Podcast episode 53 – A little off topic – January 26, 2013


Here we are again. Episode 53 and still going strong. This episode is sure to give you lots to talk about in the break room as delve into some familiar and new themes. Check out the agenda below and be sure to subscribe to us on iTunes

  1. BYOD and Printing, What You Should Be Doing
    1. Realistic timeframe for going nearly paperless
  2. Posterous – sniff, sniff, we’ll miss you
    1. It looks like Posterous is shutting down
    2. What I liked about it
    3. Other options
  3. Peter Thiel’s 20-Under-20 Fellowship – Article in TechCrunch
    1. Recipients will receive $100,000 for two years if they bypass college
    2. Is this the future of education?
    3. Is university as value as it used to be?
    4. Link to the foundation’s homepage
  4. Literacy, Coding, and Smarter Kids – TechCrunch
    1. Mitch Resnik’s (creator of Scratch and part of the Life Long Kindergarten Group) TED Talk
    2. Digital Natives is not a good term – they’re familiar but not fluent
    3. They need to be able to code
    4. Should we be teaching children to code along with reading and math in early childhood education?
  5. iOS app of the week – Powers of Minus Ten – Bone

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Blockly from Google – Better wait a bit


Blockly is basically a project developed by Google meant to help students learning the logic of programming (much like Scratch or App inventor ). I heard about from Freetech4teachers and was pretty excited to see how Google was going to inspire new and inexperienced programmers like myself. Richard Byrne suggest it might be a good introduction to if/then statements. I can’t disagree but there are better solutions out there. Well it wasn’t exactly what I had hoped.

I won’t be using Google-Blockly anytime soon because it is just too bare bones. It doesn’t offer the depth of features and options that Scratch does. That doesn’t mean that it won’t be better later on, just right now it is a new project and has a lot of growing to do. To get a sense of what it offers check out the images below. I’ll keep my eye on it but for now download Scratch if you’re looking for a visual programming language.


Here is a quick maze game that you can interact with. The goal is to program the person to get to their destination. Not a lot of choices to chose from. What I like about Scratch are the multitudes of ways you can solve problems through programming and the rich community and examples it offers. Blockly does not have this . . . yet.