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I teach the computer programming course of the Information Technology program at Kent Career Tech Center (KCTC). During the first semester, my students learn a computer programming language called C# with an emphasis on basic programming concepts such as working with variables, conditionals and looping. The first program they write is a console application called “Hello World”. By the end of the semester, they are creating games such as Tic-Tac-Toe and Hang Man using more advanced concepts such as processing user input, using timers and producing images and animations.
Students come to my class with a variety of previous programming knowledge and motivation which means that some students complete assignments in minutes while others may take hours. When students are faster at writing programs than others, there are many other technologies in my room they can explore. For example:
A Makerspace – Raspberry Pi’s and Arduino boards are available with lots of additional electronic parts for creating all kinds of different projects. It provides students with an opportunity to experiment and be creative.
NAO Robot – Two years ago, I received a grant from Bosch to purchase a NAO robot. Robots are simply mechanical machines with the ability to process and react to sensory information. A set of computer instructions is executed when a particular sensory input is detected. My robot, called Boschley, is programmable using Python or students can use drag and drop software called Choregraphe by Aldebaran.
Advanced Programming Opportunities – Instructions are available for creating a Tetris like game and a Caterpillar game using DirectX and other advanced programming techniques.