Teaching computing for the first time: learning to code and getting started

It becomes round this time ultimate yr I began to worry a little. The newness of the summer holidays had started to wear off, and the worry started out to settle in. After more than one year of teaching ICT,…

It becomes round this time ultimate yr I began to worry a little. The newness of the summer holidays had started to wear off, and the worry started out to settle in. After more than one year of teaching ICT, I was getting a bit bored with churning out coursework and looking for a brand new project that could make my students think. Don’t get me incorrect, ICT has its region; however, I felt like students were missing out by not getting a mixture of pc science and ICT. So I came up with a plan to begin handing over computing from September 2012.


Having previously studied internet generation at university, taught ICT for almost four years, and being a chunk of a geek, I felt pretty relaxed in my challenge know-how for computing. Still, I was not feeling confident with my programming talents.

The first thing factor I did become sign up to Codeacademy – a domain wherein customers can analyze and educate code for free – and commenced running thru the Python sporting activities. I chose Python as my coding language of choice because it is pretty close to written English, and there have been plenty of assist materials online.

After some weeks of spending 30 to forty-five mins an afternoon operating thru the Python tutorials (little and frequently), I decided to strive for one of the GCSE programming initiatives and immediately became caught. Online educational websites are great for getting to know the syntax of a programming language but do not always train you to resolve problems. This is in which computational wondering comes in.

After a call for help on Twitter, I quickly found myself being tutored via the trouble fixing aspect of factors through Skype and email by using incredible laptop scientists @codeboom and @colinthemathmo. Hassle solving is the essence of laptop science, using a pc as a tool to solve actual-world troubles. The most effective manner to get good at trouble solving is practice.
Although I was actually pretty excited to get began when I returned to high school in September, I nevertheless had the annual fear after six weeks off. Coaching the trouble fixing and programming components of computing supplied a definitely interesting assessment to the ICT I had taught previously.

My decrease-capability students felt fulfillment faster and received self-belief by fixing rather easy issues. In contrast, the higher-capacity students came throughout something that they didn’t always get the right first time. The hassle-solving training provided a great platform for differentiation by using the undertaking. It changed into incredible to peer the students take a step again and actually consider the hassle and plan out an answer.

One of the responsibilities I set students to become to create a program, using Python, that takes two numbers, multiplies them together, after which prints the solution. At the higher stop, college students had to create a calculator that gave customers options and did different things depending on their options. Those issues were tailor-made to what we had protected in magnificence; topics together with variables, facts types, selection, and so forth. College students needed to layout an answer on paper, code it, and then compare their answers.

There were masses of instances when college students got caught (typically logic errors); however, I failed to know the solution on occasion. So I counseled them to do what I did once I failed to understand how to do something – use the internet. College students began becoming pretty proficient at looking blogs and forums, too, are searching for out the bit of code that would assist them.


In hindsight, I centered a little too much on college students learning the syntax of a particular coding language instead of embedding wider programming concepts, along with choice and iteration, something I’m going to exchange in my method for the upcoming school yr. I also found that scholars spoke back properly to the challenge of fixing troubles in preference to just following step-by-step guides.

Obviously, they need a start line, and educational websites or syntax guides will provide college students. However, I will start getting college students considering hassle fixing sooner to see programming as a tool for solving problems in preference to exercising that they must get right in any respect charges.

I am simply satisfied I determined to dive in on the deep give up with computing. I accept as true with the scholars have benefited from a good deal more difficult and engaging classes, which the challenge count number of computing has a tendency to lend itself to. With computer science all around us, it’s clean to make links to actual-world eventualities that students can relate to.

Above all, I want college students to be challenged in lessons and enjoy them, and that I think computing affords us a great platform to achieve this.

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