Thursday, 28 February 2013

Primary School Computer Science - 'Struggleware'

I thought you might like to read this blog from Anthony Evans titled Coding, Computer Science and iPads - My Current View. It's quite an interesting and useful article that touches on many of the current issues surrounding the enthusiasm for computer science and coding in the classroom. He touches upon he frustration of the lack of apps to help to teach children to code, but then goes on to give the reader lots of examples of apps and PC based programs to help develop this area in the primary school. I was also interested in the opening paragraph which talks about the iPad:

"If a school invests wholesale in a set of iPads  then the ICT curriculum for these children can be based largely around internet research, movie making and a collection of multimedia authoring apps. And though I love my iPads and iPad lessons the aspect of struggle or challenge for children using these devices is not always apparent or indeed talked about."

I like the idea of 'struggle' and the idea of 'struggleware'. Software that makes the user problem solve to get something to work, not just passively consuming. This is what attracted me several years ago to Bamzooki, and observing how most children (and some teachers!) enjoyed the struggle to create a Zook, to certain set criteria, that can be so rewarding. There's the opportunity for pupils to succeed, to improve, to fail and to learn from the failures.

Video of showing the highlights from heat 4 of the Newport Bamzooki Challenge

"If there is no struggle there is no progress." Frederick Douglass