Having finished as much of the Coding Dojo coursework as I’m going to do, it’s time for me to work on my final project, and this final week (week 9) is officially “project week.”  My project is going to be a place where elementary math students can draw out solutions to math problems.  The idea highlights the importance of individuality since each student’s thinking to solve a problem may be very different, creativity in students expressing their thinking using drawing, and problem solving in that the drawing forces the students to explain their thinking (visually) with the focus being on understanding how they get to the answer vs. just the answer itself.  This might be especially good for students who aren’t as strong at expressing their ideas verbally or in writing, and this provides the opportunity to combine math with art in a sense.

So I’m building off of the drawing app that I already made during our first project week (week 6) and am working on providing the structure for the rest of it in Rails.  However, it has been a frustrating few days programming-wise!  I keep getting stuck on things that take hours to figure out.  So I’m making progress but very slowly!

I built the basic structure in Rails and integrated the drawing app that I already created, and one major challenge right away involved figuring out how to save the drawing as an image.  I got stuck for hours where I thought I was doing everything correctly but the image data was not saving.  In the end it turned out that the jQuery Mobile library I was using for the touchscreen also forces forms to submit with Ajax and that was causing a problem with saving the images – so once I disabled Ajax for the form submissions everything worked fine.  Many hours later…  :-)

Then I knew I would need to deploy the Rails app to Heroku even for Demo Day vs. just keeping it on my local server since I want it be live so it can work on the touchscreen and to be able to show that.  So I figured I should tackle that sooner rather than later to make sure everything worked correctly, so that turned out to be a major challenge unto itself.  We learned Rails with SQLite for the database which of course is not supported in Heroku so I had to figure out how to migrate to Postgres which had all sorts of challenges with installation and getting everything to work.  But I got it eventually – again many hours later…  :-)

And another major challenge that I haven’t yet figured out is my draggable clip art isn’t being saved to the image files because it’s not actually part of the canvas image.  Eventually I got it to work and save on the computer version but I haven’t gotten it to work on the touchscreen.

So I’ve made progress but it’s been slow.  I’m trying to keep it as simple as possible and aim to at least have something “finished” for Friday’s Demo Day even if it’s basic.  I’ll start with minimal features and can always add more later if I have time.  Luckily I still have a whole week and can devote myself pretty much entirely to the project, so hopefully I’ll end up with something decent for Friday!  I can’t believe I only have 1 week left of Coding Dojo.  It really has flown by!

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