Week 3: HarveyMuddX: CS002x Programming in Scratch, comes with a baby music keyboard

After a June hiatus, I’m back at working my way though HarveyMuddX: CS002x Programming in Scratch. Week 3 was devoted to variables and some specialized event controls.  For the most part it was easy for me because I’m familiar with the course material. But I enjoyed the review, which revolved around music notes and tempo. I think a new student would pick up the material quickly for two reasons – the concepts are weaved around immediate results students can get and the instructions are interwoven with short exercises.

As a student of computer science back in my undergrad days, one of my problems is that my coding exercises didn’t involve things that I found interesting. While I realize that eventually all programmers will have to write code that bores them, I don’t think that’s a good place to start. I think instructor Colleen Lewis is taking the right approach in offering tasks likely to appeal to a broad range of students. Hold our interest as we learn and review stuff, then we’ll have the skills to conquer the dull programming tasks ahead.

Or extend the cool stuff. One of the exercises was to build a very simple electronic music keyboard. You can find mine on the Scratch site. Right now it only plays four notes as that what was asked for in the Week 3 exercise. But I’ve already wired it to adjust volume and tempo. I also have a few ideas for changing the instrument being played, but I don’t have time to follow-up today. Mapping additional notes to keys will be dead easy.

But the point is, the exercises sparked my interest enough that I want to build on the exercise. I’d be more motivated if I read music, but I think expanding the keyboard will be fun. If not for me, perhaps for others.

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