I'm exhausted and can't really write this the way I want to right now, so I'm going to try and convince myself to come back and take another crack at this topic later but Tonight I was at my second night of a 3-night app developing workshop. We're using MIT's App Inventor 2. It's fun -- you take blocks and snap them together, and they work like phrases of code. You can adjust the variables in the blocks and you have a library of all possible functions, but it's impossible to screw up your code because you misspelled a command or forgot a bracket somewhere.
I was trying to build an app that delivered the RGB and hex codes for selected colors. At first I couldn't figure it out, so I googled it, and there was no obvious way to do it. Then I googled a little more, and found a plugin for it on GitHub. From that I surmised that there was no obvious way to do it in the system -- because why would someone write an add-on for a program that does something the program already does? But I couldn't figure out how to add that into the platform. So then I searched for other apps, found one that already did what I was trying to build, downloaded it, looked at its code, and pretty much copied it -- exhaustively checking and re-checking that I understood what I was copying every step of the way.
I still don't fully grasp the math, but I understand what's happening in all the chunks.
And it occurred to me while I was working that I had encountered several problems while I was coding, googled them, and found solutions. When I couldn't understand the solutions, I asked for help. But googling was always step 1, and it didn't always work but it always got me closer to the answer than I would have been if I'd asked right away. It was strange to me that so many of the other people in the class asked first, rather than googling. It seems like such an obvious, powerful tool: I'm sure the answer to every question I can think of about App Inventor is online somewhere. The only reason to ask the teacher anything is if I feel my grasp is weak enough that either I can't guess at the right search terms to find the solution, or I I can't follow the instructions without being walked through by someone watching what I was doing.
Eh, I don't like how this post sounds -- it's coming off to me as kind of condescending, and I hate the "I don't understand people who..." construction that this post implies. But I'm very tired and need to publish something.