No setup. No hassle. Just learning.


Ever want to learn how to code but never knew how to get started? Thanks to Code School LLC, you can start learning right now. With their free app, Code School, programming has never been so easy to pick up. Weather you are using a computer or a tablet, you can learn six programming languages just by watching videos and using the online simulations. The languages include Java Script, HTML/CSS, iOS, Git, Electives and Ruby.photoEach of these languages comes with videos that are downloaded into the app and also a variety of courses to get practice using the language. 

As part of the Help Desk, each student is responsible for creating an ILE or Independent Learning Endeavor.  For my ILE, I am learning Ruby on Rails. Code School has helped me begin to learn the language and allows me to test my skills periodically. The app’s clean and sleek set up allows users to easily navigate through each language and the included lessons.

So what are you waiting for? Here’s your opportunity to learn some of the top coding language and all it requires is 15 minutes.


Kristin in the lab with Rubies

Featured imageDebuting in 2004, Ruby on Rails has become one of the most powerful and popular tools for building dynamic web applications. Before this project, I have never coded in Ruby, but I was eager to start. After searching for tutorials, books and applications, I stumbled upon a book named RUBY ON RAILS TUTORIAL (3RD ED.)Learn Web Development with Rails by Michael Hartl. With this book, no prior knowledge of Ruby is needed, although it is recommended to have a background in HTML and prior programming experience. Walk-throughs on basic programs are described in thorough detail in chapters one and two.

While reading the intro, the author recommended to those that have never coded or necessarily seen Ruby first hand, to use the site Try Ruby and see how this language works. This application was created by Code School, an online teaching site.  In fifteen minutes I was able to learn the beginning of the basics and thoroughly enjoy doing so. A prompt screen was given along with directions on the side to explain what to input, what each input does, how to access the input l later on and what the input means. I look forward learning more about this language and being able to see what I am able to produce.

Ninjas in Training

GREENAlong with the four Help Desk students, there is also ten Digital Literature students in the classroom. One of the projects that these students were assigned was to become a certified Google Ninja. To become a Google Ninja, test on the different aspects of Google are to be taken. The level of difficulty increases as the belt level increases, similar to Karate. In order for the Dig Lit students to become certified, I worked alongside them. One of the major skill that was demonstrated was communication. In order to fully understand where the students were with knowledge of how well they know all the tools of Google, we had a discussion. After learning where they all stood, we began to take the tests. Realizing that there is more to Gmail than sending emails, I began to troubleshoot. The Google Ninja website offers video tutorials on how to use the different parts of each Google application. By the end, not only did the Digital Lit students become certified Google Ninjas, but our time management and collaborating skills were put to the test.

I Am NOT a Barbie Girl

Almost every little girl growing up was given a Barbie doll, whether it was a princess, an everyday, or a career doll,  society has influenced girls to strive to fit the model of a Barbie Doll. On November 14, Buzzfeed, a blog covering current topics in entertainment, technology, and “life” in general, released an article on a book published by Mattel called “Barbie: I can be a computer engineer”.  Thinking this book would be written in order to encourage young girls to become interested in a technology field, I was very disappointed to find that Barbie had no insight on what to do. The book starts out with Barbie and her sister Skipper sitting in the kitchen. Barbie is furiously typing away creating a game that allows a user to use a cute little robotic puppy to complete tasks. First of all, Barbie had to create a game that had a puppy in it because if it was anything else, it would not be girly. Secondly, Barbie is not actually writing the program that will make the game run, she is simply designing it, she will “need Steven and Brian’s help to turn it into a real game!” Upon showing Skipper the game, a virus appears crashing Barbie’s computer. But have no fear, Barbie has her flash drive on her necklace because she has to accessorize. Barbie goes to plug-in the flash drive to Skipper’s computer, transferring the virus to that computer as well. If Barbie knew anything about computers, she’d know that when she plugged in the flash drive to her computer , it would transfer onto the flash drive.

Skipper’s computer then crashes and she looses her work. Barbie promises that she will get both computers fixed when she goes to school. But before Barbie left, Skipper hits Barbie with a pillow, starting a pillow fight. Stereotype much? Having a pillow fight is clearly the right move in this situation. Barbie tells Skipper that she’ll bring their laptops to school so that she can fix them. Barbie is sitting after class and her two friends, who happen to be males, begin talking to her. Barbie explains her situation prompting Stephan to reply with “It will go faster if Brian and I help”. The amount of sexism behind that reply is unbearable. Barbie, as a woman, clearly can not fix the laptops herself.

The moment that Barbie hands over the laptops, Brian and Stephan instantly fix them as if it was as simple as pressing a key. Boys to the rescue!The following morning Barbie gives her sister her laptop and believes that it was her that fixed both laptops and not the boys. Following the return of the Skipper’s laptop, Barbie presents her cute puppy program to her teacher, who just so happens to be a woman. Barbie’s teacher is blown away by her work and gives her an A+ and even extra credit. Congrats Barbie, you’re clearly a computer engineer. Couldn’t write a program or fix two laptops but you drew a cute puppy and wore a cute top when you presented the game. So sure Barbie, you can be a “computer engineer”.

This coming January, I will have the honor to attend one of the most prestigious education conferences in the country. Along with my three other female classmates and my teacher we will be attending Educon in Philadelphia. Our conversation will be: Closing the Gender Gap in Innovation: Engaging Girls in STEM.

This is an amazing opportunity. Not only will it benefit me because it shows I am passionate about pursuing a technology related career, but I hope to inspire other girls to get involved in technology. There are not enough women in the field of technology. It is male dominated and in the 21st century it should not be that way.

As a girl in the technology field, I do realize that it is not always the easiest thing to be a part of. But that did not stop me. Over the past four years I have taken programming classes, been apart of the Burlington High School’s Help Desk, attended various technology conferences and even got the opportunity to tour the Google office located in Cambridge. Being a girl does not mean that I have to be just a house wife, I can be whatever I want. To all you girls out there that are interested in the technology field, do not be afraid to pursue your dream. Just because Barbie is not a computer engineer does not mean you can’t.

Tour of Innovation

Recently, over one hundred members from all of the country came to Burlington High School to see how the students use their iPad and technology in the classroom. The members of the Help Desk broke up into multiple small groups and led around seven members. My partner for the tour was the lovely Mira Medhi. Together, we started in the French room where the guests saw a number of students working on their iPads to do their assigned work. After the French room, the guests asked Mira and me what type of work the Help Desk students do, what our typical day consisted of and what it was like to be a part of our Help Desk. The guests seemed to be intrigued by our responses and wanted to see where all the action took place.

Upon entering our Help Desk rIMG_0420oom, they instantly could notice the Google themed coloring. After, the group went into an Italian room where presentations were being given. Mira and I discovered that one of the guests actually spoke Italian very well. Our next visit was to a Web Design class. In this class, all the kids were working on a Mac to create their projects. The guest spoke with the teacher, Keith Mistler, about their progress. The students use their iPads and a Mac every class to produce a final product. Sadly, we had to cut our time short with Web Design.

Overall the tour was an amazing experience that I am thankful to have been able to be a part of. After the tour, I met other members of the tour. They asked myself and other members of the Help Desk how we got involved in Help Desk. Usually, I am not one to enjoy speaking out loud, let alone to strangers, but because these guest were fully interested in what we had to say made the experience enjoyable.






Test Taking for the Future

It is the Twenty First century and teachers are still giving out hard copies of tests. Not that it is time consuming to make the test or quiz and then print them, but for small five question quizzes or surveys, it’s a waste of paper. A companyunnamed called Nolan Amy created a free app that could change test taking forever. Their app is called Plickers and with it, test taking will never be the same. The way the app works is using a scan card that represents up to four multiple choice answers. The teacher simply has each of the students sign into an account and hold up their cards up with the code that corresponds with the letter the students wish to enter.

This app can make classes become tech savvy with just one simple action. This app is easy to work through and use. Test taking can become fun and quicker with fast and instant results.

This app would be a new way test and quizzes are taken entirely. Stay tuned for a step by step tutorial on how to use this innovating app.


Confidence is Key

This past Thdownloadursday, members of the Help Desk team and I attended a technology conference known as MassCUE. The conference was held at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough Massachusetts and being my first time not only attending this event but also my first time going to Gillete Statium, I was blown away. Upon entering on a cold October day, we received our badges and complimentary badges and headed upstairs to find booths upon booths of different technology companies.Some of the companies include Hub Tech, VCE, Pearson, EPSON ,and many, many more.  we met with students from Reading High’s Help Desk. I was surprised to find out that none of them were seniors.

After chatting, it was time to go adventure. Cat, TJ, Mike, Mira, Dan and myself went back down to the main floor in hopes to find companies we knew and some we did not know. We first found BrainPOP, a company that we all were familiar with because we used it in elementary school and middle school. The people running the booth were so amazed about how excited we were to see BrainPOP there. Soon after, we found Canvas, a software created by Instructure. The two men talked to us not like we were children, but as if we were professionals. The entire atmosphere of the event was amazing. Everyone was there for the same reason, technology. IMG_9783

“A Programmer’s Best Friend”

Today there is 256 different programming languages. With the top three languages being Java, C then C++, three languages that most programmers know at least the names of, one that is not too commonly known goes by the name of Ruby or Ruby on ruby-53272f15396c2222cc0f9899fd13fb9f Rails. Created by Yukihiro “Matz” Matsumoto, I will learn and master this language in no time. Similar to C++, one of the languages that I already know, Ruby is object- oriented, meaning that every value used is an object. Ruby is a multi-paradigm programming language which means that it supports multiple programming styles.

If you are a programmer, you know that occasionally it can be painful to look at a screen and type, Matsumoto wanted to change that. He created this language for programmers to not only remain productive but also have fun while doing it. The number one website that was coded in Ruby is called Basecamp, an online collaboration tool, followed by Burlington High School’s favorite social media site, the reputable Twitter. Keep checking in to see updates on my progress with learning Ruby and eventually the final outcome of a fully functioning code.ss_101

Health Desk

This week, I was given the mission to find some apps that would be beneficial to Health and Physical Education Teachers. After some searching on the App Store and on the Google machine, I found three apps that would be very beneficial. The first app is by Demand Media, Incorporated, called My Plate Calorie Tracker. With this app, users can easily track what they eat and how much they should be eating based on their gender, age, weight, height and daily exercise. Compared to online calorie trackers, this app is easier to use and has a better set up. In Burlington, every sophomore does a project where they must record their food intact for a period of time. This app would make the project easier and more efficient  To add a food you have eaten, there is the option to either scan the bar code on the food package or search it and add the item to the list. Besides giving the amount of calories consumed, the daily fat, protein and carb intake ( in grams) is displayed on the page.


There comes a time in everyone’s life when they will be out into a situation when they need to help someone in need. In this situation, it is good to have First Aid by American Red Cross. This app gives training on how to help someone in an emergency. Some training available include allergic reactions, broken bones, burns, CPR, heart attack, hypothermia, poison consumption and many more. Step by step procedures, video tutorials are also included in the app in order to teach users proper technique in response. After going through all the training, test can be taken to receive certificates. (NOTE: just because you pass an in app test does not mean you are officially certified). This app would help students learn the steps of first aid in dangerous situations.

But before being able to help someone in need, you need to know what part of the body does what and where it is. With Spongelab Interactive’s app called Build A Body, users test their ability to know where each part of the body is located by building a body. Users build the digestion, respiration, skeletal, nervous, excretory, and circulatory system. With each system, facts are given about each part of the systems and what they do for the body. This interactive app would help students learn the functions of the body and how all different parts of the body interlock and interact with the other parts of the body to create a functioning human. Because this app is set up as a game, students can battle against each other to see who knows the body the best!