Discussions

News: How To Make Learning To Program Engaging

  1. How To Make Learning To Program Engaging (3 messages)

    So, how do you take the pain out of learning to program? Minimizing lectures is always a good idea. And pushing 'hand-on' time with the keyboard is really the best way to make the learning happen. But how do you keep students engaged and motivated? 

    Here are a few great tips from the following blog (Infinigons) on how to make learning to program fun. The background is Python based, but the advice really applies to any development platform:

    • I learned to minimize lectures. Kids (and all people) learn programming by doing. Giving them a few examples to follow and execute on their own is much more effective than parsing code as a class in lecture format (at least with my group, which tended to get squirrelly really quickly).
    • When I did lecture, I used PowerPoints that the students could upload onto their laptops so they could follow along at their own pace. I also tried to include as many opportunities as possible for them to try out commands along the way. I finally started getting the hang of this when we were doing Visual Python; see my lecture notes here if you are interested.
    • Tiered programming assignments rock. There are easy, medium, and hard programs in a single assignment. Students choose whichever ones they want and aim for a certain total point value. Harder programs are worth more points. See my programming assignments here if you are interested.

    Read the full discussion here:

    http://infinigons.blogspot.com/2011/01/is-programming-new-math.html

    Threaded Messages (3)

  2. We have come a long way from inspiring the students to learn to solve optimal control problems so we can go to the moon. Now it is enough - no, imperative -  to have them write a program on how much to tip the waitress.

     

    That's how the civilization ends - teachers who are supposed to teach are required to be entertainers so that learning is FUN.

     

  3. fun is good[ Go to top ]

    John, I think you're missing the point. 

    Students worldwide hate Math because it's poorly taught. If your Match class is boring, you're teaching it wrong. Same with computers.

    Teaching *fun* and *engaging* computer courses is a GOOD thing. I can assure you your NASA engineers loved their courses and found them engaging.

    Engaging != shallow.

  4. fun is good[ Go to top ]

    John, I think you're missing the point. 

    Students worldwide hate Math because it's poorly taught. If your Match class is boring, you're teaching it wrong. Same with computers.

    Teaching *fun* and *engaging* computer courses is a GOOD thing. I can assure you your NASA engineers loved their courses and found them engaging.

    Engaging != shallow.

     

    I agree with engaging but not the fun part. Students need to see the utility in what they are learning. Showing how the tools learned over a course is applied to a real life solution has value. Making it "fun" for fun's sake doesn't necessarily make it so. Math and science will always lose to art/music/glee if you try and compete on a "fun" level.

    Students worldwide may hate Math but IMO because of the difficulty in learning -- not necessarily the quality of teaching. Overcoming a challenge or a problem has been trumped by instant gratification in the "easy" classes with the high glamour. It's cultural nowadays.

    If the society puts little to  no value on Math/Sciences, the youth will not embrace them. No amount of "happy happy joy joy" tactics will counteract that mentality.