I have just started teaching at a new school and many of my students would like to do programming in their IT course with me. They used Scratch a few years ago however this was not challenging enough for some.
Can anyone recommend any other more challenging programs I could use with them? Does anyone have a more advanced programming unit they wouldn't mind sharing with me?
I actually am very new to programming as well, however with working in an IB school, I really want to challenge my students.
Any advice or suggestions would be great!
I tried to respond to you earlier, but for some reason, Moodle didn't take, so hopefully, this time it will work. You might want to try Alice through Carnegie Mellon.
It's free and meant to make programming fun and provides a good foundation for more difficult programming to come. Apparently, the students who create video games at the school start learning on that program before progressing to other stuff. Plus, its origins are just cool. One of the founders of the program was Dr. Randy Pausch of the " " fame. He talks about the Alice program among other things in his last lecture at the school.
I started my programming students out on Jeroo. The website provides a free application download and free curriculum. It helps the students to understand the concepts of OOP. You can move though this pretty quickly.
Then I moved the students on to Java. The language is free, and there are many free IDEs. I used Dr Java.
There are numerous free e-textbooks too.
I also used this site with examples and an online compiler for review. CodingBat
I had some students that were up to the challenge and it worked well.
Have fun with it!
I don't know if this is the type of thing you are looking for, but I use a product called the Boe-Bot. It uses BASIC (actually PBASIC) computer language to make a robot run.
The documentation is terrific. The product website is www.parallax.com/go/boebot
There is also the Lego NXT. It uses an icon oriented programming language. I find it cumbersome to say the least
Hope this helps,
If you decide on Alice, google Alice at Duke University. They have several tutorials that were written by middle school / high school teachers. They also offer teacher training in the summer. I was lucky enough to attend a few summers ago. The tutorials are very good and your best and brightest students can be self-paced.
Best of luck, Bob
I like Scratch, but as some have said, it can be a little weird and buggy and difficult to make anything robust or complex.
I have also taught students (7th & 8th grade) how to make multimedia, interactive ebooks and games using Flash with ActionScript (but this requires buying Flash and/or Adobe Creative Suite)
For basic introductions to programming and the process of thinking about AI and logical conditions, I use Microsoft's Kodu GameLab. It's a free download, and lets you create games that run on Windows or Xbox. However, the games are built using pre-made graphics, so it is not completely open-ended (however, you can use the built-in 3D models and terrain editor in creative ways, including puzzle games, racing games, sports games, you can be pretty creative with it.)
If you want something more complex and even professional, there are a variety of fantastic game development engines you can now download for free, such as Unreal Developers Kit, Blender (this is better as a 3D modeling tool than programming system, from what I understand), Shiva, and Unity 3D <-- I am currently using Unity to create a game that will run on Mac, PC, Android, or iPad. It's quite a complex system at first, but one good thing about Unity is that it is more popular and therefore has more support materials than some other ones -- I invested in 2 books (in Kindle format to save money) which have proved invaluable: Unity 3.x Game Development by Example -- Beginner's Guide, and Unity 3.x Game Development Essentials.
I'll let everybody know when my game becomes the next Angry Birds.