My avatar across the web: a photo of my feet in grey-white socks and brown sandals.

Ben Babcock

3 Articles Tagged with “coding”

  1. Code fatigue and an amateur dilemma

    I believe this is what we call an impasse.

    My first forays online were in direct proportion to me learning how to code. I crafted my website in HTML, by hand, on GeoCities, for upwards of three years. Then I learned PHP, and MySQL, and from there the sky was the limit. For a long time, I loved coding for the web.

    This website is currently running a Frankensteined combination of frameworks. this blog is custom-built in Flask, a Python framework. You can learn more about this in a post I wrote back when I switched over to it from the previous software. The rest of the site sits on top of the PHP framework Symphony CMS (not to be confused with Symfony, another framework).

    I really like Symphony CMS. It does so much right, in my amateur’s opinion, as a framework, and it has an active and passionate community of developers. But I have two reasons I want to migrate my site away from it.

    Firstly, my interest in hacking in PHP has dropped to nearly zero over the past several years. The language itself is evolving at a healthy clip, although detractors would point…

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  2. What's the point of education?

    Last week The Globe and Mail ran an opinion piece calling for coding to become a mandatory subject in Canadian schools. I’m sympathetic to the idea, for I agree that computer literacy and an awareness of how the algorithms and programs that increasingly influence our lives is crucial to being an informed citizen. That being said, I disagree with almost all the points made in that article. More generally, as I continue to think about my own opinions of the state of education here in Ontario, particularly when it comes to math, I keep coming back to the question that heads this post.

    The entire article rests on a premise that Canadian kids are less prepared for jobs that involve coding because of its omission as a required subject. Frelix starts with a strong and confident statement:

    Parents have certain expectations when they send their children to school. They’ll learn to read, write, do math, maybe learn a second language, generally prepare for postsecondary education and build a foundation for entering the workforce. But most Canadian kids aren’t getting everything they’ll need for the working world that will await them upon graduation.

    This seems uncontroversial if you take as…

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  3. Modelling epidemics to learn about probability

    My major focus in my work at the Adult Education Centre has been adapting online courses for the Hybrid Learning Project. Basically, these are high school courses adult learners can complete online, but there is also an in-person tutorial component to them. I’ve been adapting the e-Learning Ontario MDM4U (Grade 12 Data Management) course. I’m almost done.

    I could write an entire post about this assignment and how I feel about it, but that’s for another time. Instead I want to share something cool I made for the course.

    When I hit the lesson on experimental probability, the assignment was basically, “Create an experiment and perform it ten or twenty times and then estimate the experimental probability.” Yeah. As if someone doing an online course would really do that.

    So I searched for some kind of interactive resource—and I found this NRICH activity on modelling epidemics. It’s a neat Flash applet that lets you adjust variables and then simulate an epidemic in a village. After each epidemic finishes, the simulator calculates the mean and standard deviation for a few different variables. The idea is that students should adjust one variable at a time and then hypothesize what effects this…

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About Me

I’m a 27-year-old math and English teacher back in Canada after two years teaching in England. In my free time, I read books! When I’m not reading, I’m writing, coding, or knitting.

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About this site

I started coding websites, in bad HTML on Geocities, in 2004 in a fit of whimsy. Since then I’ve learned PHP/MySQL, coded my own blog software, and rebuilt this site several times. With the exception of the blog, it’s currently running on the exquisite Symphony CMS. This website is hosted by HawkHost

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