Today I had the joy of helping sixty technology directors and teachers learn more about programming and children using a combination of Scratch and AppInventor. My biggest delight was that, as we worked through programming challenges, people who found solutions were happy to help those who remained a bit lost. The result was a day that flew by – much as it does in classrooms where such things are happening with children. In fact, we operated with the same “rules” we proposed they use with their own students – start with the frame of a program and debug and enhance as desired until you get to a finished product.
This is a very different approach from one that starts with a formal outline of a program, and then proceeds to a highly structured process for the creation of the finished code. While this approach may be best for large projects involving a team of programmers, it is not (in my view) the best way for people to have the pleasure of creating something from scratch that can be shared with others.
And, the best part (I think) is that their finished programs could be downloaded to their Android tablets to show their friends at dinner tonight.
Now to get this transfered to the classroom…