[Edu-sig] CS teaching approaches

Daniel Ajoy da.ajoy at gmail.com
Sun Dec 20 16:23:08 CET 2009

On Sun, 20 Dec 2009 06:00:01 -0500, <edu-sig-request at python.org> wrote:

> hello,
> i will start introductory CS courses for middle school students (age 10 -13);
> i will mainly make use of logo-like languages and approaches, Turtle
> Art among a couple of others;
> i'd like to ask if you know which the most widespread approaches to CS
> teaching are today for young students, or if someone has collected on
> the web a simple classification among different approaches, showing
> similarities and differences;
> i'd like to let students taste something new and then report back to
> you the result of the courses

In my country some teachers still go through 

then actual programming: using visualfox, pascal, or visual basic

another conducting thread is the 

"input - processing - output"   model

which leads to DFD diagrams http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Data_Flow_Diagram

and then to coding

I've seen many introductory courses focus on:

type conversions
input and output commands
conditional commands

In a Logo course we don't talk about types or type conversions. And loops and conditionals are approched together using tail-end recursion instead. Usually in the context of drawing stars or polygons.

Another approach is to start with Object Oriented concepts form the beginning. Thinking about which objects you want to model and which attributes and behaviours they should exhibit. Teaching Smalltalk is a lot about learning how to navigate the jungle (ecosystem they call it) that is the smalltalk image.

Teaching J or APL is again very different. They you just teach what the commands do, and how they go about changing the input until you obtain the desired output.


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