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Computing, I've made a start, what now?

Discussion in 'Computing and ICT' started by ban year 9, May 22, 2012.

  1. Hello.

    Okay so I've made the plunge just before Christmas. Year 8 we always did a bit of flowol and also logo, ( with a Maths slant). I moved onto small basic this year ( no other reason than large buttons that my even more non specialist colleague cold easily see) and we are now working with large elements of success through JavaScript through the codecademy course..

    I want another year to get my skills up to speed, (I am one or two units ahead of my esteemed students :)) and then be in a position to start gcse computing.

    I am not a fool and can remember my speccy days like many others, it's just my education took a slightly different turn. I need some assistance from people who are teaching gcse computing as that's where the massive gaps in my knowledge reside.

    1) how far down the codecademy course should I take the students in preparation for the gcse? What are the key concepts of programming that students would need for

    I) a c grade
    II) an A grade

    2) is JavaScript suitable for the gcse or do I really need to go down the Python route?

    3) am I giving a really good grounding to the kids for a level if I introduce them to Pyton, JavaScript,and others? Or am I just muddying the waters?

    Any assistance anyone can offer without the "you shouldn't be doing it because you don't have the degree' comments will be gratefully received.

    Thank you in advance.
     
  2. Hello.

    Okay so I've made the plunge just before Christmas. Year 8 we always did a bit of flowol and also logo, ( with a Maths slant). I moved onto small basic this year ( no other reason than large buttons that my even more non specialist colleague cold easily see) and we are now working with large elements of success through JavaScript through the codecademy course..

    I want another year to get my skills up to speed, (I am one or two units ahead of my esteemed students :)) and then be in a position to start gcse computing.

    I am not a fool and can remember my speccy days like many others, it's just my education took a slightly different turn. I need some assistance from people who are teaching gcse computing as that's where the massive gaps in my knowledge reside.

    1) how far down the codecademy course should I take the students in preparation for the gcse? What are the key concepts of programming that students would need for

    I) a c grade
    II) an A grade

    2) is JavaScript suitable for the gcse or do I really need to go down the Python route?

    3) am I giving a really good grounding to the kids for a level if I introduce them to Pyton, JavaScript,and others? Or am I just muddying the waters?

    Any assistance anyone can offer without the "you shouldn't be doing it because you don't have the degree' comments will be gratefully received.

    Thank you in advance.
     
  3. See this thread, http://community.tes.co.uk/forums/t/575603.aspx



    Read the above, plus print off the specification for GCSE and a level computing. They break everything you need to know down for you.
     
  4. For OCR GCSE Computing the students need to be familiar with:

    • Declaration (e.g. int x;)

    • Assignment (e.g. x = 7 or x = x + 1)

    • Selection (e.g. if(x > 4) then...)

    • Iteration/loops (e.g. while (x > 4) then... or for (x from 1 to 4) then...)

    • Arrays (or lists in Python) (e.g. x[ ] = {1, 2, 3, 4}, x[2] = 2, x[3] = 3)

    • Reading in files

    • Writing to files

    • I also found Regular Expressions to be very helpful for validation - think input mask


    In terms of language - if you can do all those things in JS then you're on. I think that allowing students to look at 2 or 3 different programming environments is a nice then, but I also worry about muddying the waters. With my current Y11s we started with Scratch and moved on to Python, so only one syntax based language. The problem with that was that they insist on writing pseudocode / planning in Python and Python hides the need to use the correct data type.


    The investigation unit in OCR has several choices for the topic, one of which is JS, so you could start with that in Y10 and move on to Python / VB / Java / Delphi / whatever for Y11.
     
  5. autismuk

    autismuk New commenter

    You can't read and write files in Javascript. You don't have direct access to the file system (presuming here node.js just is going too far) because of the sandboxing. You can sort of read local files a bit using JSON ..... but not write them.
    However, you could write methods to access a virtual file system via PHP/Ajax, but it would be asynchronous.This is probably beyond Y11 who need a nice procedural open/read/close.


     
  6. I'd concur with everything said so far. There is no reason why you can't use JavaScript for the course. The biggest hurdle is writing to files. There is a way around this ( http://www.ezineasp.net/post/Javascript-FSO-textstream-File-Write-Method.aspx ) which would be unsuitable for real world use but is fine in the context of the projects.



    When looking at languages to teach in Python is worth investigating and in my personal opinion is a little more accessible than JavaScript. To be honest once you are comfortable with one language it's much easier to learn others so if you wanted to learn Python it wouldn't be like starting over. The principles are largely the same it is just getting to grips with new syntax.



    In terms of the students, however, I would pick the language you find yourself most comfortable with and stick with it for the course.
     
  7. Of course VB6 would be ideal for that...........

     
  8. I haven't read the post, but I have concerns over using the strategy of sitting kids down at a computer and telling them to get on with it. It needs more than that - it needs exercises where students have to put their new learning to use, it needs peer support and peer assessment, it needs opportunities to share ideas, successes and failures. The kids could follow Codeacademy from home. In a classroom you need to use more than that.


    That's not to say that Codeacademy is bad, or should not be used in the classroom. The trick is to make sure you do do more than just sit them in front of it and press go. But any decent teacher already knows that, of course.
     
  9. magic surf bus

    magic surf bus Star commenter

    I'm in a similar position, and am giving serious thought to doing an evening class at a local FE college to boost my existing web design skills by moving into advanced CSS and .php. I also like the look of codecademy and may consider that as an ongoing HW or extension option for some groups. My Raspberry Pi is on order so I can have a fiddle with that, and I've also discovered a crateful of dusty old Acorn Pocketbooks (Psion 3a) in a cupboard. I'm wondering if a dabble with OPL might be useful, prior to giving the more able kids their own Pocketbook to fiddle with.
     
  10. Tosha

    Tosha New commenter

    Though not being a fan of VB I really can't see why anyone would use anything else for a GCSE in Computing.
    Free compiler/IDE with de - bu gger
    Lots of tutorials online
    Typing
    THough not on the spec simple event driven UI.

     
  11. Chad78

    Chad78 New commenter

    I see that codecademy and edmodo have the same backing. Now, wouldn't it be nice if we could set code problems as homework tasks in an interpreter in edmodo. Self marking of course. My life would be complete!
     
  12. Masochism?
     
  13. The ability of the teacher to really program, not wanting an over reliance on instant gratification with drag and drop GUI creation and buttons clicking to change labels. You want an easy language with no macho chest beating go Pascal. Loads of lessons, videos, books, school based examples. If you really want to that is.
     
  14. Tosha

    Tosha New commenter

    It's the ability for a student to produce something usable.
    I would not use VB for IB computer Science but an excellent choice to deliver the GCSE Learning Objectives.
     
  15. magic surf bus

    magic surf bus Star commenter

    Try eBay for the original manuals - I sold a ZX81 Basic manual on there only a few weeks ago, and was by no means alone.
     
  16. rubikwizard

    rubikwizard New commenter

    You don't need an emulator - just use http://www.bbcbasic.co.uk/bbcwin/bbcwin.html The free version is fully functional (but limited RAM) and is very good. I used Small Basic this year for GCSE but am thinking about BBC Basic for next year.

     
  17. You wouldn't want kids getting that would you?

    Make 'em type in lots of code into boring code editors - that's the way.
     

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