Frequent Questions 
 

LAPTOPS:
 
We don't have a laptop.  Can my child still register for the class?
I will be teaching programming using MIT's Scratch which is only available for a PC, Mac or Chromebook computer.  It will not work on an iPad.   Your child will need a laptop to participate in a class at Hermosa.
 
One option is to borrow an old laptop from family or friends.  When people buy a new laptop, they often keep their old one but don't use it very often.
 
Another possibility is to buy your child a laptop.  If they are very interested in coding, you are going to want to invest in a laptop.  A new Windows laptop runs between $199 - $599.  Microcenter has some great deals for low-end laptops running ($179 to $259).  Any of these would easily run Scratch.
 
Can we use a PC (Windows) laptop, or does it need to be a Mac?
Windows and Mac laptops both run Scratch just fine, as will Chromebooks.  My own laptop is a PC.
 
 
My laptop is really old.  Can we use it?
Most older laptops will work just fine.  We will be using MIT's Scratch, which can be accessed online through a browser or installed on your laptop.  If you'd like to test how well it runs on your computer, just follow this link.  You may be prompted to download the latest version of Flash.
 
 
 
WHICH CLASS IS RIGHT FOR MY CHILD?
 
Is the Intro to Programming class going to be too easy for my child?
During this course we will build multiple projects designed to progressively introduce basic, intermediate and advanced concepts.  I have had great success teaching programming to students with little or no coding experience, but can also assure you that students with previous experience will learn a lot in this course.   
 
My child already knows Hopscotch.  Which class should she take?
Our Scratch 1: Intro to Programming class is the best choice.  While both Hopscotch and Scratch use a visual blockly programming language, Scratch is far more powerful, and we will move beyond what your child has accomplished with Hopscotch fairly quickly.
 
My child has already taken coding classes elsewhere.  Can he take your JavaScript class even if he is not in 7th grade?
Yes.  Your child may enroll directly into JavaScript 1 if they are already familiar with the programming logic taught in Scratch 1.  

 
My child took your Scratch class last summer.  Which class should he take?
Most children should enroll in ether Scratch 2 or JavaScript 1.  Younger students who haven't continued to program at home are free to retake Scratch 1 Intro to Programming.  Its better for students to be comfortable making their own programs before moving them on to more advanced classes.
 
Why not start with a scripted language like JavaScript?  Why Scratch?
Scratch is a visual programming language developed by MIT to teach programming without requiring students to learn syntax at the same time.  This enables students to focus on programming logic, problem solving and design that are common to all programming languages.  Many colleges use it for their Intro to Programming courses for just that purpose.  I have had great success teaching JavaScript to 4th and 5th grade students, but would rather teach kids how to create and solve problems with code first, and then teach a scripted language.
 
 
REGISTRATION:
 
Can my child enroll in multiple classes?
Yes.  Students may take several classes in sequence.  It's entirely possible to code all month.  Students who finish Scratch 1 Intro to Programming will have the option to continue onto Scratch 2 or proceed directly to JavaScript 1. 
 
 
Do we get a package discount for enrolling in multiple classes?
Yes.  When paying with Paypal, simply indicate how many classes you are registering for and you will receive $15 off each additional class for a savings of up to $45. 
 
 
 
Do you offer a sibling discount?
Yes.  You can save $15 off a sibling's registration.  When paying with Paypal, simply select the combined number of classes your children will be taking.  Please fill out a registration form for each student.
 
 
 
ABOUT THE TEACHER:
 
What is your teaching philosophy?
I believe the best way to teach kids to code is to show them how they can create their own games.  The joy of bringing their own creations to life is incredibly motivating!
 
I begin with  Scratch because it enables students to focus on programming logic, problem solving and design that are common to all programming languages.  Once they are comfortable creating their own games I transition them to JavaScript.  I chose JavaScript because it is a very popular language, it has many free online tutorials and resources, and can be used in Unity, a professional development environment. 
 
I use free online Learning Environments such as Scratch and Khan Academy so that kids can continue to code at home from any computer without having to purchase and install development software.  These Learning Environments also enable kids to share their creations and learn from others in an online community.
 
Once students are comfortable making their own JavaScript programs, I introduce them to C# and Unity.  Unity is a professional development environment used by big software companies and indie developers alike.  Once students are coding in Unity they will be developing a skill that is very much in demand in the job market.  They will also be able to publish their games on Ipads, Android phones, the Xbox, PlayStation as well as PC and Mac.
 
 
What is the best way to contact you?
Feel free to email me at: