How’s that for cryptic. I am evaluating a video tutorial created by Michael Kölling called the “Joy of Coding”. He uses the IDE (integrated development environment) Greenfoot to teach Java coding with emphasis on game design and Object Oriented Coding techniques aimed at teenagers. I plan to incorporate some of his material in my own class during the 2014 – 15 semester. Every time he says, “The World knows the turtle” it just tickles me to death (or at least makes me grin – not sure why). You really need to click on the link and hear it for yourself. He has a rather strong German accent and it just sounds cool, like some Teutonic philosopher expounding on the meaning of life. Also it might not hurt you to click on the link and follow along. Everyone needs to be able to at least understand a bit of code, and the principles on which it is written.
Meanwhile, the other bits and pieces are coming together. This blog is intended to be a journal of my struggle to get Computer Science off the ground in Whitesboro, TX. As it stands now I will be able to offer Concepts of Information Technology, Principles of Engineering and Technology, Basic Coding in Java, Computer Repair, and Robotics next year as well as having a conference period and one period a day helping the tech. staff. The Java class will utilize Greenfoot graduating to BlueJ at mid-term. Robotics will use the same NXT we have been using. The only change is that I will not be using the NXT language but coding strictly in C. The Engineering class will emphasize electronic engineering and will use the open source Arduino platform. I have about 15 old computers for the Principles of IT class to work on. It should be a busy year. This summer is going to be equally busy setting up the room and getting things ready.
I am flying blind basically. I have the technical expertise to teach these materials but I am not so sure about the logistics. I have never been good at evaluating budget constraints and planning from that perspective. This plea is directed at anyone who has ever set up a computer science program in a high school before. How did you do it and how much did it cost? Where can I get grants? How deep did you take them? How did you handle evaluations and exams? These are the questions I need to answer. The Internet is being much less help than I expected. I thought I would be able to hit Google for an afternoon and find everything ready built. This has NOT been the case. There are lots of people trying to sell things but very little about people trying to build something useful.
Oh well…its late and I need to catch a nap. Busy day tomorrow.