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Comment: AgentCubes online for 3D design + programming (Score 1) 107

Scalable Game Design with AgentCubes online ( https://www.agentcubesonline.c... fits the bill as it allows your daughter to create 3D worlds similar to Minecraft but includes the ability to design her own shapes and program them.

Comment: Don't just be reactive, compute the future (Score 1) 294

by the agent man (#47044327) Attached to: Fixing the Pain of Programming
In live programming an attempt is made to reduce the time between a program change and the ability to wittness consequences of this change. In the good old days, with punched cards, this was not a pretty picture as it could take a long time to get to that point. With Conversational Programming, which is a special kind of live programming, we try to go one step further and compute of the program you are writing. A simple version of Conversational Programming has been added to AgentCubes online. You can play with this as part of one of the hour of code tutorials:

+ - Getting more girls interested in programming->

Submitted by the agent man
the agent man (784483) writes "A Colorado Public Radio/NPR piece describes a group of computer scientists and educators from the University of Colorado (CU) at Boulder exploring what it takes to get more girls interested in computer science. In spite of many educational efforts the participation of women in computing jobs is still low. The strategy explored by the Scalable Game Design project is to bring a game design based approach into the classroom by training teachers. The CU team's work to get girls interested in computer science is part of a large scale, long-term project to increase engagement among all underserved populations such as low income students, minorities and rural communities. Interestingly, the key to get more girls excited about computer science is not only to come up with more creative "projects" than, say, computing prime numbers, but to have teachers employ pedagogies so that the teacher and the students explore and solve the problems of creating a game together. The project has brought Scalable Game Design to schools across Colorado, as well as internationally and is collecting student-created games in an online arcade."
Link to Original Source

+ - Excite kids to code by focusing less on coding->

Submitted by the agent man
the agent man (784483) writes "The Hour of Code event taking place December 9-15 has produced a number of tutorials with the goal to excite 10 millions kids to code. It is really interesting to contrast the different pedagogical approaches behind the roughly 30 tutorials. The University of Colorado, Make a 3D Game, Tutorial wants to excite kids to code by focusing less on coding. This pedagogy is based on the idea that coding alone, without non-coding creativity, has a hard time to attract computer science skeptics including a high percentage of girls who think that "programming is hard and boring." Instead, the Make a 3D Game activity has the kids create sharable 3D shapes and 3D worlds in their browsers which then they really want to bring to live — through coding. There is evidence that this strategy works. The article talks about the research exploring how kids get not only excited through game design but that they can later leverage coding skills acquired to make science simulations. Try the activity by yourself or with your kids."
Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:Logo is very easy (Score 1) 299

by the agent man (#44971655) Attached to: How Early Should Kids Learn To Code?
There is quite a body of literature suggesting that Logo is not that easy. More importantly, however, we can show that, with the right combination of tools (e.g., AgentSheet and AgentCubes), curricula (e.g., Scalable Game Design) and pedagogy, teachers with 0 CS background can trained to teach kids programming as early as first grade. Here is an example of a 4th grade class:

Comment: Programming versus Foreign Language: Clarification (Score 1) 299

by the agent man (#44971383) Attached to: How Early Should Kids Learn To Code?

I just like to clarify that the trade off between programming and natural languages (or music) suggested by the title of the WIRED article does NOT reflect the goals of the Scalable Game Design curriculum discussed in the article. In fact, we have many language arts and foreign language teachers participate in the Scalable Game Design project. They find that the idea of game design is a great way to 1) motivate language arts (e.g., the notion of nouns, verbs etc. as design tools for object-oriented programming) and to 2) employ the idea of game design as a cultural bridge used in foreign language learning.

Here is link to some videos showing teachers and students including a video on how to use game design in Spanish classes:

Full disclosure: I am directing the Scalable Game Design project

Comment: Re:That's fairly easy (Score 2) 299

by the agent man (#44970903) Attached to: How Early Should Kids Learn To Code?
Of course there is no point in coercing people into things that they do not want to do. The problem with CS is that, particularly with girls, it has a strong negative perception, e.g., "programming is hard and boring". Our data suggest, however, when introduced to CS in a certain way (with the right tools, curriculum and pedagogy) a very large percentage of students (boys and girls) changes their minds. The strategy is to expose them once in very compelling way. If they don't like it - no problem.

Comment: Re:That's fairly easy (Score 3, Informative) 299

by the agent man (#44969813) Attached to: How Early Should Kids Learn To Code?
No, that does not work. The Scalable Game Design project - discussed in the article - is specifically addressing the problem of broadening participation, e.g., the lack of interest in CS by girls. In other words, the lack of interest is precisely the problem. Our research (with over 10,000 students from all around the USA) suggests that MOST students, boys and girls, CAN be interested in CS through games and can advance from games from STEM simulations. Also, Scalable Game Design is a curriculum, not an afterschool program, that has been integrated into middle schools and even some elementary schools. The key is to 1) find time in existing curriculum to get started (e.g., in keyboarding and powerpointing types of courses) and to 2) transition to relevant STEM topics by teaching kids how to create science simulations. This is part of the new Next Generation Science Standards.

+ - Teach Our Kids to Code->

Submitted by the agent man
the agent man (784483) writes "WIRED Magazine is exploring how early kids should learn to code. One of the challenges is to find the proper time in schools to teach programming. Are teachers at elementary and middle school levels really able to teach this subject? The article suggests that even very young kids can learn to program and list a couple of early experiments as well as more established ideas including the Scalable Game Design curriculum. However, the article also suggests that programming may have to come at the cost of Foreign language learning and music. Judging by the comments this idea is not so well received."
Link to Original Source

Hold on to the root.