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General Chat Thread, Suggestions for pupils' prepeperation in years 7, 8 & 9 for Computing rather than ICT in General; Now that kids are going to do Computing rather than ICT at GCSE, my head of ICT is asking for ...
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    Suggestions for pupils' prepeperation in years 7, 8 & 9 for Computing rather than ICT

    Now that kids are going to do Computing rather than ICT at GCSE, my head of ICT is asking for suggestions about what to teach in preparation for gcse. He's very capable himself but recognises that the techies could have some valuable suggestions!

    We are looking at Python on Linux (saves any security issues on Win clients!) Currently I've got a linux server that they can ssh to with putty and log in with their domain credentials (using likewise) to do some Python coding. Access to their CIFS share (a work-in-progress) to save and run scripts, Notepad ++ to edit the code.

    Any other suggestions for preparing kids for GCSE computing?
    Last edited by ChrisS; 20th January 2012 at 03:22 PM.

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    NikChillin's Avatar
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    Depends on the syllabus, is there one yet?

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    bondbill2k2's Avatar
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    Id expect it will be abit more basic at first and i'd wait until the syllabus is complete.

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    NikChillin's Avatar
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    How about using Scratch or Greenfoot? Our Head of IT is in the forefront of pushing the government into teaching Computing and these programs were used here.

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    CAM
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    I believe Visual Studio Express is free if you want to jump right in to the good stuff.

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    Personally, with no sight of a syllabus, I'd have thought it's very much about *principles* at this stage and you want to minimize distractions e.g. the VS Express IDE will turn a lot of the time into into how to use the IDE (using not creating).

    Notepad++ and [something] sounds OK.

    My heart wants [something] to be strongly typed C#, but although you don't need the IDE (compile via csc.exe) I suspect folk would still manage to get sucked into the OO aspects and they should come later.

    My head says *it just doesn't matter* what you pick for a first language, provided it supports the principles you want, or are supposed, to teach.

    My head also says we'll mostly end up with what is easiest for teacher, as opposed to what it best suited to the aims. Could be wrong, but suspect we're about to spawn another BASIC/VB generation

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    or you got Dreamspark for $99 which allows you to use Visual Studio Professional, Microsoft Express Studio Ultimate, plus other stuff might be a bit better!

    looks like the students will know more about programing coding than me

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    Quote Originally Posted by PiqueABoo View Post
    Personally, with no sight of a syllabus, I'd have thought it's very much about *principles* at this stage
    I agree with that.

    Keeping it simple too without a very feature-full GUI seems a good idea. We are thinking of using Notepad++ to edit code but it does not appear to highlight things in python as it does with asp by default. Gotta look into that!

    Thanks for all the suggestions!

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    We'll be looking at the following, gathered from suggestions people on this site have made.

    For Year 7 we'll introduce Kodu: Kodu - Microsoft Research

    For Year 8, Scratch: Scratch | Home | imagine, program, share

    For Year 9, Small Basic: Microsoft Small Basic

    We're also considering Robomind (RoboMind.net - Welcome to RoboMind.net, the new way to learn programming) and Alice (Alice.org)

    Whilst these are GUI intensive, they allow for the entire class to get involved, even those with low reading and writing abilities. Those who "get" programming and computing will love the software and will want to explore further whilst those who may not understand the actual coding element, will still be able to create something that works. Definitely interested in Notepad++ for those students who really get the hang of it!

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