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Friday, May 01, 2015

My life as a tech teacher, part 9: Planning for phase 2

Freelance technology journalist Alex Cruickshank continues from here. "It's the Easter school break, but there's no rest for the wicked. I've been thinking what to teach the children next term."


It's not that we're reaching the limits of Scratch. Far from it. It's quite possible to create complex computer games using Scratch, with multiple levels of interaction and various sprites, backgrounds, sounds and visual effects. It's not actually coding, though. Not really.

Scratch is great for building logical thought processes and for mental 'chunking' - breaking down larger goals into smaller steps. For that reason alone I'm reluctant to leave it behind. But coding to me – and to pretty much every programmer around the world – means typing in code. It means writing programmatic structures, defining and calling subroutines, testing, refining, fixing and testing again. It's about words.

I'm a reasonably good programmer, but not in modern programming languages. If I were to write my programming CV it would include references to building a powerful multi-user content management system in Perl in the early 2000s, to modifying and compiling Linux kernel modules and programs in C, loads of HTML/CSS/JS and... some BASIC. These days I mostly dabble in *nix shell scripts, though they can reach a few thousand lines and are riddled with reg-exps. A useful skill set for me, probably less so for the children I'm teaching.

Source: IDG Connect