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JiNbOtAk
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« on: Apr 20th, 2015, 6:42pm »
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I was browsing the other day and found this site : http://lightbot.com/hocflash.html
 
It's a game which trains the user to think similar to programmers, to prepare them to the world of coding. Just wondering, is there anyone here who had used this app before to teach programming? If yes, how successful is it as a teaching / training tool?
 
I'm planning to use the app to teach a beginner's course in using MS-Excel, since I feel that a programmer's approach is not that different from a spreadsheet user (or spreadsheet programmer. Is there such a thing?) My target audience (generally) has no programming background, or even spreadsheet background (other than using the spreadsheet as a ready made table format). What do you guys think, would using this app be useful in training someone to use a spreadsheet software effectively?
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rloginunix
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Re: Lightbot  
« Reply #1 on: Apr 21st, 2015, 9:22am »
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What is the predominant age (and background) of your target audience?
 
 
I personally never used this particular program and I am not a professional teacher but from my past experience of teaching (C) programming to my kids and overall encounters with people in professional life I see that the younger audience tends to be very receptive to this sort of teaching aids while the older folks tend to shy away from the "thingy" - meaning for them it is equally difficult to overcome the resistance or inertia whether they have to deal with spreadsheets or play a themed game on a computer, in which case you might as well cut to the chase.
 
 
(As far as spreadsheet programmers - yes, in US there are job descriptions like "spreadsheet programmer", "spreadsheet developer" or "spreadsheet analyst")
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JiNbOtAk
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Re: Lightbot  
« Reply #2 on: Apr 21st, 2015, 10:17pm »
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There are largely two groups; the 1st are the 25 - 35 years old, the second are the 40 - 50 years old. I understand that older folks tend to have an aversion to computers, its just that I want the participant to comprehend that spreadsheet software is just a tool; you have to instruct the tool for specific tasks. Just teaching them various formulaes  and tricks would not enable them to use the programme for its intended purpose.  
 
Incidentally, we don't have spreadsheet programmers/developer, at least not in the civil service. Any automation has to be done by the end user. Which makes it all the more important for the end users to use the tool effectively (i.e. automating the repetitive process(es) as much as possible)
 
Do you have any suggestions on how to improve / change the mindset of these participants ?
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rmsgrey
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Re: Lightbot  
« Reply #3 on: Apr 22nd, 2015, 4:14am »
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Personally, I prefer Manufactoria - less directly programming, but requires similar patterns of thought, and, at least for me, I find it more fun.
 
http://pleasingfungus.com/Manufactoria/
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rloginunix
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Re: Lightbot  
« Reply #4 on: Apr 22nd, 2015, 9:14am »
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In that case I think you can not go wrong with using a game as an introduction to a computer-related work. Your program or Manufactoria (a Turing Machine in disguise) - degrees of the same thing. The first program I did with my kids was a well known number-guessing game - guess a number between 1 and 100 - which we wrote in two roles - we guess what number computer "thought" of and then the computer guesses the number we thought of, a binary search in disguise which is way too involved for your case.
 
I would also suggest looking at the game of Scratch from MIT: https://scratch.mit.edu. It is easy and fun.
 
I think your first group will catch on quickly and you will have to work at it a bit with the second group. Would be interesting to hear the results some time later. Best of luck.
 
 
[edit]
spelling fix, "to" became "too".
[/edit]
« Last Edit: Apr 22nd, 2015, 3:11pm by rloginunix » IP Logged
JiNbOtAk
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Re: Lightbot  
« Reply #5 on: Apr 22nd, 2015, 8:34pm »
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Thanks guys!! Will definitely check out the linked sites.
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SMQ
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Re: Lightbot  
« Reply #6 on: May 2nd, 2015, 4:13am »
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Jahooma's Logic Box is another one I've enjoyed, although only the first 10 levels are free and they're not terribly interesting except for the final one.  The paid levels introduce a number of interesting mechanics that parallel stacks, queues, lists, trees, etc. all within the simple manipulate-a-string-by-combining-boxes mechanic.  If you enjoy the first 10, it's well worth the $10 for the rest of the game.  That might not work so well as a teaching tool, though.
 
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rmsgrey
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Re: Lightbot  
« Reply #7 on: May 2nd, 2015, 10:45am »
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More lightbot: http://ptstech.net/lightbot2.html
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