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Coding VS Drag and Drop, a false dichotomy ?

Discussion in 'Computing and ICT' started by Richard_Finnigan, Apr 29, 2012.

  1. Last term I was developing some new Excel based VBA coding projects with my Year 6 groups and I was very much left with the impression that the least able group wasn't really benefitting which is rather worrying because most of our pupils are pretty bright.
    However today when I took the same bottom set Science group for an IT lesson they absolutely breezed through the start of an old drag and drop programming project using Flowol so actually the more demanding
    coding work that I was doing with them during the previous term seems to have done them a lot of good.
    So I think designing a curriculum that includes a great deal of programming could take the following form.
    Light drag and drop programing with lots of design and multimedia tasks so the pupils who are good at that work are not excluded by the new curriculum.
    Interspersed with pure programming projects that focus on coding with Logo being used with the younger pupils and an object orientated programming language being used with the older pupils.
     
  2. Idea gets my vote.
    Drag 'n' drop is often undervalued "not real programming", but it's also often overvalued too.
     
  3. Agreed.
    Those that are encouraging us to teach programming have no idea how difficult it is. I think it's on a par with quadratic equations and forces in physics and we definitely need light projects probably delivered through drag and drop applications that gradually build up competencies in a relaxed way as well as full on projects that try to achieve those learning goals.
    In fact there are a whole range of teaching strategies that we are going to need to use, I'm finding that I am basically using everything that I know how to use. Fine grained learning objectives, lots of recapping from previous projects, careful progression, no hands up during class discussions, annotating code as well as writing it and of course masses of differentiation.
    I think we should be discussing how we are going to teach this as well as what we are going to teach because those discussions will be useful to everyone regardless of the apps and programming languages that teachers have opted for.
     
  4. Absolutely agree, although it' a bit late for me to get into that right now. There is no right way to teach, but lots of strategies. Ultimately Computing is made up of theory and practical skills - as is any subject - and the tools that are right for teaching maths apply to large areas of computing, as do the tools used in teaching geography, art, science...


    Now there I disagree. I *am* one of those encouraging us to teach programming (as part of computing*). I'm a part of CAS who are encouraging us to teach programming (and also supporting us in teaching programming and lobbying for support from a variety of sources). amongst the many CAS people I have spoken to (teachers, teacher trainers, academics, industry leaders, parents, governors, etc, etc, etc...) I have never heard ANY of them say that teaching programming (or computing) is easy. That said, I don't believe it is beyond us. I don't think that teaching ICT, or geography, or art, or science, or maths, or... is easy. It's a different challenge is all.


    I was reminded tonight, that I'm hearing a lot of teachers who feel they are being forced into teaching something new that they weren't trained for. I have never been trained in Flash animation, video editing, image editing or even making a switchboard in Access. I've heard to learn these in order to be a better teacher. That doesn't make me some idealistic martyr, but it raises the point that being asked to learn something new and to teach something I didn't previously know is far from unprecedented.
     
  5. it1

    it1 New commenter

    I think the last point you made about not being trained for programming is a good one. I am feeling a little nervous about teaching programming but no more than I was when delivering relational databases for the first time!
    What we are seeing is many teachers who are experiencing a change of government for the first time and the impact which that has. The National Strategy deskilled ICT staff in a way by removing the need to plan, think, etc from our role. We were effectively all clones of each other! Now they want creativity and we've all forgot how to be that!
    I think the next few years will be interesting and if we keep the best bits of ICT and add some substance to the subject we may all remember why we chose this subject as our own in the first place.
     
  6. Anyone worried about this sort of thing needs to realise that in our subject(s) you are on a never ending learning path - its part of what will keep you refreshed in the subject and allow you to continually change and update pretty much everything you do. I should know, I've been teaching Computer Studies/Computing/IT ICT/et al for over 30 years now and I still learn lots of new things every day, and I don't care if I learn it from a student, a book, by experiment or whatever. Just do it and enjoy the journey as much as you can. As the old saying goes, I'm a jack of all trades & master of none, but I am versatile, adaptable and encourage students to be at least as good and preferably better.
    Oh, and anyone worth their salt will get better (and more comfotable) as they go along anyway, and if not should at least know where and how to ask for help. Lets face it, every one of us has asked for it here if nowhere else, and that is far, far better than t'olden days when forums were only for Romans and message boards were made of cork and t'internet wasn't even a word!
    Late night maudlin'/pontification over - just be self confident & get on with it!!

     
  7. Flowol Rocks - very underestimated
     

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