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Subject: Re: FLASH: A teacher replies to Cheri et al…
From: Tom Green
Date: Fri, 21 Jan 2000 14:10:04 GMT

Cheri Harder wrote:


butprobably not the time, nor the know-how of writing tutorials) I don't think

> I would know where to start.

Cheri: You start at the beginning. Step1- Open Flash.

> As a "geek" so to speak (and a poetic one at
> that) I have been studying "variables" and "While Loops" and Cursors and
> Case and If..then..else for 12 years. It would be difficult to know where
> to start in a tutorial. Do you start from "this is what a variable is" or
> do you assume they know some programming terminoligy?

Here's a little technique I use to get the student to understand a variable. I
tell the student a variable is simply a baggie that holds information. The
neat thing about it is that it can be given a name. Rather than get them
thinking tecchie, I usually use "ScumSuckingPig" as the name. This has become
so popular that the students usually work in a drawing of the class mascot- a
ScumSuckingPig. Quite effective. As an aside, when the college submitted its
application as an Authorized Macromedia Training Centre, we submitted a video
of me running a complex Director coding class. We hit a custom variable -
moveIt- and when I asked the class for another name, they said, in unison,
"Scum Sucking Pig". So somewhere at the mothership is an example of the

> How much do you assume? Nothing?

Yes. You can't go leaping into John's stuff, for instance, without a logical
progression. The first ActionScript command I teach is stop.Then I move into
the button actions to navigate. Then, step-by-step, I inch them closer to
John's preloader.

People learn by doing so each lesson has a unique project associated with it.
One of my groups had their first ActionScript class yesterday. We created a
simple Flash Movie that involved a spinning record that moved offscreen into
place. ( Importing .ai art, creating symbols, creating movie clips, using
motion tween) . A tone arm runs onto the stage. ( Creating a button with no
down state. Defining a hit area. Using Transform or the rotate tool). The logo
fades onto the page. ( Setting and tweening Alpha). The user is prompted to put
the tone arm onto the record. ( Enable Button Actions). And when the arm goes
on the record a sound plays. (Import a sound) When they roll off the sound
stops. As you can see the first step is Assemble the Assets but there are a
whack of fundamentals involved.

Now they code it. Put a Stop action in a keyframe on an Actions layer. Add a
label to a Frame. Open the instance of the the button and add Go to and Play
Actions using the labels. Add a Stop Sound Action and a Go To and Stop. And so

That one takes three hours to get through but the students have a pretty neat
example and a clearly documented step-by -step they can refer to.

> Then each and every tutorial would be a book and a half?

Not really. I have written handouts that are as small as five pages- tracing
variable valuables using the Message Window in Director- to 64 pages where the
student constructs a Space Invaders game using Object Oriented Programming. The
tonearm example is 12 pages with screen shots that is laid out in Pagemaker.
The key, is to have each lesson build upon the other.

> Action Script is not really a language, even. But it makes some use of some
> "basic" programming theory and we are learning daily how to adapt what it
> DOES do into what we NEED it to do. And there are "basic programming"
> tutorials all over the place.

You and a couple of others who waded into this (Tim Allen for one) are missing
the point of my post. I will continue developing my own stuff simply because
nothing exists. I am more concerned about those who aren't in my classes and
wonder "How do I code a simple rollover that calls a URL". These people are the
vast majority of Flash users. Read the posts. It is very clear where they are.
They will have to learn ActionScripting and aren't programmers. So where do
they pick it up in a manner that they can understand?

I am encouraged to see the mothership (Thanks Eric) has noticed this but there
are three places where they should be tried out before they are released. The
first is in a real live honest to God secondary and post secondary classroom .
The teacher will let you know, real fast, what works and what doesn't work and
why. The second would be to do some beta testing. Shoot samples out to people
on the list and ask them to walk through it and let you know what works and
what doesn't. The third is to get the guys writing these things to do it in
front of a class that is coming at the subject cold. You get enough "I don't
get its" and you quickly identify that maybe we have a problem here

> I've never been a teacher, and it very easy for me to get into the rut of
> assuming my listeners know what I'm talking about, when it is so much a part
> of my life that I can't imagine someone NOT knowing.

Cheri, you didn't "know" when you got into to programming.

> Teaching is easier for
> you, because that's what you do, and I'm sure you do it very well!!!

Thank you.

> Tutorials written for geeks by geeks helps us geeks and are appreciated very
> much (I don't know anybody who gets paid for writing them, maybe some do)
> but I think we're all still learning, yes?

Yep, but the vast majority of the learners aren't even close to your
competency. We sometimes forget this.

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  FLASH: Flash 4 Magic, Cheri Harder
  Re: FLASH: A teacher replies to Cheri et, julie
  Re: FLASH: A teacher replies to Cheri et, Cheri Harder

  FLASH: A teacher wonders why ActionScrip, Tom Green
  Re: FLASH: A teacher wonders why ActionS, Cheri Harder

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