This summer, I am going to start to learn coding, specifically Processing. This is a development platform that allows you to write software to make images, animations and interactions. It was originally developed to make programming graphics easier than using other languages such as C++ and Java.
Now you might be asking my I am learning this language and what benefit it might have for the students I worked with. I have previously written about different natural user interfaces like the Microsoft Kinect and the software I have used with them – Visikord and Po-motion. These programmes are really good and I have seen some great engagement by students whilst using these. What is clear is the students love to explore the different aspects of the applications and the natural user interfaces allow the students to do things they simply could not do or access before. From discussions with colleagues at school, on Twitter (@trinityfieldsit) and looking at what Ceri Williams (@cerirwilliams) has been working on, this has prompted me to start learning to code so that I can develop different programmes that users can interact with using the Kinect. I am also interested in how different program's work and hope that by learning to code simple interactive graphics programmes, I will be able to gain a better understanding of how developers create apps and software.
By being able to develop our own applications, the hope is that we will be better placed to respond to the needs of our students and create exciting and engaging applications. It going to be a long process but if you are interested I would recommend the following books –
'Getting Started with Processing' – Casey Reas and Ben Fry – gives you a introduction to the Processing language and gives you practical examples to work with.
'Making Things See' – Greg Borenstein – a hands-on guide that takes you through the steps to create applications that uses the Microsoft Kinect in the Processing language.
I will post on the blog the progress I make on this project but in the meantime if you are interested in using the Kinect with SEN check out the Kinect in the Classroom page of my blog or look at the Kinect in SEN wiki which represents the work of the Personal Learning Community of @trinityfieldsit, @LittleAngelsSch, @cerirwilliams and myself. The idea of the wiki is to showcase the excellent work being done by those using the kinect in SEN.