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How do you do programming at your school???

Discussion in 'Computing and ICT' started by chris1980, Jan 18, 2012.

  1. chris1980

    chris1980 New commenter

    Im interested in doing programming at my school, and wondered how other schools do it eg what software and issues that they have come up against.
    In my school the best i could get with all network restrictions is using VB through Virtual machine as it loads up as a stand alone PC, but students would have to save to USB pen.
    I have not touched it since uni 8 years ago so an starting again really
  2. This question comes up ad nauseum (we could do with a sticky thread on this maybe, or an FAQ somewhere).

    Scratch, Alice, Gamemaker (graphical based programming environments) are usually pretty self contained and don't require special permissions.

    Logo allows more syntax/code based programming, again in an enclosed environment.

    VBA is not impossible, but isn't the greatest of environments.

    I like Python as a language, and you don't need to be able to run EXEs as the code is interpreted (compiled on the fly).

    Javascript doesn't have the most supportive of programming environments (IDEs) but allows you to do pop up boxes in web pages and, again, doesn't need special permissions, etc.

    If Java is more your thing then Greenfoot is good for younger (bright Y9 or KS4 students) and BlueJ is great for A Level.

    Lots and lots of options (I haven't covered BASIC, SmallBASIC, C, C++, Objective C, MIT App Inventor, Mission Maker, Logicator, Flowol, Yenka or a thousand other possibilities). Bear in mind that most people who reply with just one language often have an axe to grind. That doesn't mean their wrong, but try to keep an open mind :)
  3. Hello,
    Making this quick and simple you might be interested in the Codecademy which is a free way to teach people how to code. It goes through Javascript in an interactive way and after you know Javascript, your capable of learning C++ alot easier apprently.
    Hope this helped.
    Game to learn : Website
  4. Visual Studio 2010 Pro via dreamspark.com. Students given the choice of VB.Net, C++, C# and F#.
  5. Kodu for Y7, Scratch for Y8, SmallBASIC for Y9 (GCSE Computing) and also as a stepping-stone language for Y12 to get them the basics (a great and quite comprehensive set of presentations is provided completely free from Microsoft if you look hard enough on their site!).

    Currently don't have Y10 or Y11 but have had Greenfoot (with Kinect SDK) installed and plan to use this in clubs and for Y12 and Y9 to progress/transfer to after SmallBASIC. I think I have sort of decided against Visual Studio at the minute (although great value!) as unneccesarily clunky, although having Y13 Computing students next year might change this.

    Next on my wish list is an Android SDK (handsets must be affordable enough by now to buy a few for testing) which should come easily to students after Greenfoot (someone please correct me if I am wrong on this!)
  6. hippy gave a nice review of the languages that people are using out there.
    The kids at my school are lower ability and I use VB6 which is easy to use, free in educational versions, easy to debug and has lovely built in objects. I am a big fan but I am aware of it's limitations but it also has the advantage that many exam specs seem to have it in mind when they are written.
    The unofficial support via the web for VB is massive but I'm sure that is true for other languages on here
    VB.net has built in objects but isn't as pleasant to debug with.
    Scratch, Alice and Gamemaker aren't really 'proper' programmng languages but are ok for younger kids. Scratch in particular can be fun.
    I don't see the point of Small Basic compared to VB6 - perhaps someone could enlighten me.
    I used to find Logo really nice but it is again limited in many ways.
    I guarantee that unless your kids are very bright, they will find java and javascript unpleasant and demanding and that goes for Greenfoot which is just a veneer over java - I think this site:
    says it all for me - committed teacher struggling (if I might be so bold) to take his brighter than average kids beyond the basics - I used the very expensive (£30) Greenfoot textbook (the ONLY one) and found the later examples in the book took a lot of thinking about.
    BlueJ has the same problems - it is really demanding for normal kids and the textbook - eeek! wrto price and difficulty.
    I am astonished at some of the choices that other teachers make - as I said, I am very much stuck in the World of lower-ability pupils and things are very different for me from some others here.
  7. In fairness to the Greenfoot/BlueJ team, Greenfoot is designed for KS4/5 and BlueJ for undergraduate level.

    I'll freely admit that my AS Computing students are typically very bright and motivated (especially as it's offered as an extra curricular course), but Java seems to suit them fine.

    Horses, courses... an algorithm is an algorithm. The rest is just syntax.
  8. Have a look at the blog on the Programming tab here: http://www.theteacher.info/ about my experiences teaching Java at KS4 and where it led me.
  9. I use the visual programming and control environments like Gamemaker and Flowol with a couple of Logo projects with Years 5 and 6 though I mainly teach coding through VBA in Excel from Years 5 to 8 because;

    * The worksheet, range and cell object models allow the pupils to get quick results.

    * They can program user defined functions which ties in nicely with Maths.

    * It's really easy to put form controls on to a worksheet

    * You don't need to compile a project in order to see what the code is doing.

    * The Worksheet code module is really easy to find, just right click on its tab and select View Code

    * There is a massive community of online users and plenty of tutorials. Often Googling a question will find you exactly what you need to know.

    * The VBA IDE is excellent and it's built into Excel, Intellisense is particularly useful.
    The most important thing to remember about teaching programming is that it is REALLY HARD so you need to remember all of the basics, careful planning, lots of reinforcement, consolidation. continiuty, differentiation and so on....and I've had some painfully bad lessons when I've got that wrong.
  10. Ah... Where do you get that from ? :)
  11. I assumed it wasn't possible to get hold of the VB6 software anymore ?
  12. Use the old educational version - contacted Microsoft and they said it was fine to use it on the network.
    If you want to use the full version, you can pay for the full version of vb.net and they will let you downgrade.
    It's not state of the art stuff but I would still argue that educationally, it is the best option for the lower ability range.
  13. You can often get a copy off eBay for a few pounds. Just looked, and there aren't any locally - the US has some though (bit steep in price if you ask me). eBay VB6 search
  14. Thanks, old versions of Apps are often really good for teaching, less complex and I into coding via VB6 so I'll look into this. :)

  15. As if by magic - there's a version just popped up on eBay for £12:



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