January 22nd, 2012
|10:14 am - Programming languages in schools|
I have just written a post on the new computing curriculum for schools. People might be interested in the list of suggested programming languages. This is not mandated, but I think it is interesting. It is found on page 13.
Every student should have repeated opportunities to design, write, run and debug an executable program. What an executable program means can range widely depending on the level of the student and the amount of time available. The following are included in programming:
- Small domain-specific languages, such as instructions to a simple robot, or Logo-style turtle.
- Visual languages such as Scratch BYOB or Kodu.
- Text-based languages, such as C#, C++, Java, Pascal, PHP, Python, Visual Basic, and so on.
- Spreadsheet formulae
Well given that the vast majority of ICT teachers in the country don't actually have computer science degrees, and are, in the main, media studies backgrounds (this is a fact, btw), I'd say most of them are probably a bit screwed.
Quite. The curriculum is a sideshow compared to the development of teacher skills. Possibly ICT should be delivered by peripatetic experts, like learning musical instruments.
I like that idea. Or more to the point, in a big society (vomit), perhaps companies could release their programmers for a half day a week or something to teach local secondary schools. Or, shock horror, 'lectures' in programming could be delivered remotely, with the local classroom teachers almost acting as classroom assistants to support individuals...
companies could release their programmers for a half day a week or something to teach local secondary schools.
That presupposes that skill in programming and skill in teaching programming are related, which my experience suggests is anything but the case.
Very true. :-) So perhaps a better solution would be have your best 'programmer-teachers' delivering lectures (assuming this is secondary schooling, of course) via webcast to a larger number of schools/pupils. Kind of like a master class model? And then have less-skilled programmer-teachers act almost as demonstrators would in a university context.
I like the webcast masterclass idea, but I think the on-the-ground teachers would still have to be quite skilled to be sure to identify those kids who have grasped the concepts and those still struggling.
Er - yes. But that applies to every subject.
Could always make it more vocational. So, for example, every child to have a placement in some company or other where they are expected to write some code for a practical, real life purpose.
I like that idea too!
Of course, that begs the question of actually being able to get such experts. There's not very likely to be many programmers with a Dip. Ed. And in my experience, most programmers would be terrible at teaching school kids.