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Teaching Programming Now Emphasizes Sharing 132

Posted by timothy
from the did-you-bring-enough-for-everyone-to-steal? dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The NY Times explores some of the best ways to teach kids and finds that some of the new tools are encouraging the kids to share their work with each other. One teacher first tried to keep the kids quiet and staring at their own monitors but found it was better to let them copy each other. He calls MIT's Scratch a 'gateway' tool. Then the article points out that programming Blender with Python is not as hard to pick up as your grandparent's programming languages — and kids today are learning them in a few months." The Wikipedia entry on Scratch is worth reading, too.
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Teaching Programming Now Emphasizes Sharing

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  • KTurtle (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Plammox (717738) on Thursday November 10, 2011 @12:31PM (#38013448)
    It even comes [kde.org] with many different interface language options, making it ideal for children who just started reading in their mother tongue.
  • In my experience (Score:5, Interesting)

    by slthytove (771782) <james...m...allen@@@gmail...com> on Thursday November 10, 2011 @12:35PM (#38013490) Homepage

    High school computer science teacher here in my 4th year of teaching. This year, I've emphasized group programming much more than the past 3 - I used to do 50/50 group/individual in-class stuff, but this year nearly every in-class exercise is done with randomly-assigned partners in my Intro and AP courses. The difference in comprehension is astounding - students are grasping concepts much quicker than usual. The thing is, when they go off on their own to do individual assignments now, they do so with much more confidence, thanks to the discussions they were able to have with their partners.

    FYI, I teach at an all-girls school, so it's possible that these are unique results for girls, but I imagine that boys would similarly benefit from working with partners.

  • Kudos (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 10, 2011 @01:15PM (#38013916)

    I'm a high school comp sci teacher and I fully support this way of learning. Kids do much better when they collaborate because it's easier to remember concepts when you've had a conversation with someone about it. Cheating is different from collaboration. They aren't working together during the final exam.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 10, 2011 @01:51PM (#38014256)

    When I was taking my intro to programming classes, we were allowed to partner with one other person to do several of the main programming projects. On the first day of class, I had to show the person next to me how to turn on their computer, so of course I ended up being stuck with them as a partner. To my surprise it ended up being immensely helpful to me, mostly because I not only had to design the bulk of it, but I had to explain it all to them, and do a good enough job getting my ideas across so that they could do some of the work themselves.

    The process of having to explain to someone else what I had just learned really helped cement the ideas and concepts that were being taught in that class. It seemed to have helped my partner as well, because they managed to consistently ace the exams and both of us ended up easily passing the class in the top 90%.

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