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Steve Kelly

What would an exceptional middle and high school computer science curriculum include? -... - 48 views

  • What would an exceptional middle and high school computer science curriculum include?
  • This isn't a complete answer, but one thing the very first introductory classes should require is that the students turn off all their electronic computers and actually learn to walk through  algorithms with a computer that exists only on paper. (Or, I suppose, a whiteboard or a simulator.) This exercise would give the students a grounding in what is going on inside the computer as a very low level.My first computer programming class in my Freshman year of high school was completely on paper. Although it was done because the school didn't have much money, it turned out to be very beneficial.Another class I had in high school, that wouldn't normally be lumped into a Computer Science curriculum but has been a boon to my career, was good old Typing 101.
  • If you followed the CS Unplugged curriculum your students would know more about CS than most CS grads:http://csunplugged.orgIt's a really great intro to basic computer science concepts and very easy for students to understand.  Best of all you don't even need a computer per student if your school doesn't have the budget,
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  • For younger students, I think that the ability to make something professional-looking, like a real grown-up would, is paramount.  Sadly, I think this means that LOGO and BASIC aren't much use any more*.
  • So, we have a few choices.  You can try to write phone apps that look just like real phone apps, design interactive websites that look just like real interactive websites, or do something with embedded systems / robotics.  Avoid the temptation to make these things into group projects; the main thing every student needs to experience is the process of writing code, running it, debugging it, and watching the machine react to every command.
  • It is important to consider what an 11 to 18-year old is familiar with in terms of mathematics and logical thinking. An average 11-year old is probably learning about fractions, simple cartesian geometry, the concept of units, and mathematical expressions. By 15, the average student will be taking algebra, and hopefully will have the all-important concept of variables under his/her belt. So much in CS is dependent on solid understanding that symbols and tokens can represent abstract concepts, values, or algorithms. Without it, it's still possible to teach CS, but it must be done in a very different way (see Scratch).
  • At this point, concepts such as variables, parenthesis matching, and functions (of the mathematical variety) are within easy reach. Concepts like parameter passing, strings and collections, and program flow should be teachable. More advanced concepts such as recursion, references and pointers, certain data structures, and big-O may be very difficult to teach without first going through some more foundational math.
  • I tend to agree strongly with those that believe a foundational education should inspire interest and enforce concepts and critical thinking over teaching any specific language, framework, system, or dogma.
  • The key is that the concepts in CS aren't just there for the hell of it. Everything was motivated by a real problem, and few things are more satisfying than fixing something you really want to work with a cool technique or concept you just learned.
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    Great resource for teachers (especially those of us not initially trained in Computer Science) about what should 'count' as Computer Science.  Worth the read!
Rachel Hinton

Preschoolers Practice Programming with Help from MIT -- Campus Technology - 17 views

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    Can four-year-olds be taught programming concepts? A research project at MIT is examining just that question. The researchers in MIT's Media Lab are creating a system that lets children aged four to eight control a robot by showing it stickers they've placed on laminated sheets of paper.
Martin Burrett

Twine - 43 views

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    A wonderful download which allows users to create interactive non-linear stories which allow the reader to make choices about how the plot unfolds.
Rachel Hinton

Why Software 'Containers' Won't Be Bad News for Programmers - 16 views

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    Are software makers writing themselves out of a good living? Recent trends in the computer business indicate we are about to see a phenomenal growth in computing power and the relative ease with which software can be created to utilize it.
Doug Henry

EarSketch - 45 views

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    EarSketch teaches computer science through music composition and remixing! No prior knowledge of either computer science or music is needed. See "More About EarSketch" below to learn more about the software. I'm a student, how do I get started? Access the latest version of EarSketch here.
Martin Burrett

Checkio - 47 views

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    A superb online game which takes learners through coding activities with Python. Complete the tasks to gain points to move to the next area. More suitable for older students.
Martin Burrett

The Doctor and the Dalek - 40 views

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    A wonderful Dr Who online game where players use basic coding ideas to complete levels. (UK Only)
anonymous

Hour of Code - 15 views

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    Hour of Code Dec 8-14 introduce coding to students. Program or be programmed.
Paul Clark

Student-Created Video Games Enter Science Class | MindShift - 39 views

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    " Globaloria, "
Roland Gesthuizen

BBC News - A computing revolution in schools - 56 views

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    "This is the week when a revolution begins to sweep through schools in England. It involves a whole new way of teaching children about computing - but I suspect many parents, and even some teachers, know very little about this important moment in education."
Deborah Baillesderr

ScratchJr - Home - 59 views

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    An iPad and junior version of the well know programming platform Scratch. The app has been designed for 5+ year olds and boosts simplified versions features of the more mature version. Children still snap programming blocks together to build amazingly creative things. http://ictmagic.wikispaces.com/ICT+%26+Web+Tools
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    Scratch for ages 5 to 7
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    "Coding is the new literacy! With ScratchJr, young children (ages 5-7) can program their own interactive stories and games. In the process, they learn to solve problems, design projects, and express themselves creatively on the computer."
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