By Marwa Kotb.
In this post I will explore some of the most recent educational technology trends related to programming, one of latest trends on 2015 is that programming learners will be able to write code directly into the browser, codeschool started this alternative learning style unlike others that still rely only on plain videos, with codeschool learners watch a short video, then stop and practice what they learned through a series of interactive coding challenges and assessments all in the browser. I am personally fond of using codeschool as a learning platform, I learnt Ruby programming through their tutorials and videos, but with this trend learning will be a more interactive experience, I didn’t get to try the new trend yet but it is definitely more engaging and effective, we should expect to see much more of this trend with other coding schools and apps in the near future (Skonnard, 2015, February 3), to get prepared to integrate this new trend into my classes is to practice it myself, I can select a new course available in codeschool I am interested to learn, then start learning the course content along with experiencing using this new trend.
One of the hottest trends of 2015 is the flipped classroom, it is a form of blended learning where students watch video lectures outside of class to learn course content online, and then do their homework in class with the guidance of their educators (EDUCAUSE, 2012, February 7), currently it is used in programming classrooms as students watch short videos explaining programming concepts and the class time is used to implement and practice these concepts , I am interested in using flipped classrooms approach, recently I started seeing videos to get prepared, I personally recommend videos I watched last week on linda.com explaining how we could use flipped classroom approach as well as tools for making good effective videos for flipped classroom, the videos on linda.com were quite helpful and informative.
As ownership of smartphones and tablets grows there is increasing interest in how they might be used to support learning and teaching, both in the classroom and beyond, that’s why I selected the third trend to be mobile learning, I use coding apps available on smartphones and tablets to enhance learning and provide me with powerful analytics to measure student responses. Free apps such as scratch, Lightbot and Hopscotch are good tools to warm-up to learn programming, although these apps are aimed for kids but I personally use some during my courses, it’s fun and does a surprisingly thorough job of introducing some complicated concepts of programming. Other apps such as codecademy’s lessons can be also used as a start, codeacademy use a split screen where the top half of the screen contains text explaining an important concept then at lower screen the learner is required to complete a task, the app is very helpful in which it assesses the code written by the learner showing where code went wrong and gives a hint on how to make the code work properly (Eaton, 2014, August 27).
When students are more confident and skillful, they can move to another set of apps such as Udacity Learn Programming app, it teaches some of the fundamentals of computer science, web development, programming languages, it also provide some interactive popup quizzes during lessons to engage students. I lately used this app in teaching Python and Java. Few months ago I took a course using Udemy app, the experience was positive, I recommended it to use in case learners need to learn a new course on their own, at later stages apps such as Udemy will be beneficial as learners will need to be totally responsible of updating their knowledge, I try to experiment as many recent mobile apps related to programming as I can, but I usually end up using one or two new apps, I need to feel convinced that the app I picked to use is going to help me to achieve my learning goals, I need to feel confident when using the app that only happen when I am comfortable, to be comfortable I must take time to practice using the app I am interested to use in my courses.
No doubt recently I started to lean more towards using educational technology tools in my courses, like many educators I try to stay up to date, but before incorporating any new trend I must be sure I am well prepared to use it, in general no matter what educational trends I am interested to use, I start collecting data on it, I read articles, use online videos, tutorials or attend workshops whenever possible, I try to engage students in the tools selection, listen to their feedback and new recommendations, I don’t feel annoyed to say frankly to my students that this is the first time for me as a educator to use this trend and I need their support, I always believe although I am the educator but the most valuable lessons I have learnt were from my students.
Eaton K. (2014, August 27)Programming Apps Teach the Basics of Code. The NewYork Times. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/28/technology/personaltech/get-cracking-on-learning-computer-code.html?_r=0
EDUCAUSE. (2012, February 7). 7 things you should know about: Flipped classrooms. Retrieved from http://www.educause.edu/library/resources/7-things-you-should-know-about-flipped-classrooms
Skonnard E. (2015, February3). 5 Top Trends in Education Technology 2015. INC. Retrieved from http://www.inc.com/aaron-skonnard/5-top-trends-in-education-technology-2015.html