. The layout is very important, and one of my group members said she made progress on it. I am still working on blocks for the "getting ready for school" scene. Goal: The goal is to get the layout set up and have a way to test our blocks. Outcome: Github is still posing difficulties for the group. I found a YouTube video that clearly explains how to change the code on Github, and I think that should help the delay.
Work accomplished: There has been a lot of things that have gone on since we are now committing 40 hours to the project. My primary focus was to work on the layout so that there was a place to execute code and create a button that will allow us to test the functionality of our blocks. However, those goals are still a work in progress because this week, we reorganized the structure of the game and not only made changes to the blocks but also the graphics. As a result, I have to change all my blocks which is going to take some time. Goal: The goal is to continue to make progress on the layout and finding a way to test functionality. I found a source that has been very helpful on Youtube. I still have to edit all the blocks and formulate the functionality for them. Outcome: Reorganizing the structure of the game was very helpful; it made it easy to figure out everything one would need to know. A lot of efficiency should come from this reorganization.
Work accomplished: This week was a good. I was at a standstill when it came to making progress on coding, but with the help of my other group member, we were able to find the key error that was not letting anything happen. From there, the more code I accomplished, the more I had to research how to do it. The layout is better and buttons are able to execute the code, so now we can fully see if the block script is working. I also finished making the outlines for all my blocks. We each individually signed up to present at Grace Hopper, so I have been trying to find avenues to help with the finances of going on the trip. Goal: The goal this week is to continue making progress on blocks and actually coding the game. I also have to start thinking about how I am going to structure my poster because my two other group members are also doing a poster on this same research. Outcome: We have to start to make a lot more progress on the blocks but this is still a new learning curve. I am constantly researching how I am supposed to do a particular task which takes a lot of time. However, a lot of the blocks are repeative, so once I get it working for one block, it is easy to replicate.
Work accomplished: This week I almost completed all the breakfast blocks. These blocks include the user choosing a character that will be used throughout the duration of the game, the user choosing which food item he or she would like to eat for breakfast, and the user being able to have their character eat their meal. There are still some issues that we are going to have to work through such as keeping the background but still clearing out the items that do not correspond to the next executed block. For example, one of my blocks puts an apple on the table, but the next block is that same apple being eaten so the apple core appears, but the initial apple does not go away; it is still there next to the apple core. I imagine that my group members are also experiencing the same problem, so that is something we are going to have to collaborate on and research how to do. Goal: The goal for this week is to continue on to the next scene of the game, but first I would like to clean up the breakfast scene. I would like for the blocks to perform in a smooth transition and be able to be played. We are trying to schedule a time to have our language evaluated, and I think it would be good to have one completed scene. Outcome: There is a lot of researching that goes into making a game. A lot of small parts you do not realize when you are playing a game, and they are quite necessary for the success of the game. A lot of progress has been made though, and I hope to continue to make progress in the upcoming weeks.
Work accomplished: This week was very productive; I was able to start programming other scenes of the game. The way we divided up the blocks was not very efficient because we all have blocks from every scene rather than just giving each person an entire scene. We are still making a lot of progress though. I was able to figure out how to set the background for every scene which adds to the overall appeal of the game. I am currently researching how to get the blocks to execute in sequential order without having the remnants of one block leak over to the others. I did find this one solution, but it does not work if a block is not executed before it. Goal: The game is coming along so well. We hope to have Dr. Driver and Dr. Zimmer begin to look over it while we are still in the developing stages, so that they can provide feedback before the game is completed. I still have to finish up my blocks and continue to bring the game together. Outcome: Are ultimate goal is to have this game completed within the next 2 weeks so that we can begin testing it on students and make the necessary changes. We also want a publication from this work, so we are soon going to have to start drafting the paper. Time is flying by, but I am extremely proud of how much my group has been able to accomplish thus far.
Work accomplished: There was a lot of work that was accomplished on my end this week. I met with each of my group members and made a list of all the things that needed to be completed before July 6 which is just a relative deadline we would like to have the game done on. At first, I was overwhelmed on what needed to be done, but I have made tremendous progress. I currently only have 3 blocks left to complete as far as functionality, and those include animating the recess blocks. I also have been extensively researching how to make the blocks run one after another. Currently, every block works when it is the only block on the workspace and no block was executed before it. The end goal is to have a sequence of blocks being ran one after another without the previous blocks affecting the subsequent block. I think this is our only major delay. Goal: This week I plan to have all my blocks completed and still try to figure out how to get the interpreter working. I believe Dr. Driver will accompany one of our meetings to evaluate the progress of our game. Also, we are to start formulating the outline for the paper and continue to work on our posters for Grace Hopper. Outcome: Time is slowly slipping away, and I am working very hard to accomplish all the goals we set out to do. By far, figuring out this interpreter thing has been the biggest challenge, but I hope it does not hold up our progress.
Work accomplished: Yayyyyy!!!!! I finished all of my blocks. The functionality is not the best, but it still semi-works. We had a meeting this week, and we were able to update our advisor of our progress, and she was really impressed. Now, I am going to start the documentation as far as making the poster for Grace Hopper and writing the paper. This is not my favorite part, but I think it would be really productive to get our work documented. Goal: The goal is to end strong. I want to start working on my poster and writing the paper that we hope to submit to SIGCSE. Outcome: It feels really good to have acconplished so much. I did not realize we only had 3 weeks left for this project. One of my group members is going to test the game on students at Girls Inc. It is not an advanced game, but it looks really nice, so I do not know how that evaluatation would go.
Work accomplished: This summer has really gone by pretty fast. As the last weeks come up, we are working on wrapping up everything that we have started. I spent this entire week fixing the kinks in the game that prevented it from working in sequential order. Often times, the graphics from a previous block would show up on the next block and mess up the flow. To fix this, I had to figure out a way to remove the previous graphics and timeout functions. I also started on the remaining parts of the paper. We have a lot of the sections already filled out, but I have no doubt that it needs a lot of edits. That is probably going to be the primary focus of this week. Also, we are waiting for IRB to approve our request to test the game on girls from Girls Inc. When that approval comes in we will let students play the game and give them a survey about their experience. Goal: The goal for this week is to fix on last blocks that isn't working right on the game. After that, my focus will be on completing the final parts of the initial draft of the paper. I also plan on continuing to make progress on my poster for Grace Hopper. Outcome: We have accomplished a lot, but there is still a good bit to do. I do not consider myself the best technical writer, so these next weeks might be a struggle for me, but we will see how it goes.
Work accomplished: I was able to figure out how to fix the last error on the blocks that was messing up. Also, we got the IRB approval, so we were able to test the language on the girls at Girls Inc. The feedback we got was not the best; the students had a hard time navigating the game, and they also felt that it was boring. Even though this is not the best news for us, I appreciate their honest responses because it has allowed me to see what more we could do if we were to continue this project. On the other hand, I was also able to finish my portion of the paper; we plan on submitting it to Blocks N Beyond by next week, but we need to start editing the contents of the paper. Goal: The goal for this week is to continue to work on the paper. Also, I plan on making more progress on my poster for Grace Hopper. Outcome: We were all pretty bummed out when we heard the response the girls had on our game, but I feel like that is a part of research. Hopefully, we are able to get our work out there and help someone else who wants to build a game for students.
Work accomplished: This week was the last week of our project. We have came a long way. We have successfully submitted our paper to Blocks N Beyond. Even if we do not get accepted, we will get a lot of great feedback for our submission to SIGSCE. This project has went really well. Outcome: Our goal was to create a game for students and that is what we did. This experience has encouraged me to continue on in research.