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The Future of Programming

Discussion in 'Computing and ICT' started by 10101010, Apr 14, 2008.

  1. I'm not a teacher, I'm a programmer in industry, also
    managing a team of 7 programmers. They got very
    excited when I brought in a mouse (electronic) I made
    20 years ago. I etched my own PCB, soldered in a Z80,
    RAM, ROM, power electronics, random logic, and the
    thing actually runs mazes.

    They've now started a project in house during their
    lunch-times to learn these skills and build their
    own small robot to run around the work place. Why?
    Because they can, and because it's fun.

    You can get lego kits to do this now, and then start
    to replace the "Black Box" parts with your own. Learn
    how computers actually work.

    The robot will be done by Q3 this year, so we're
    starting to design our own micro-processor.
     
  2. To be honest, auti, I'm sure you and a few other contributors here could wax lyrical for hours about your first abacus and your first abacus simulation in 1492 created on the Medieval Mark IX Differential Engine.

    All very useful for the year 9's.
     
  3. autismuk

    autismuk New commenter

    I refused to use it on principle as it was the development platform for VB6.

    I was impressed by the way you got coursework to run on a sundial, btw.
     
  4. autismuk

    autismuk New commenter

    R.O.G., was that the micromouse thing way back - the course where you could buy a kit for it which was a ZX81 piggybacked on a metal chassis ?
     
  5. The micromouse competitions still run world-wide.
    Yes, you can buy kits, but I built mine entirely
    from components. Z80, 8KB static RAM, 8KB ROM,
    ranodm logic with NANDs and ORs, latches for the
    input and output, power transistors for driving
    the motors. IR LEDs and detectors for sensing the
    walls, small electric motors to drive, a model
    aircraft servo for steering,, and so on.

    I made the chassis from perspex, with PTFE washers
    for the joins. I turned the braces from brass,
    putting M3 threads and screws.

    And so on. Many, many skills to learn, so much
    of which has stood me in good stead as I now am
    in industry and work with and talk to people from
    all backgrounds. Absolutely invaluable.

    It was also a lage project. It took time, and some
    vision.
     
  6. And as I said, now you can buy kits and do bits
    of it, then gradually replace black boxes with
    your own work. That way when the kids say
    "How does that work" you can use that to guide
    the investigation. It's all good, and they will
    be more interested if they asked the question.
     
  7. autismuk

    autismuk New commenter

    Absolutely. I think these sort of development skills are lacking these days :(
     
  8. A long time ago and far away I had a group of kids doing similar things using old floppy drives ...

    ... but I digress from the modern approach ...

    ... now how do I make a mouse move in PowerPoint?
     
  9. I really do wish you chaps would stop talking about how to do practical things with IT and get back to talking about how to teach programming to the kids.
     
  10. How on earth do you think these 'practical' things get to move around?
     
  11. I really don't think I understand the question.
     
  12. Hmmm!

    Home made or kits, these projects have processors which control their movement. These need to be given instructions.

    Guess what the process of writing instructions for processors is called.

    Perhaps it's better to stick to PowerPoint after all.
     
  13. coronel,

    I was being sarcastic.

    It's the lowest form of wit.

    Start at the bottom and you can move up from there ;)
     
  14. Your response doesn't match the structure of sarcasm.

    You were being your usual arrogant self and were hoist. I see that others have noticed this aspect of your replies.

     
  15. Good grief.

    That's just risible, coronel.

    Sarcasm has structure, now?

    You are silly, mate.
     
  16. autismuk

    autismuk New commenter

    You can't expect John to understand structure, he's a VB6 programmer.
     
  17. There you go, coronel!

    Another example of sarcasm for you to study.
     
  18. I've spent some time reading this forum topic and the one about IT shortages. I've found them a bit of a fillip.

    This last couple of terms I've been looking at what I've been teaching and become rather 'fed up'. A couple of days ago I sat back during the lunch hour and analysed my day/term/year and identified the fact that I've just been doing lesson after lesson of Publisher and Powerpoint with the odd bit of spreadsheeting(sad to think it took this long to realise). To be frank I'm thinking of going back to ICT industry. I started there and did programming.

    I teach outside the UK and the curriculum for IT is worse than in the UK (IMO)

    Anyway, Wed and Thurs I thought 'sod it' and got the C64 emulator (Thanks rubikwizard for re-awakening my enthusiasm for ICT, it seemed to have drowned in a sea of MS Office) and MSW logo and introduced year 9's to programming. Mainly with Logo as a simple starting point. I had the best lesson feedback for ages from the kids.

    They were enthralled, wowed and focussed for the lesson. They wanted to try things, I couldn't keep up with all the requests of what they wanted to try and know. None of the class had seen or heard of the idea of programming or giving computers instructions. Looking at what the knowledge level of programming I started off very simply. By the end of the lesson they had created procedures, and began asking how they could have squares of different sizes.

    Fortunately this year I have a HOD who is supportive of trying these 'new' things and we?ve started to spend time looking at how to justify programming within curriculum statements.

    It?s good to read about people trying to teach ?ICT? in a way that I remember it at school and Uni ? only then it was called Computer Studies.
     
  19. Good luck mate.

    Sounds like a fun week.
     
  20. It's a bit worrying that he offers carp programming and didn't realise that language is underpinned by structure.

    I'd suggest he searched for sarcasm on the net but he'd probably misread it and print out 100 pages on Sartre.
     

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