[Edu-sig] 9. Best approach to teaching OOP and graphics
john.zelle at wartburg.edu
Wed Mar 23 14:34:07 CET 2005
Lloyd Hugh Allen wrote:
> On Wed, 23 Mar 2005 14:02:15 +0200, Linda Grandell <lgrandel at abo.fi> wrote:
>>I wonder if letting the students pair up for themselves could work? That
>>would more or less be a variant of the second alternative above. Or does
>> this introduce the risk of weaker students pairing up with strong
>>students doing less work? Even learning less?
> Generally, I would say that letting students on the K-12 level pair
> themselves in a totally, totally free fashion leads to less learning.
> This strategy often leads to a classroom management nightmare.
> With all heterogenous groups (perhaps all groups), it's a good idea to
> have assigned tasks (for instance, if the program has already been
> flowcharted, then this person is responsible for this area and this
> other person is responsible for this area) or differentiated
> assessment (in my bf/gf example, to have the weaker student lead you
> through the code in order to ensure that even if they didn't come up
> with the code, at least they are able to read it)
I don't have experience with pre-college students, so take this advice
with a grain of salt. I use pair (even group) programming frequently in
my classes. Educational studies have shown that groups of 2 or 3 help
students learn better than just having them work alone. One of the real
advantages of pair programming is that students can pick up techniques
and useful habits from each other. In order to gain the greatest
advantage of this, it's important that teams rotate around. That way
students end up working with many others during the course of the term,
not just their "favorite".
I wouldn't worry too much about the weaker students "coasting". They
will learn a lot from assisting stronger students, and if the teams
change frequently, they will at some point be the stronger student where
they can pass on what they've seen others do.
John M. Zelle, Ph.D. Wartburg College
Professor of Computer Science Waverly, IA
john.zelle at wartburg.edu (319) 352-8360
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