Wednesday, December 9, 2015

A Coding Lesson from Khan Academy and a Christmas Poem

Have you heard of Khan Academy®? It is a free learning resource for people of all ages, offering on-line instruction on a huge variety of topics. The website is https://www.khanacademy.org and it is well worth taking a few moments to check it out.


Yesterday, I received an email about an "Hour of Code" opportunity offered by Khan Academy®, and I decided to take a peek. Before I knew it, I was deep into the "Hour of Webpages" tutorial, learning some basic HTML and CSS coding and having a really good time! One of the assignments was to write a poem, using the HTML skills that had just been taught.

I am not a poet. In fact, I think a poem of mine has only ever appeared on this website once, and it was really just a few rhyming lines.  The challenge of writing poetry was actually more daunting for me than trying to use computer code, but I wanted to complete the assignment. I took some inspiration from our recently decorated Christmas tree, and I gave it a try.

Christmas lights on a tree

I am sharing my little poem here, as an example of how easy it is to learn a bit of basic coding from Khan Academy® in just an hour or so.

Using my newly acquired skills, I was able to write text in several colors, make a title heading, and create line breaks. By googling "centering lines of text using CSS" (a skill not taught in this introductory lesson),  I even figured out how to format my poem to appear in the shape of a tree:

Tree Lights

Shiny
bright,
red & white.
Simple strands
placed happily there, by
several sets of willing hands.
Green strings full of pretty lights,
wound round fragrant pine boughs,
illuminate
the festive 
nights.

I should probably stick to writing prose, not poems, but I can now do so using a little computer jargon! I even learned how to include the photo of our tree in this post without using the Blogger "insert image" tool, but by actually writing the correct code.

Of course, on the Blogger platform I have always been able to do all of this without knowing how to code, just by using the available tools. But, I have learned that some understanding of computer coding can really be helpful - when something goes wrong, or when you just want to make some changes that are not otherwise possible.

I can't wait to see what else I can learn from Khan Academy®. Can you?

NOTE: All Khan Academy® content is available for free at www.khanacademy.org. I did not receive any compensation for mentioning their website, and all opinions expressed are entirely my own.

Have you ever taken a Khan Academy Course or visited their website?

This post may be linked to one of the great link-up parties I follow and list on my blog. Check them out!

14 comments :

  1. very cool! I love learning new techy things. Will have to check this out!

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    1. You and your kids would love Khan Academy, Deena! It is an amazing wealth of educational opportunities!

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  2. How fascinating. And well done you - both with your seasonal poem and your enhanced techy skills. I will explore that site later. Thank you. I can do a very few things in HTML and I have found them useful (italics, bold, inserting a link in comments).

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    1. Inserting a link in comments ?! I haven't figured out how to do that! There is just so much to learn!

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  3. Your tree is phenomenal, Susan!!!

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    1. Thanks Sally - phenomenal might be a bit of an exaggeration, but we are enjoying it! The trunk is really crooked, and it is leaning quite a bit to look straight. It is tied- but we hope it doesn't topple!

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  4. First of all, beautiful tree. Secondly, I love your poem! We use Khan academy all the time - there are so many things to be learned there. Great post!

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    1. Thanks Lana - Khan academy really is amazing, isn't it?!

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  5. OMG! That's hilarious because I've been doing the exact same thing on Code Academy(it's free as well). I'm going to send you an email later to catch up!

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    1. I will have to check out Code Academy as well Rena! Can't wait to see what you role out in the New Year!

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  6. Amazing! And I LOVE your poem! Going over to Khan Academy . . .

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    1. Thanks Diane. I bet some of your grandkids would benefit from having Khan Academy as a resource.

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  7. Damn impressive, I must say. Wow. Good on you. Thank you so much for the scoop on this. I'm going to check them out as the world of coding is pretty much a land of mystery for me.

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    1. What is impressive, Kelly, is how easy the instructions were to follow on Khan Academy to learn this little bit of coding. I am NOT the least bit technological, but even I could learn it from them!

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Many thanks to everyone who leaves a comment here!