How to engage students in programming development

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A-level Computer Science By: Tutor no longer registered
Subject: Computer Science » A-level Computer Science
Last updated: 18/01/2017
Tags: computer science, games, iteration, loop, sdlc

Often some students do not feel they can engage on a course in Computer Science, because it is a challenging course.

However it is not all about programming! The SDLC (Software Development Life Cycle) is a structured design method to project manage software development so products developed are fit for purpose, and so you will be engaged in communication skills both oral and written, programming skills and testing skills for programs developed.

There are several free software applications which can engage student for early development of programming, such as Scratch, Alice in schools and Visual Studio 2012 is available free from Microsoft for higher level programming, including object oriented design, which are all necessary exam board requirements.

Game Maker can be used free of charge and for development of basic software skills such as sequences, selections and iterations it is a great tool as students can learn whilst developing their own computer game. 

Some of my students have described my games development unit as "sick"!

You can download Game maker for example from http://www.yoyogames.com/studio

Initially, students need to understand how data is represented using keywords such as local and global variables, data structures and program structure in decision making (selections) and iterative statements (looping) but using games as a development application the learner is more engaged with instant visual and audible feedback, using three basic loop controls such as the counter, pre and post condition loop controls.

I would encourage all students to have a go, particularly BTEC students for U22, Games Programming.

During courses it is essential to understand how analogue and digital signals are used and why, so I always teach a little transistor theory so “bits” become real and not just a word. Going the extra mile always adds interest and encourages students to be more engaged in their independent learning. the latest Computer Science courses have more emphasis on code development so the fundamentals of programming are essential to enable understanding and development of exam specified code and code implemented from requirements!.

 hv





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