Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Why girls should learn computer programming


Lately, I have made a case for programming in the curriculum and my colleague, Sarah Macdonald, wrote about using Scratch to help students "understand their own problems, make mistakes and explore alternatives". This post is a manifesto for teaching girls in particular how to program. In it, I argue that this is an essential skill for girls to help make the future rather than see innovations as black magic which they may only consume.
Samantha (Year 9): "I have a friend who wrote a program that generates bibliographies for his school work."
Me: "That's great. How would you like to learn to write your own programs?"
Samantha: "No, Mr. Baroudi. That's what boys' schools are for!"
Picture from: canstockphoto.com

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Beyond teaching programming: Scratch as a constructivist learning environment


This is a guest post is the second in a series (you can read the first post here) and is written by my colleague Sarah Macdonald. In it, Sarah tells about teaching Scratch for the first time to her year 7 girls.

Flashback, 2010
End of year curriculum planning meeting.  Students departed.  Reports written.  Teachers fatigued... and my Head of IT has just announced a major change in the IT curriculum for the following year.  We will be teaching Scratch.  What do I know about Scratch?  I know it’s about programming and primary schools are using it to create endless cartoons about a yellow cat.  Why Scratch?  I realise I have a lot to learn.