Programming students create code checker.
Program checks codes for formatting errors
“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.