Thursday, January 5, 2017

Small Basic Calculator Apps.

Introduction to Calculator Apps challenge:
The Calculator apps for math formulas challenge by Ashiedu Jude, sourced inspirations from the Computer Science Education Week: csedweek.org, Hour of Code: code.org and Microsoft Small Basic, as an initiative to encourage computer programming at an early age for students. And to improve the quality of education as part of the Sustainable Development Global Goals.
Professional development programmes with Connecting classrooms/Core skills/International Schools Award programme by the British Council, Microsoft in Education, Hack the classroom, Edmodo and Skype in the classroom, broadened my horizon.  

However, the Calculator app challenge takes a different approach, the prominent idea that allow students write codes for math formulas they used in their math classes. Which will provide them the added advantage of creating a software alternative to what they do manually.

Skills learnt by students using this approach are problem solving with algorithms and critical thinking coupled with digital literacy advantages (Screenshots, publishing etc.), which are all 21st century skills within and outside the classroom.

There will be eLearning platforms for the calculator apps project, for teachers who need standard assessment tools, on Canvas, Moodle cloud, Microsoft in Education and Edmodo websites.

The mission of Calculator Apps challenge:
The vision of the project is to create and promote standard assessments framework on classroom Coding activities in maths. As this is critical to a global framework for school authorities and stakeholders to build assessment tools for computer programming classes in elementary and high schools respectively.

The calculator apps math challenge will standardise assessment worthy coding activities by 70%-80% in participatory classrooms around the world between two to five years; which would become a requisite in various computer science and ICT curriculums.
You can read my previous article “Hour of Code: Teaching problem solving skills in classroom”.

Other coding languages:
The programming language for this lesson is Small Basic, which is in no way restricting other computer programming languages i.e. (Thonny Python, Java, Scratch, C++ etc), that are already being used in some classrooms. The difference will be in presenting your project as i.e. Small Basic Calculator apps, Python Calculator apps.  

Top ten (10) benefits of calculator apps projects to each student:
1.       Problem solving skills are learnt understanding Algorithms.
2.      Critical thinking skills learnt during coding and  debugging programs.
3.      Digital literacy skills through publishing and proper  documentation of codes.
4.      Computer programming skills via App creation.
5.    Numeracy and analytical skills converting math formulas into algorithms and 
computer codes; which are the core of software development.
6.      Career focus and possibly taking up computer science in future.
7.      Accurate and efficient curricula assessment of individual student’s ability in 
coding.
8.      Advancing the use Small Basic into Visual Studio.
9.      Better chances of understanding how math formulas are created.
10.    Fun all the way as they expand their horizon on personal coding  activities.
     

Skype in the Classroom sessions:
To promote the ideals of the Small Basic Calculator apps challenge, there will be several ongoing Skype sessions via Skype in the Classroom website, for teachers of participating classrooms, who would agree and setup guidelines that are peculiar to both classrooms.
  
This is a list of calculator apps Skype in the classroom tips, that can be implemented by teachers, to help connect students to the project:

1. Teachers should discuss what the coding activity will be all about beforehand. 
The use of flashcards carrying a single line of code will help in visualizing students experience.

2. The first school sends less than 8 lines of code to the other to debug in a short time 1 mins.

3. Or classrooms exchange codes via their teachers and give to students, who debug, and share results during a Skype session. Teachers are not allowed to help debug the codes. Codes used should be well understood by both classrooms.

4. Or classrooms exchange algorithms and students are expected to convert it to small basic codes. And results presented during a Skype session.

5. Or "Debug my code challenge" during a Skype session a classroom displays some buggy codes (5-8) lines on flashcards to a guest classroom who are typing the codes simultaneously, while they debug real-time.

6. Tell or write me a code (flashcards). A classroom tells the other a code verbally, while the other type the codes and run it.

7. “Tell me what my code can do”. A classroom designs a code, other classroom read decode the purpose of the code.

8. Code presentation by classrooms. Each classroom explains details of their codes line by line; while each classroom takes turn in RUNNING the code, to see how it works.

9. Code flashcards during Skype sessions between classrooms. Type codes you see on the other classroom flashcards.

10. This is in no wise an exhaustive list of the calculator apps Skye in the Classroom activities; therefore, it is important teachers share with other teachers on this blog or social media, what worked, what didn’t, and tweaks made to help the experience.


Calculator apps on Social Media:
Join teachers worldwide on social media (Facebook and Twitter) who are talking about their Calculator apps classroom projects:    @edujetage

Facebook and Twitter live events and classroom demonstrations will come up periodically.

You can post general comments to other teachers on the page @edujetage.

Share mini video clips and photos of your Skype in the classroom Calculator apps activities, tips that worked and students’ excitement, with other teachers and classrooms to celebrate.

The Facebook and Twitter private message inbox will be available, for special comments, concerns and requests or external communications.

NOTE: Please do remember to use the hashtags, if you would also want to spread the word, on your personal Instagram, snapchat, Pinterest, LinkedIn and social media accounts that we do not cover yet.

I will also appreciate your comments about calculator apps on this blog.

Please send emails only on official communications: edujetage@gmail.com



Download Links:
Download links for Calculator Apps PowerPoint instructional lesson:

SlideShare:


Download link for zipped file Small Basic pdf, setup & .NET 4.6 setup here:
 https://1drv.ms/u/s!AqMQcWOoCDS5gQbmTWaA_hGLVx6g


Download link for Small Basic programming language:

Download link for .NET ver. 4.6 (backbone for Small Basic to run):

External download links for Small Basic resources:
http://social.technet.microsoft.com/wiki/contents/articles/16299.small-basic-curriculum.aspx



Let the games begin!