Microsoft Research Launches Code Hunt Game to Teach Programming

Another item for the “when I’m finished with my current to-do list” list. Instead of presenting you with a problem and comparing your solution to a set of fixed test cases, Code Hunt presents an empty slate and a set of constantly changing test cases. It thus teaches coding as a side consequence of solving a problem by matching inputs and outputs, Microsoft explains. Let’s be honest, learning certain aspects…

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Has life in the age of casual magic made moviegoers numb to the amazing?

This is one of the reasons I’ve become more interested in local theater. The dropped lines, unexpected blackouts, and last-minute casting replacements are what makes it so much more engaging to me than a slick professional production. Avatar left me completely numb… yes the visuals were stunning, but I feel much more connected to fantasy characters in a BBC-TV video production from the 1980s. We are living in an age…


Ethics of standardized testing

A blogger who had a much worse day than I did writes: Today I finished administering the sixth day of New York State Common Core assessments. I was a facilitator in a process that made my 10 year old students struggle,to the point of frustration, to complete yet another 90 minute test. I sat by as I watched my students attempt to answer questions today that were beyond their abilities.…


Video Resumes

I’m thinking of asking students in a media class next term to make a video resume. Zulic came across one applicant for a marketing job who had posted a three-minute YouTube video highlighting some of her prior work, along with her future ambitions. She got the job, beating out hundreds of others. Such video resumes will probably become more common, but for now, a well-made video seems sure to get…


Coding Sucks: Why a Job in Programming Is Absolute Hell

I enjoyed the essay, but the truths it imparts are hardly confined to the coding profession. Any specialized field that looks contained, ordered, and routinized from the outside is going to look more porous, chaotic, and ephemeral from the inside. What this programmer says about Good Code is also true of Good Teaching, or Good Writing, or Good Theater, or Good Parenting. This file is Good Code. It has sensible…

Robo Grader

Standardized-test robo-graders flunk

“According to professor of theory of knowledge Leon Trotsky, privacy is the most fundamental report of humankind. Radiation on advocates to an orator transmits gamma rays of parsimony to implode.’’ ANY NATIVE speaker over age 5 knows that the preceding sentences are incoherent babble. But a computer essay grader, like the one Massachusetts may use as part of its new public school tests, thinks it is exceptionally good prose. –Standardized-test…


Dear organization from my past that just sent me a scolding email…

Dear organization from my past that just sent me a scolding email for missing an “important deadline” for making your job easier: How nice that you have “arranged a deadline extension” for me so that I can “finalize this important… project by verifying [my] data.”  Perhaps this is all a “critical concern” to you, but in the time it could have taken me to call your toll-free number, I have instead…

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#MyNYPD Hashtag Promptly Hijacked

Someone is regretting this PR move. The official @NYPDnews Twitter account made an attempt at social media outreach today only to get promptly torn to shreds by users resisting the PR push. Hijacked hashtags are a common Twitter phenomenon, but tend to be played more for giggles (“trolling,” some call it) than to make a coherent political statement. With #myNYPD, however, a harsh pattern emerged right away. –NYMag