Monthly Archives: May 2016

Last month, as many as 500 people died by drowning. Listen in to NPR.

This is a life-and-death effort. As kids learn to swim, they learn to save lives. The first life they save is their own. In due time, as the youngsters grow, we produce lifeguards and get certifications and jobs. This service to others is a responsibility worth the efforts of opening the swim pools and teaching.

Lifeguards are on missions now around the world, and in our communities, to assist with your safety and to help avoid bitter tragedies.

LiveCode graphic

Our teacher taught these teachers who are now authoring educational software in LiveCode


Four women
These women are teachers who also code and make educational software with LiveCode. They were taught in a multi-week seminar by Pittsburgh educator and contributor, Claire Bradin Siskin.

The four teachers in the photo from Bangladesh had just giving a report about the LiveCode project that began with the help of a Pittsburgh-based instructor, Claire. Bangladesh. World-wide relationships have been forged and the work continues to proceed online. Rewarding. Thank goodness for teachers everywhere, especially the generous ones in the LiveCode Community.

Part of the letter of support Claire delivered for

support-letter-snip-from_Claire.jpg.pdf - Adobe Acrobat Reader DC 582016 11124 PM.bmp
Snip from a letter of support.

The app with Bangladesh roots was previewed in May 2016’s conference in Baltimore called TESOL. Stay tuned for its widespread release in the weeks to come.

To learn more on their past work and follow along on their progress, see

IHMC, makers and managers of C-Maps, the concept mapping software

Concept map about concept maps
Click concept map for a larger view. Use your browser’s back button to return.

Cmaps is the title of a suite of software tools that can be used on many platforms that creates concept maps. The Cmaps program, with open source flavors, is operated by IHMC of Florida.

The IHMC Story

A professor who pioneered and championed concept mapping is Joseph D. Novak, formerly from Cornell. He shifted the work with concept maps to IHMC.


A letter of support for from IHMC has arrived.

Cry me a river. Bridge to nowhere. Sprout Fund picks the other guys for local funding. Nice to see two other agencies with efforts get selected, Sarah Heinz House and Venture Outdoors.
—- snip —-

Friday, April 29, 2016

RE: Decision on your Remake Learning Badge-enabled Playlists & Pathways proposal

Dear Mark Rauterkus:

Thank you for your proposal to The Sprout Fund for the Remake Learning Badge-enabled Playlists & Pathways RFP.

Sprout received 32 applications for this opportunity and competition for funding was very strong. After careful consideration, The Sprout Fund has reached consensus on the 2016-17 Badge-enabled Playlists & Pathways grant recipients.

Although we regret that we are unable to give favorable consideration to your proposal, please join us in congratulating the 6 teams selected for support:

Architecture for Civic Engagement from Carnegie Mellon University School of Architecture with Architecture-Construction-Engineering (ACE), Assemble, Carnegie Museum of Art & Heinz Architectural Center, Fallingwater, and Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation. Playlists and badges will lead learners towards careers in architecture and foster a sense of civic responsibility.

CLP Pathways from the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh with Labs@CLP branches including Allegheny, East Liberty, and Brookline. Playlists and badges will formalize and expand connected learning opportunities including audio recording, video game design, digital camera skills, zinemaking, and sewing at new and existing Labs branches.

College Readiness from the Homewood Children’s Village with Homewood-Brushton YMCA, Higher Achievement, Operation Better Block, Junior Achievement, and Geneva College. Playlists and badges will reinforce the path to post-secondary success by laying out a clear route through high school and towards college or other post-secondary placements.

Introduction to Solidworks and Design from CMU Robotics Institute Girls of Steel with Sarah Heinz House, City Charter High School, and University of Pittsburgh Swanson School of Engineering. Playlists and badges will enable learners to design and fabricate robotics parts for competitions and collaborations.

Young Conservationist Connected Learning from Student Conservation Association with Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy, GTECH Strategies, and Venture Outdoors.Playlists and badges will provide knowledge, support, and connected activities to enhance and recognize students’ next-level commitments to conservation. 

Youth Leading Change from Duquesne University with Gwen’s Girls, The Restorative Justice Group, Sisters of eSTEAM, Power(ed) by Grace, and Amil Cook Media Services. Playlists and badges will support youth in producing stories of their experiences through media research, digital storytelling, audio production, photography, podcasting, activism, and self-esteem building.

These decisions were achieved through a diligent process of information-sharing and community-building support activities, meeting with applicants, reviewing drafts, staff research, and comparative analysis of complete proposals in a competitive process. In turn, we hope the process of preparing your proposal will be of continual value to you and your collaborating organizations should you choose to pursue digital badging of playlists and pathways in the future.

If you would like more information about how to stay involved with LRNG and connect your programs to this new learning platform, please email Content for the LRNG site is encouraged to be submitted by June 3 for learning experiences, playlists, and badges throughout this summer and the 2016-17 school year.

We appreciate your continued interest in The Sprout Fund’s programs and wish you the best of luck in all of your endeavors.


The Sprout Fund
5423 Penn Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15206
(412) 325-0646

Ref: Round 140, Application #2812

LiveCode slides the OpenSource into dot org and reaches version 8.0

See for the open source version of LiveCode.

See for the commercial version of LiveCode.

With, the open source version is used. Both versions do nearly the same things. The open source flavor costs $0 and it is with a GPL license so sharing of code is ideal.



The judges for the proposals seek compelling playlists of existing content. The crafting of new content is harder to budget, implement and design. Thankfully, plenty of existing content for LiveCode is available for our endeavors.

Source: LiveCode in Education

Free LiveCode Course Material

Course Materials – Age 14 to 16

Based on the Scottish National level 4 and covering the complete syllabus. These notes are editable in a variety of formats and suitable to be adapted as a general introduction to programming for students anywhere in the world within this age group. These course notes have generously been provided by Steven Whyte, Computing Studies teacher at Gracemount High School, Edinburgh.

Download Course Materials

Course Materials – Age 15 to 16

A more demanding course based on the Scottish National Level 5 and covering the complete syllabus. These notes are editable in a variety of formats and suitable to be adapted as a general introduction to programming for students anywhere in the world within this age group. These course notes have generously been provided by Steven Whyte, Computing Studies teacher at Gracemount High School, Edinburgh.

Download Course Materials

Course Materials – Age 15 to 18

A more demanding course based on the Scottish Higher syllabus and covering the complete syllabus. These notes are editable in a variety of formats and suitable to be adapted as a general introduction to programming for students anywhere in the world within this age group. These course notes have generously been provided by Steven Whyte, Computing Studies teacher at Gracemount High School, Edinburgh.

Download Course Materials

Course Materials – Age 18 +

A programming module taught over two semesters that introduces programming as a vital life skill to university students studying other disciplines (in this case humanities). This course is taught by Devin Asay at Brigham Young University and all the course content is available online.

Download Course Materials

Schools Using LiveCode

We are proud of the schools and universities throughout the world that use LiveCode, read about their experiences here:

LiveCode Stories

TeamUnify Videos

The TeamUnify platform is designed specifically for swimming, and delivers easy to use centralized business process optimization to thousands of swim teams. SwimOffice and our suite of seamlessly integrated products will help every swim team manage themselves FAR better. From our family of revolutionary mobile products called OnDeck, to running swim meets with our TouchPad meet management software, to raising more money than ever thought possible with TUMoney, and managing swim lessons with TULessons; TeamUnify continues to establish new standards for how swim teams will manage themselves more effectively with FAR less effort.

Playlist Organizer App and Ebook — Playlist Wizard

This open-source, LiveCode-built, four-quarter playlist wizard app is slated for release in the fall 2016. The cross-platform program is delivered on the Raspberry Pi 3 for participants. Download versions available too.

An ebook application is being prepared to display a playlist of the various XPs within the four quarters in the quest to getting Tech Captain digital badges.

The connected learning happens within each experience and also across the playlists among the quarters. Students get to do activities in quarter one, present; quarter two, play; quarter three, technology and quarter four, development.

Plenty of flexibility exists so that students can pick from a large suite of XPs, charting their own playlists. This four-window gadget, created in LiveCode, helps to organize the students efforts.

Tech_Captain_fall_2016 1
The draft image above of the feature badge for Tech Captains includes a time-stamp, Fall 2016. A version notation may not be in its final implementation. The badge outline is not displayed, so additional design tweaks are expected.

This mission and LRNG play well together

Both LRNG and aim to connect communities around shared goals. The over-arching goal is playing well with others. LRNG and play well together.

The design pillars of LRNG match well among the goals and quarters of

LRNG’s four design pillars: Craft Experiences, Gather Communities, Build the World, and Unlock Opportunities features four design pillars too within its playlist for the Tech Captains badge. The “pillars” are called “quarters.” Quarter One is Present. Quarter Two is Play. Quarter Three is Technology. Quarter Four is Development. Plenty of common ground exists.

The alignment of the pillars and quarters are slightly different, but the sequence of the pillars as well as quarters are not paramount.

LRNG Pillar #

Pillar Name

Quarter #


Quarter Name

Similarities for both LRNG & Play.CLOH


Craft Experiences


Play &
Get out,  Do things. Make experiences. Have fun.

Focus on passions of: sports, recreation, aquatics, outdoors, fitness.
Learners choose. Teamwork. Sportsmanship.


Gather Communities



Call to orientations.

Watch party, Not Just A Game (movie)

Provide opportunities to learn through relationships, introductions, orientation. Calls to meaningful interactions with diverse community of mentors and experts. Not Just a Game (film). Challenge youth to engage with code of conduct.
Build their own identity and wiki page.


Build the World



Use modern Tech for self-expression. Publish. Solve real world problems. Revise and improve code.


Unlock Opportunities



Experiences move to new opportunities. Connect to future career and learning paths. Imagine bigger concept maps of achievements.
Goal setting. Learn volition. College recruiting. On to lifeguards, instructors and Rookie Coaches Badges efforts consider “Why” first. “How” is informed by “Why.” The method and activities should be informed by the purpose.

The “Why” of the Tech Captains badges is obvious as dozens of high school students are hired and tossed into service as coaches, instructors, lifeguards and camp leaders for Swim & Water Polo Camps. In 2015, 40+ employees coached more than 200 students at 10 different pools. All workers are not equal contributors.


The best employees have been high school swimmers on the Obama varsity swim team. Other athletes, but not full-time swimmers, have been great workers too. Of course the varsity swimmers know the routines, expectations and drills of the head coach. Having played the games and understanding the rules matters. They know the communication style of the boss, can read emails and be responsible to their duties. The most valuable employees have been the ones with a prior relationships with the program leader, their fellow workers and the activities. The great days at camp come when varsity swimmers get in situations to perform and lead the younger students who are often in grades 3 to 7.

The worst employees can sometimes present more trouble than the worst campers. Setting bad examples from older kids and adults is the worst. This is more of a fear than reality, but no responsible program leader wants to be in charge of an squad of youngsters without a few capable hands with a positive influence.

Pittsburgh has a proven demand and the available facilities to train more than 2,000 youngsters in the summers. This All-City Sports Camp is an expansion of Swim & Water Polo Camp that includes other settings, sports and activities as assembled in the network of The city kids need more summer-time enrichment that isn’t in the classrooms and includes kids who might have proficient standardized test scores. Those Summer Dreamers invites only goes to disadvantaged kids with below basic test scores. Furthermore, Summer Dreamers occupies only three school sites, down from 12 in its earlier years.

The sticking points for growing sustainable programs capable of reaching thousands of kids are staff limitations and a lack of political will by certain individuals in high positions. The awarding of educational grants can help to sway the political will among some who prefer vacation days.

Swim & Water Polo staffers with Heather, super-star athlete, on a field-trip to compete in a road race Downtown.
Swim & Water Polo staffers with Heather, super-star athlete, on a field-trip to compete in a road race Downtown.

These staff limitations are skill limitations. With the Learn & Earn program, Pittsburgh has the employees. The youth job program employs 2,000 kids ages 14 to 21. The Eastside Neighborhood Employment Center manages more the 125 summer workers. The people are present. But, their on-the-job performances as capable staffers and sports coaches for youngsters gives doubt. Most of the kids at age 16 can’t swim themselves. So, it is not fair to expect them to teach swimming to 10 year old campers.

Our swimmers can swim and they do a great job teaching swimming. But, they are in the minority. Throughout the school year, about 40 kids are involved in the varsity swim teams, boys and girls. However, a staff of 100+ would be needed to lead campers by the thousands.

The pathway to to the Tech Captains badges can develop the skills, disposition and attitudes among the high school athletes so that they can later be productive members of a camp staff and help guide younger students. and the Tech Captains badge helps to gear up a large, robust, staff of youngsters that can one day be a positive influence for the proposed All-City Sports Camp. Getting this credential can unlock the opportunities of teaching, coaching and leading others. This isn’t the only game in town. Other staff positions are already being recruited for, filled and experienced throughout the community. Citiparks, the YMCA, Sarah Heinz House, Hosanna House, Pittsburgh Ultimate, Venture Outdoors, Big Leagues, First Tee of Pittsburgh and our Swim & Water Polo Camp hire camp instructors. The Bloomfield-Garfield Corporation and the NLA hires Reading Warriors.

Recruiting deks

In 2017 and beyond, it would be great if the individuals who have LRNG digital badges could take a merit-based bypass of the job lottery. Not all the kids get hired with the city’s youth job program called Learn & Earn. Those with digital badges should get hired first. That way, digital badges would unlock opportunities.

Every youngster in Pittsburgh could learn to swim and be a part of the sportsmanship and teamwork experiences of an All City Sports Camp after 400 participants have been trained in the process of playing well with others in the quest for Tech Captain digital badges. But there is more. Existing camp experiences are already offered in the community by many of the supporting agencies and institutions within the network. Those camps hire high school students. Every camp can benefit with more enhanced staff preparations with year-round XPs.

The Tech Captains digital badges help to tighten the circle of life. Consider the growth of a youngster who is a camper at age 10 and then becomes a motivated learner at age 13 and grows into a valued junior instructor in a camp at age 15 to then hooks up in a camp-coaching role at age 17.

For the high school students, fitting in the time for training, playing, competing,

Coach and camper
Coach and camper.

studying, resting, planning, socializing, learning, and instructing other youngsters is demanding work that can be made somewhat less burdensome with the hope of a pathway charted to meaningful badges from

Many of the young adults at age 19 are doing college internships.

The connected learning approach prioritizes experience over knowledge transfer, formation over facts. It centralizes the importance of community connections, real-world relevancy and digital technologies. The approach bridges connections between communities, content, and practitioners. When successful, it brings together learner’s passions, people, and paths.

Lifestyle Learning

The CEO of Collective Shift, Connie Yowell, the company formed to launch, wants to transform learning into a lifestyle.


Being active, fit, and an athlete is a lifestyle. Many of the “lifestyle sports” are included within the grant proposals of spring 2016. Swimming, water polo, golf, kayaking and ultimate are certainly lifestyle sports. These activities have a lot going on, plenty of “mojo,” much to emulate.

As we work together to make learning a lifestyle, let’s work within the lifestyle sports and insure that learning is included there, in obvious ways, so that plenty of others can join, follow-along, and embrace this lifestyle of learning. To create lifelong learning, use recreation.

Giving young people better tools in their preparation for life get universal agreement here. A robust suite of additional enrichment activities and experiences for better preparing youngsters is needed and welcomed.

Sadly, too many of the opportunities provided for inter-city kids are frail. Often, the institutional hurdles are high and frequent. Our swim team can’t have practices on Saturdays and Sundays. Go figure. The older kids can’t be fooled. Perpetual defeat is a buzz kill.

Let’s support the drive and desire for being dedicated, determined and disciplined. Athletes have those passions, especially when they’re improving, having fun and a sense of fairness comes within their competitive landscapes. Our kids should feel the support and then they rise to meet the challenges. We can compete with anyone, anywhere. We can help you become the best you can be and that means that some will be the best in the world. For everyone on the team in the community, that makes life exciting. That’s the fun lifestyle that trains minds and bodies.

High school kids who come to understand and trust the vision of Creating Literate Olympians Here can make it so. The mind leads and the body follows. They go together. The mind never leaves the body. The learning never stops. unifies mind and body and prevents the divorce between the two.


Learning, teaching and playing is for the young and not-so-young. The target market for is 13 to 24. Why stop at 24? The system of digital badges at champions lifelong learning for those who want to life a long life. Play unifies the young and not-so-young and prevents the divorce among the age groups. It is important to engage the kids, and everyone else.

Plenty of opportunities are within these plans that speak directly to the circle of life. In Pittsburgh, our co-ed masters water polo team generally beats the best high school boys team. It was an epic moral victory and lots of fun watching the high school boys tie the masters squad at the 2016 CMU tournament.

Masters squad at summer practice in Mt. Washington’s Citiparks Ream Pool, with a mix of ages. efforts make spaces and interesting challenges so that the seasoned 50-year-olds get to buck up with the youngsters in their prime in underwater hockey, speed golf, aquatic SKWIM, ultimate frisbee, pull-ups, goal-setting, sport-first-aid, computer animation and app development. Learning lifetime-and-lifestyle lessons goes beyond age 24. Health and wellness is not a guarantee for many in communities where violence, drug use and poverty are pervasive.

Good game, good game, good game. Rinse and repeat.
Good game, good game, good game. Rinse and repeat.

Some XPs, playlists, pathways and badges within are tagged #Lifelong_LRNG_Lifestyle when suited for inter-generational settings.

The Introduction’s “home base” can’t be confused with “home plate” nor “base camp.”


Our baseball friends have a different concept of being “home.” In baseball, one must summon sizable amounts of courage to step-up-to-the-plate at home. Getting to home as a base runner signals a long-trip around the diamond’s three other bases. Regardless of the illustration and baseball’s vocabulary, makes loud calls for great teams of people to step out of their comfort zones, to be present elsewhere, to be prepared by thinking ahead and to reflect, log and digitize their insights along their ways. Rinse and repeat.