The Last Word(s)

An essay at the end of each magazine issue to talk about aspects of computer science and programming.

An Experiment in Distance Education

With a new school year on the horizon and COVID-19 still ever present, students and teachers alike have question about what the future holds.

December 2019 Last Words

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Open Source Common Core?

Some random thoughts from a parent about Common Core and the open source community and how they might work together.

Playgrounds for Programmers

Apple's new Swift programming language includes Playgrounds, an interactive space that continues a long line of innovations in the history of software development tools.

Are Video Games Bad for Kids?

I read recently 81% of 8 year old kids play video games. My thoughts on whether or not this is a problem and how we've worked with our kids who also love video games.

20 Things to Do with a Computer

Today programs like Scratch, Alice, Tynker, Hopscotch, Codea, and others let kids create things. But there is a key distinction to be made about how kids use computers at school and home.

The Panopticon

Governments have used technology to build a panopticon, single location to spy on citizens without their knowledge. Here are some of the issues we should debate.

Where to Begin to Teach Kids Programming and Computer Science?

How to teach kids programming and computer science is much more than learning to code. Most people will quit. Here are some ideas and links to help answer this question.

The Algorithm Beat

Increasingly online we are shown what others think we want to see, based on algorithms. That may or may not be a great thing. Journalists and editors should treat algorithms as yet another beat to cover.

Users + Makers

Electronics is an obscure corner of computing. Most people today might have no clue electronics is about building stuff with diagrams, parts, wires, and a solder gun. Some thoughts about what makes electronics important. And fun.

What is Design?

When I say the word design, what pops in your head? Visuals pop into my head: a clean web page design, an easy to figure out software application, a beautiful (or ugly but interesting) car. Professionally, however, the word design also makes me think of information design, code design, product design, and people who design […]

Imposters and Kids Who Can’t Code

Should everyone learn to code? An article by a student about the struggles of learning to code provides a glimpse into what everyone learning to code really means.

How I Built This Magazine

Since this issue is all about building small but useful things, my essay this month is about how this magazine is built. It’s a lot like the wonderful photo at the top of this piece: the adult in me knows to wear warm clothes and study the map I’ve brought along while the child in […]

Open Source Security For Schools and Students

The best way to ensure our children's school data is secure and private? Create open source standards for the software used to provide lessons and grades.

Life Without Digits

This issue is about the essence of computing, the binary numbers 0 and 1, where they came from and how they combine to create computing hardware and software. Here's a cautionary tale about getting kicked out of our digital world, by accident.

Random Hacks of Kindness, Junior Edition

Around the time I started work on this magazine, I attended an event that captured precisely the spirit, fun, and adventure I want the Help Kids Code magazine to capture in every issue.