|Teachers take on 'Frogger', computer programming at CU-Boulder|
|By Scott Schlaufman For the Camera|
Boulder Daily Camera
|Posted:06/25/2010 10:41:05 PM MDT|
For students, it's a little nice to know that teachers aren't perfect.
On Friday, 22 teachers from all over the country took to a boardroom at the ATLAS Institute on the University of Colorado campus to learn about computer programming. Part of that was creating a version of the classic video game "Frogger."
When it came to having moving logs for their 2D frogs to jump on, some of the teachers struggled. Some frogs fell into the virtual rivers, other teachers just had their logs get stuck next to each other.
Perfection? Probably not, but on the first day of a three-day workshop called "Computer Science for High School," the goal was to help teachers take away a better understanding of computer programming.
"Rather than saying, 'Well, everybody ought to be interested in computers,' what we feel is people should understand what computers can do," said Clayton Lewis, one of the faculty members of the workshop and a professor at CU.
The workshop is put on by Google and the Scalable Game Design Initiative, whose mission is to educate students in computer science starting at the middle school level. The initiative is headed by CU staff, including Lewis and Alexander Repenning, who created the AgentSheets software used in the initiative.
Valerie Salas, who teaches special education, science and English at a high school in Bernalillo, N.M., is involved with a technology club and felt like she didn't have the knowledge to help lead her students.
"I'm doing all different kinds of computer conferences over the summer, hoping to get the skills I need to help my students because (technology) is the future," Salas said.
The hope is that when teachers such as Salas leave, they can use the technology to enhance the classroom experience. As an example, Lewis has a program that simulates the foraging patterns of ants, which leave pheromone trails after they've found food, making it easier for other ants to follow.
"The type of thing that could be done in a science classroom is use a model like this and then start experimenting with different aspects of this behavior," Lewis said.
Salas wasn't sure how she would incorporate the technology into her classroom but knew that she would at least use it to help out the technology club. Late in the first day, she was having a good time.
"If I can enjoy it, my students, who probably have a better knowledge base than I, will really enjoy it," Salas said. "I'm hoping, anyway."