Pro­gram­ming stu­dents cre­ate code checker.

Pro­gram checks codes for for­mat­ting er­rors

The Kutztown Area Patriot - - FRONT PAGE - By Lisa Mitchell lmitchell@21st-cen­tu­ry­media. com @kutz­town­pa­triot on Twit­ter

“Be­ing able to work as a team is a very im­por­tant part of com­puter pro­gram­ming. It’s some­thing you do ev­ery­day out in the ac­tual field of com­puter pro­gram­ming. They had to learn how to make their dif­fer­ent parts of the project work to­gether.” — Kutz­town com­puter pro­gram­ming teacher Ran­dall Wert

Four Kutz­town High School Level 2 com­puter pro­gram­ming stu­dents cre­ated a code checker pro­gram that can be used by their teacher and fu­ture pro­gram­ming stu­dents.

Kutz­town spring 2017 ju­nior Alex Lanyi, sopho­more Cas­san­dra Friehauf, se­nior Dale Licht­en­wal­ner and ju­nior Shane Kress­ley cre­ated a code checker pro­gram so that other com­puter pro­gram­ming stu­dents and teach­ers could en­ter their code for the pro­gram to check the code for some ba­sic for­mat­ting er­rors and re­port back er­ror mes­sages. The project in­volved html cod­ing and java script run­ning be­hind the scenes.

“Be­ing able to work as a team is a very im­por­tant part of com­puter pro­gram­ming. It’s some­thing you do ev­ery­day out in the ac­tual field of com­puter pro­gram­ming,” said Kutz­town com­puter pro­gram­ming teacher Ran­dall Wert. “They had to learn how to make their dif­fer­ent parts of the project work to­gether.”

For ex­am­ple, in java script, they each wrote dif­fer­ent func­tions and those func­tions need to pass in­for­ma­tion back and forth be­tween them. The html part was the front end the user would see. An­other part of the project was to make the html part and the java script parts com­mu­ni­cate with one an­other suc­cess­fully, said Wert.

“They were very much self-di­rected in how they wrote the pro­gram­ming code to make it work. It was very much stu­dent driven. In fact, when we were de­vel­op­ing ideas, they were very in­ter­ested in writ­ing some­thing that would be use­ful to teach­ers or to fu­ture stu­dents and as it turned out, the idea they came up with was both,” said Wert.

The code checker pro­gram will be help­ful to Wert as he teaches pro­gram­ming in the fu­ture and it will be help­ful to fu­ture pro­gram­ming stu­dents be­cause it will give them some­thing that they can use to check their code, he said.

“I re­ally ad­mire the fact that my stu­dents wanted to write some­thing that would be help­ful to other teach­ers and stu­dents. I thought that was a very noble ob­jec­tive,” he said. “I con­tinue to ad­mire the way that they ran with the idea and came up with their own spe­cific ideas about how to ac­com­plish the project and then de­signed it, tested it, made fur­ther re­fine­ments to it.”

In ad­di­tion to learn­ing pro­gram­ming prin­ci­ples, Wert es­pe­cially hopes they learned how to work to­gether as part of a pro­gram­ming team.

“That is so im­por­tant in the work of ac­tual pro­gram­ming,” he said.

Wert hopes that fu­ture KHS com­puter pro­gram­ming stu­dents will de­velop the code checker pro­gram fur­ther to make it avail­able to stu­dents and teach­ers out­side Kutz­town School District.

Lanyi, who is con­duct­ing a sum­mer in­tern­ship in the KHS server room, said this was a re­ally cool project.

“It’s de­vel­op­ing a skill that we can ac­tu­ally use in the real world,” said the ris­ing se­nior. “We’re cre­at­ing skills that I feel I can use in col­lege. I’m ready to put that on ev­ery re­sume I have for the fu­ture. I think one of the coolest parts of this project was I was the guy who went be­tween stu­dents... It’s not just do­ing some­thing on your own and sub­mit­ting a project; you have to work with other peo­ple... It’s a great way to de­velop the skills you’ll need in an ac­tual busi­ness en­vi­ron­ment.”

Kutz­town Area School District Di­rec­tor of Ed­u­ca­tional Tech­nol­ogy Scott Hand said this is an amaz­ing, au­then­tic project and ap­proach to ed­u­ca­tion.

“What makes this unique is the fact that it is prob­a­bly done in the truest project de­sign sense for project based learn­ing,” said Hand, not­ing that while other team projects are a cul­mi­nat­ing ac­tiv­ity at the end of a course that re­views what was learned, he said this team project en­cour­ages new learn­ing dur­ing project de­vel­op­ment. “True project based learn­ing as it’s done now is where the stu­dent has stu­dent voice and choice and they’re ac­tu­ally do­ing an au­then­tic project that is de­sign and chal­lenged based where they have feed­back into the sys­tem and are de­vel­op­ing some­thing that has an au­then­tic out­put in the real world.”

Hand said the stu­dents have a chal­lenge and a goal they need to at­tain, align­ing it to their in­struc­tional goals and stan­dards.

“They get to have voice into what they are de­sign­ing and they ac­tu­ally go through pro­to­type and de­sign and put it past other peo­ple and see how it works and doesn’t work,” said Hand. “This is some­thing that has au­then­tic learn­ing that has reach and has ten­ta­cles that ex­tend be­yond the school walls... This is some­thing that has longevity that other classes can do and it’s some­thing that other stu­dents and any­body can ab­so­lutely use. So they’re de­vel­op­ing some­thing that is real.”

Hand said this is part of the district’s over­all com­pre­hen­sive vi­sion for com­puter sci­ence ed­u­ca­tion in Kutz­town.

“Next year, we will have el­e­ments of com­pu­ta­tional think­ing and com­puter pro­gram­ming wo­ven into our K-5 cour­ses as well as our mid­dle school and re­quired ninth grade com­puter sci­ence cour­ses,” said Hand.

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