Saturday, 6 July 2013

Which Programming Language to Focus On?

#ComputingHour Discussion 2 - Thursday 4th July 2013
"I can't learn Python, Kodu, Alice, Greenfoot, Ruby, SmallBasic ... What to focus on?"
Summary compiled by @jonbilton

HTML, Scratch and Python
@teknoteacher pointed out that there's a bewildering choice of approaches to teaching programming, whatever language you use. @martinbateman said teachers converting from ICT should learn one language until they understand the constructs, after which "learning a new language will be easy." @eaglestone suggested that as we were working with 1 hour of lessons per week, teachers should pick 1 or 2 textual languages, in addition to HTML and Scratch. This would help to alleviate the anxiety that was emerging about the choice of language within the teaching of Computer Science. @MrAColley supported this and said that he was looking at HTML as a means of introducing the concept of text based programming

@SharplesICT stated that he preferred Python because of the wealth of online resources available to support teachers. @tweeter_lidl made the point when choosing a language to both teach and learn, the capacity for interaction and fun was very important. @MsBClarke will stick with Scratch plus Python and Greenfoot for now. @familysimpson suggested that the choice was between Python and SmallBasic as the priority was to focus on code, not the user interface as that distracts and oversimplifies programming. @CAS_Wirral suggested using SmallBasic at key stage 3 and Python at key stage 4. @Coding2Learn discussed the use of Scratch 2.0 and suggested the strategy of getting students to write Scratch scripts and translate them into Python. "Best of both worlds."

@eaglestone emphasised the need to progression by linking to his excellent post on this topic. @MrAColley raised the difficult question of devising a progression framework for programming - something that "isn't a nice linear learning curve".

@teknoteacher podcast
@teknoteacher Python resources available through the @CompAtSch website.
@MrAColley Scratch problem solving resources
@DrChips resources

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