First let me write this in French for all my students who have been sleeping in English class:

Antonin Fourneau vient de publier sur le site de l’école un tutoriel sur l’utilisation de Processing Mobile. Si vous voulez savoir comment (en français) passer de Processing à Processing Mobile, voici le pas-à-pas qu’il vous faut pour démarrer rapidement. [lien]

Antonin Fourneau, Processing Mobile tutorial

So, back to English. Antonin Fourneau has just published on the Atelier Hypermédia section of the school’s website a tutorial on how to use Processing Mobile (en français). If you speak English, it probably won’t help you all that much because similar things already exist on the Processing Mobile website, but we have our own way of doing tutorials, with lots of screenshots and a minimum of text. Unfortunately our screenshots will go out of date as operating systems get updated over the years and little details change on where to click and whatnot. But from the friendly mail I get, a lot of people apparently like our current tutorials.

But I’m above all thrilled that others are starting to participate in the writing of the actual on-line classes (now if we can only get current students to write some ;-). For one, the Atelier is designed as a collective space for sharing code and ideas on code, so from that point of view, it's great. But also I'm currently too overloaded to actually finish all the courses I had hoped to put on-line. I have in fact prepared several classes that we’ve already run through en locale — classes on webcams, Arduino programming, Wiimotes, lists, objects, just to name a few —, but it does take time to get the documents and code cleaned up enough so that a beginner can run through them error-free from the website.

Which brings me to the following short meditation on teaching...

Without the appropriate means, we’ve built up the Atelier Hypermédia over the years as a mini-lab and an extended network, following the idea that the participants would little by little take it over and reshape it. Current students are always asked to teach each other within the Atelier, which might sound like a strange method but it works. Why I insist so much on students immediately turning around and teaching other students is because the fastest way to learn something really well is to explain it to someone who doesn’t understand it yet. This requires a certain esprit de synthèse as they say here — i.e. you have to put all the pieces together correctly and understand their interrelations.

This can also be said of my position within the Atelier. While some suggest that I appear to master a lot of complex subjects, in fact it is quite the opposite : you are simply watching me learn these subjects in real-time. For me a teacher is a localization from which a student watches another learn. While it is true that I am developing a theoretical corpus within the Atelier and constantly falling back onto its lexicon as a sort of foundation, I am nevertheless always doing so at the limit of my knowledge and understanding. To those I who claim, « those who can do, those who can’t teach » I would respond : oh, you have no idea! I am in fact at my best when I don’t know what the hell I’m talking about!