Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Every child should learn computer programming


In a previous post, I have listed a few reasons for teaching programming in school. In this post, I intend to argue that computer programming is an essential skill in the curriculum. I was prompted to write it when I read the following comments made by Steve Jobs:

"In my perspective ... science and computer science is a liberal art, it's something everyone should know how to use, at least, and harness in their life. It's not something that should be relegated to 5 percent of the population over in the corner. It's something that everybody should be exposed to and everyone should have mastery of to some extent, and that's how we viewed computation and these computation devices." (http://www.npr.org/2011/10/06/141115121/steve-jobs-computer-science-is-a-liberal-art?sc=tw&cc=share)

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Building an APP with Students: What I have learned this year

Last year, I decided to start an APP development club at my school. I spent some time in the summer break investigating alternative development environments. In the end, I settled on Corona SDK. Unfortunately, I only had a few days left to learn it before the start of the school year. I took some time in Term 1 to complete some tutorials and make connections with Corona developers. Thanks to Twitter, I was able to make friends who have taught me a lot about the technology. The group began in Term 2 and we are now most of the way through an APP we intend to submit to the App Store. A friend has prodded me to get back to writing about the experience so far.

Saturday, October 01, 2011

Book Review: Totto-chan - A book for every educator


Totto-chan: The Little Girl at the Window
Author: Tetsuko Kuroyanagi, Translator: Dorothy Britton. Publisher: Kodansha International, 1996.
ISBN: 4-7700-2067-8

This book was given me as a gift by my sister-in-law, an educator and avid reader. It is the autobiography of a famous actress and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador. The book concentrates on a short period of time when the author attended Tomoe primary school in Tokyo. In fact, the book is more a description of the school founder's practice than it is a life story.

Expelled from first grade!
The book starts by telling of Totto-chan's expelling from her previous school, when she was only in grade one. You see, "the little girl at the window" would wait all morning for street bands to walk by the school and call them over to play their music. This was seen as highly disruptive behaviour and, exasperated, her teacher decided the girl did not become at the school. Eventually, her mother found a school that would take her: Tomoe Gakuen.