14 augusti 2015

Pseudocode and the new languages L++ and M++

This fall semester has just started. I kept my plan to use the "I Wonder..."-lesson as some kind of soft start and I've had one class two days struggle with pseudocode. It was harder than they thought. Much harder!

My plan was to have them blindly do a simple task and afterwards reveal the big secret: what they actually practiced and learned.

I understood 
during the first sub-task (the building phase) when they looked at me as question marks I have to make them understand what is going on. All has now built houses, either in Minecraft or my old architect-LEGO. 

This is something useful to know, understand and learn. Besides, if this construct code is too hard you might should have a second thought about your education. Pseudocode is still much easier to write than "real" code.

But I had to enlighten my students the purpose of the task so they could put their souls into the task. LEGO when you're adult? 17-21 years old? Are you nuts??

Their challenge?
Break something easy (but still a final product) into small steps of actions that someone who doesn't have any background knowledge both can understand as execute. Harder than it seems, that's for sure!

To make it even more difficult, another group of students (practical nurses) has also a course on disability. These practical nurses students, have  often difficults to put into that role not to understand everyday instructions. These students will debug the Business Information Technican students pseudocode (written instructions).

Coding is basically a step-by-step guide for computer to accomplish a task. Now the computer will be a human being, another student with some knowledge of Lego and most certain no knowledge of computers or videogames. Worst of all, it will most certain be a pretty girl... Our own version beauty and the geek haha!

Some of the example (pseudo)code which we've been doing together look like this:

M++ (Minecraft OOP)

L++ (Lego OOP)

What kind of learning takes place?
  • Pseudocode
  • Understanding of object-oriented programming
  • Documentation
  • ICT Helpdesk
As it gives so much learning I will continue with my other classes (all Datanom / Datanomi / Business Information Technican students) and do the same concept as I start to believe it's a useful exercise.

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