Saturday, July 25, 2009

Diigo bookmarks for today 07/26/2009

  • Great post by Ben Grey on his participation in Constructing Modern knowledge - he hits several things including the fact that many at the conference said that computer programming should be mandatory for all students and a presenter who said that the problem with today is that too many people have a voice.

    My comments from Ben's blog are below. Great conversations happening here!

    Programming -
    OK, on the programming thing, here are my thoughts.

    In our curriculum our objective is not as much a specific LANGUAGE. One year I may use HTML with Javascript, this past year I used LSL � what I want kids to know that when they encounter programming and coding that there are certain conventions. Some are case sensitive, some are not. How do you find out how to add to what you know about programming? Do you know where to go to find prewritten code? Can you hack it to make it work to do what you want it to do?

    We spend about a week � two weeks but I require they know how to handcode hyperlinks and images � they are just too important.

    But to take 12 weeks or 6 weeks to learn a whole language � yes maybe some value � but to me the value is HOW is the language constructed or built. What are the conventions and how do I educate myself if I am interested in pursuing. What comes out of this time is kids who say either �I never want to do that� or �this is really cool, I love coding.�

    They are doing very simplistic work (although the LSL object languages were pretty advanced) but since we don�t have a full course nor time in our curriculum, I do see this as an essential part of what I teach.

    I�m not teaching it for the language sake but for the sake of understanding the whole body of how languages work � we talk about the different languages and what they are used for as part of Intro to Computer science and have an immersive experience.

    To me, this is somewhat a comprimise between leaving it out entirely or forcing everyone to take 12 weeks of it. I just don�t know where 12 weeks would go in the curriculum.

    I�ve seen kids who know C++ but don�t have a clue about the trends in IT or how to collaborate globally � I�d rather do it this way and feel happy with it as it is in my curriculum.

    On newbies �
    Discomfort always exists when new people come on the scene of anything but I am one who truly believes that a person who truly is a charlatan will show their true colors over time. Are all conference keynotes stellar� of course not.

    But to me, for all of us, we must remember that we are servants working to improve education and to have the humility to know that newbies bring a unique perspective that can be important to conversations. To forever exclude newcomers is to stagnate. We need both.

    Great points, Ben � going to share this on CCT tomorrow. ;-) (Hat tip to Scott meech who tweeted me in our mutual insomia that this post is the reason he�s awake!)

    Tags: education, learning, constructivism, edu_trends

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