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Susan Canaga Computer Science Teacher (Former Software Dev Manager)

The Hunt for the Wombat continues! The project was received with a bit of disbelief that there was actually some work of substance to be done after the AP tests. But we grabbed our darts and power cells, and seven students began working in two teams on this project.

One period has five students on the team, and a snag came when over the half the team was going on an English field trip. When I signed their permissions forms, I reminded them to let the dev lead know about their “personal leave request” and asked how it would be scheduled into the project plan. There were some interesting raised eyebrows.

The other period has a two person team, and they made an argument that because there were only two of them, they should not be expected to get as much done. I asked, “Do you think it will be easy for the other team to combine all their parts?” Raised eyebrows again.

So we're off on the Wombat's trail. What hazards have we encountered so far?

  • No design. The teams jumped to coding...class documentation is pretty much viewed as busy work to satisfy the teacher.
  • Lack of time Reading. The course content, code archive and samples provide many tips to help the students figure out the technical and design challenges...but wanting to get to the action, these were initially underused. I pointed these resources out to the Dev Leads and encouraged them to promote them with their teams.
  • Refreshing (our) Memory. In reading the Cave Connections text file, students had to refresh their memory on string manipulation and multi-dimensional array processing.

Our victories...

  • Creating Test Beds. Students quickly appreciated the value of getting small sections of code working and programming “stubs.“
  • Displaying Graphics and Forms. After reading the course content and code archive, students were successful in displaying graphics and forms...which was a major motivator. If it looks good...it must be good!?
  • Building the Cave. Designing and processing the cave was another major milestone since it is pretty much the foundation of the system. Again, once students realized the value of the course resources, this went fairly quickly.

Later this week, the teams will swap code and documentation for the code review. I am interested to see how they evaluate each other and for them to see different algorithm designs for the same problem.

Susan

Posted on Monday, June 5, 2006 5:52 PM For Teachers | Back to top


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