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 became looking for a brand new project that could surely make my students think. don’t get me incorrect, ICT has its region however I felt like students were missing out via now 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 but 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 due to the fact 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 one of the GCSE programming initiatives and immediately became caught. on-line 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 quick found myself being tutored via the trouble fixing aspect of factors through Skype and e mail by using incredible laptop scientists @codeboom and @colinthemathmo. hassle solving is the essence of laptop science; the usage of a pc as a tool to solve actual world troubles. The most effective manner to get good at trouble solving is practice.

although when I returned to high school in September I nevertheless had the annual fear after six weeks off, I was actually pretty excited to get began. 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 in self belief by way of fixing rather easy issues, whereas the higher-capacity students came throughout something that they didn’t always get right first time. The hassle-solving training provided a great platform for differentiation by using undertaking and 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 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 what options the user chose. 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 answer.

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

 

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

obviously they need a start line, and educational websites or syntax guides will provide college students that. however, I am going to start getting college students considering hassle fixing sooner so that it will see programming as a tool for solving problems in preference to an 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 round 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 with a great platform to achieve this.

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