Wednesday, November 19, 2014

TouchDevelop on Student Devices

I have this sort of love/hate relationship with web based applications. I had reason for a bit of both today. I like to introduce students to programming using TouchDevelop which is a web app for most people although there is a really nice Windows Phone app for it as well.
Today, for some reason TouchDevelop would not load properly on the student computers in my lab. I'm not sure why as it loads fine for me on the same computers and it has worked fine in the past. I suspect a network glitch.
Regardless, about half the students pulled out personal laptops, tablets or cell phones and asked if they could use those. Sure, why not?  It was very cool seeing students work on the exercise on all different devices and having success. I think that some of the students enjoyed the experience more using their own devices than they would have on the computers. Sure the computer screens are larger and that makes things easier (for me at least) but this make the exercise more personal.
I may make that the default option (using personal devices) in the future. We’ll see how it goes.
FWIW the web app we created in class today can be found at

[Edit: Everything worked just fine the next day. A number of servers were rebooted and that seems to have cleared a number of network issues.]

1 comment:

Garth said...

None of my programming students use a lab any more. They are all using their own laptop or a laptop the school loans them long term. Of course there are some compatibility issues, especially with the student owned machines (weird settings) but that is part of the student learning experience (and adds to my gray hair). Having the students download software to their computers does require some time as does addressing the issues but it is well worth in for the kids. They get more involved with the learning experience and I get to throw in some system management stuff.