Friday, June 18, 2010

Another Semester with Greenfoot

Greenfoot continues to be a productive tool for my high school computer classes. This year we had two students with a strong programming background in the class. This turned out to be both good and bad for the teams. In both cases, the experienced programmers tended to dominate the teams and their work. They became a bottleneck in both teams to one degree or another.

I spent more time in class on project management than I have in prior classes to help deal with this. It worked well, but it didn't relieve all the problems the teams had.

In my classes, I do as much as I can to allow the students to organize themselves and run their own projects. At the high school level, I feel the students are ready for more autonomy as well as the opportunity to struggle with their assignments. I still put up some "guard rails", but as much as possible I let them run their own project teams.

Each team had a unique set of problems to overcome. In both cases, they managed to produce a playable game in spite of the problems. I managed to get every student to spend some time hands-on with their project's code and gain confidence in their ability to code on their own. And in spite of the groups' problems, both teams managed to stick to the class schedule. I build in a small amount of slop time at the end of the project schedule, but for the first time since I've taught this class, the teams had complete working code at the end of the scheduled time.

The high school team projects for the semester are online. We had two development teams:
"Bubbles" was developed by Ryan, Keeghan, and Coleton.
Team blog at: http://anysomething.com/blog/
Finished game is online at: http://www.greenfootgallery.org/scenarios/1416

"Qake" was developed by Eva, Caroline, Ian, and Jeremiah
Team blog is at: http://qakedevelopment.blogspot.com/
Finished game is online at: http://greenfootgallery.org/scenarios/1417

These links are also available on the class web page at: http://acedev.com/education/hscomp.html
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