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Everett A Scott - 9th Programming Workshop, Bath University Actions Speak louder than words presented with Avril Mallon Bobby Osa David Espin Westminster.

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Presentation on theme: "Everett A Scott - 9th Programming Workshop, Bath University Actions Speak louder than words presented with Avril Mallon Bobby Osa David Espin Westminster."— Presentation transcript:

1 Everett A Scott - 9th Programming Workshop, Bath University Actions Speak louder than words presented with Avril Mallon Bobby Osa David Espin Westminster Kingsway College

2 Everett A Scott - 9th Programming Workshop, Bath University Actions Speak Louder Than Words Some problems Misconceptions (Tutor and learner – tutor thinks learners know more than what they do – learners trust tutors are going at the right pace – pace spirals uncontrollably) Assumptions (Wow! Arent they ALL smart? - whole class doomed apart from a few) Lack of creativity (Little participation, variety, sedentary learners) Poor analogies (or no analogy – too abstract) (continuation)

3 Everett A Scott - 9th Programming Workshop, Bath University Actions Speak Louder Than Words Experiential learning (Mostly Ignored – students are taught abstract concepts without reference to their own real world experiences) Practical / Lab sessions (little interactivity between students. Mostly coding exercises) Learning styles (ignored – were too busy, understandably so, but differentiated learning) No dialogue (What do you expect? We teach) (What I do on first day of programming)

4 Everett A Scott - 9th Programming Workshop, Bath University Actions Speak Louder Than Words First day of programming Many students dont have a clue what a program is or what it does. Watch the opening scene of David Leans 1946, Great Expections (Watch the worried expressions as they wonder whether theyre in the right room) Get them into paired groups. Ask them to write down what they think makes up a play or film – the components. (brief task)

5 Everett A Scott - 9th Programming Workshop, Bath University Actions Speak Louder Than Words Spending no more than 2 – 3 minutes (in pairs) Task 1 – Write down what you believe to be the components of a movie or play Task 2 – Whats the analogy between these components and the components of a finished program (Some answers)

6 Everett A Scott - 9th Programming Workshop, Bath University Actions Speak Louder Than Words (Experiential Learning – The relationship between the two) This might encourage debate here, but thats a good thing. Isnt it? Director - compiler Beginning and end – sequence and structure Props – identifiers, different types to help program function Dialogue – the code; exchange of data between entities Actors – functions, things that do things Roles – specific behaviours of functions and procedures Script – its got to be kept to; syntactic/semantic correctness Stage – if its not in the code it wont be compiled (What is Experiential learning)

7 Everett A Scott - 9th Programming Workshop, Bath University Actions Speak Louder Than Words One type of experiential learning is 'education that occurs as a direct participation in the events of life' (Houle 1980: 221). Here learning is not sponsored by some formal educational institution but by people themselves. It is learning that is achieved through reflection upon everyday experience and is the way that most of us do our learning. All students understand concepts such as movies, supermarket checkouts, weather conditions, shelves on a bookcase, and secrets. These can be applied to abstract concepts such as selection statements, iteration (un/deterministic), array data types, identifier scope etc. (aim of the role play about to be performed)

8 Everett A Scott - 9th Programming Workshop, Bath University Actions Speak Louder Than Words My aim in getting students to act out bits of code –Bridging the gap between experiential learning and abstract concepts (get learners to bring in their ordinary experiences into the development of coding) –Provoking dialog and debate (if it doesnt make sense then why not – how could it reflect what really happens at, say address level – can also repair holes in knowledge that people didnt know they had – Local Vs Private, Global Vs Public esp in VB) –Encouraging all student participation (theres always a quiet one or two that wont ask questions) –Build Confidence – portraying undeterministic iteration is easier to act out as a supermarket checkout staff member, and understand, than explaining what do while / while code does –Refining the role play to reflect as accurately as possible coding concepts (Do role play & feedback from Yr 2 students)

9 Everett A Scott - 9th Programming Workshop, Bath University Actions Speak Louder Than Words Feedback from when we did a run through in front of year 2 students Provoke dialogue – Rehearsed before Year 2 software developers who had differing views on effectiveness Puts things into perspective (Avrils explanation) Works well when used in conjunction with technical explanations of coding but lacks essential detail if used in isolation Appeals to a variety of learning styles particularly tactile and kinaesthetic (What students do after their role play)

10 Everett A Scott - 9th Programming Workshop, Bath University Actions Speak Louder Than Words Students will complete a questionnaire with questions such as –Who was main talking to –Who swaps numbers –What does main pass to swapbyval –What does main pass to swapbyref –What does by value mean –What does by reference mean This tests listening skills, and understanding (We looked at some problems earlier, now some solutions provided by role play)

11 Everett A Scott - 9th Programming Workshop, Bath University Actions Speak Louder Than Words Some solutions provided by use of role play Gets all learners involved; writing the script, identifying the parts. Everyone, absolutely everyone can contribute, even if theyre playing a simple static unsigned int Encourage creativity and generation of ideas through the use of role play. Other successful role play activities includes : scope (Bobby will testify to this), data types and structures, searching and sorting multidimensional arrays…3 x 3 students became arrays a few months ago with great results (more solutions)

12 Everett A Scott - 9th Programming Workshop, Bath University Actions Speak Louder Than Words Better analogies – (experiential learning) –Learners use clearly defined acting roles, doing specific things – postmen/women posting at addresses, wear shades or take umbrella - selection statements working at the supermarket checkout – iteration Encourage dialogue –Get students engaged in dialogue - get them to be critical about scenes acted out (How Year 1 felt about it after the first pilot run)

13 Everett A Scott - 9th Programming Workshop, Bath University Actions Speak Louder Than Words Year 1 learners – feedback on effectiveness of role play –It provides a good overview of the basic constructs, i.e. basic inputs and outputs, variables and constants, address manipulation, data handling and identifier scope –Works more effectively if used in conjunction with conventional explanations and descriptions of code. (more feedback)

14 Everett A Scott - 9th Programming Workshop, Bath University Actions Speak Louder Than Words It encourages teamwork, inclusive learning, and a better understanding through the usage of everyday experiences –It encourages the effective generation of analogies – putting shoes into egg boxes and putting eggs into shoe boxes (correct use of data types), book shelves (memory) –Good understanding observed when engaging with learners in conversations about code meaning (overall effectiveness in results)

15 Everett A Scott - 9th Programming Workshop, Bath University Actions Speak Louder Than Words Effectiveness in terms of understanding, coursework and exams Better explanations during written explanations / descriptions of abstract concepts – reduces copy and paste or plagiarism – students remember a scene then associated code more easier and quicker than remembering code i.e. a sort algorithm Improvement in formative assessment – students produce a scene and then attempt to write code based on it each week. Scene can be simple selection such as shades and umbrella i.e. findmaxofTwo function (more on effectiveness)

16 Everett A Scott - 9th Programming Workshop, Bath University Actions Speak Louder Than Words More reasonable summative grades attained when used in conjunction with conventional methods.(19 / 23 with pass grades) Very effective with design - Students find it useful when helping them produce pseudo-code, or organising the flow of events – planning and structuring; the analogy as a whole has helped set a context within which to work Effective when used to describe concepts that cannot be seen i.e. memory locations, memory management, pointers (summary)

17 Everett A Scott - 9th Programming Workshop, Bath University Actions Speak Louder Than Words Summary Time consuming – takes time to generate even the shortest scene Its not for everyone – learners learn at different paces and the stronger learners are more inclined to want to approach coding from a coding perspective not role play (more on summary)

18 Everett A Scott - 9th Programming Workshop, Bath University Actions Speak Louder Than Words More effective when scenes are relatively short - got to be well planned and thought out Appeals to a variety of learning styles – auditory, visual, kinaesthetic Promotes/provokes Dialogue – Not everyone will agree that the acted scenes depict the reality of a piece of code – promotes refinement and better understanding Promotes Inclusive learning – Not everyone feels confident asking questions of a technical nature, but might feel encouraged to ask questions about whether a scene makes sense. (more on summary)

19 Everett A Scott - 9th Programming Workshop, Bath University Actions Speak Louder Than Words Fun. It also encourages team building and team work as well as a common understanding of key concepts. (Acknowledgements)

20 Everett A Scott - 9th Programming Workshop, Bath University Actions Speak Louder Than Words Thanks to Avril Mallon, Bobby Osa, and David Espin for the reworking of, and dramatisation of the role play. Special thanks to Catherine Lepper for tidying up the loose ends in the presentation.


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