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Misconceptions About Programming


Today, programming is needed in almost all spheres of life, but still, it seems that learning this is not the most interesting occupation in the world. But if to collect and test real robots at the lesson of computer science – you will not be bored.

1. Programming Is Difficult and Boring

That is what some parents think about programming when they recall their school computer science lessons. Memorization of algorithms and thick books on Pascal with a set of commands are sure nightmares for many people. It is good if someone could draw at least a square or circle on the computer screen with the help of his or her knowledge (and making the figure blinking was considered the highest aerobatics at all).

Modern children are different. Instead of indefinitely repeating theory, they assemble amusing robots and program them. That is, they force them to ride, bend over, move different things. And all because advanced teachers of computer science use an innovative educational program more often.

It is not just boxes with erector set and motors, but sets for a school: ready-made design tasks, schemes, progress sheets and necessary software. All this helps children make different robots (and whole models for experiments in physics, biology, technology and other subjects). Teachers, by the way, do not have to prepare for classes until late: they have already devised detailed plans for each lesson and gladly share them with everyone.

Robots connect to a tablet, smartphone or computer via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. And the clear visual programming language LabView, which is used by scientists from all over the world, helps command them. When a child learns this language, it will be easier to switch to Java or C ++ (the platform supports even them). And if you need to do your homework on programming, then you can always go to and find professional help there.

2. This Is Absolutely Not Creative Activity

Possibilities of models are limited only by imagination of a child and teachers. A robot can be taught to follow a given trajectory, go through a labyrinth, sort colored balls, patrol territory (and rush into an offender with the same balls). All these skills are basic and are described in detail in the instructions that come with the kit. But this is not the limit! Once you include imagination – and a robot already solves crossword puzzles, collects a Rubik's cube or plays chess.

All these are examples of projects that help a student sharpen skills of system thinking in general, introduce engineering and project competencies and modern technologies – for example, with computer vision. And the technological secret is simple – special motors and sensors (of colors, rotations, touches and others) that are attached to a robot. If they are programmed, they do real miracles.

Last year, sixth graders of the Physics and Mathematics Lyceum developed an ecological project to clean the ocean! And they built a model of the robot: it determines where the most rubbish is, floats to it and extracts it from the water. And then, it moors in a port and unloads waste, which is conveyed to a processing line with a conveyor.

To build this device and install all necessary sensors, guys had to take details from several sets at once. One cannot believe that one can build such a perfect mechanism – and even manage it with code.

3. Programming Is Only for High School Students

It seems that a child of 7-10 years has not reached the point of programming yet. Nevertheless, this age is best suited for learning the basics of coding in a game form. A child picks up everything in a jiffy, quickly remembers, and most importantly – it is easy to interest him or her.

This is ideal age for the development of STEM-competence – Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics. For example, it can be represented in the following form.

The application, where it is needed to compose algorithms, looks like an ordinary computer game. Elements of the program code are multi-colored blocks on a screen of a tablet or computer. Children drag and put them in the right sequence. Or they build a machine and teach it to recognize obstacles on its way (this is the principle of robotic vacuum cleaners). Gradually, from simple dragging blocks, a child moves on to more complex tasks.

It is important to understand that this is not just another toy for children's room, but a large-scale educational program. Therefore, the company that develops this cooperates mainly with schools and additional education centers. Accordingly, if people want their children to easily understand principles of algorithms, it makes sense to talk about this program with a director of an educational institution (instead of looking for such a set for home and experimenting with it yourself).

4. You Need Math for Programming (and If You Do Not Know It, You Can Not Do It)

Lessons of programming develop not only mathematics, but also memory and ability to think logically, they also broaden horizons. And in general, the basis of programming is not math at all, but algorithms that can describe any process, from cleaning up to passing a computer game. Ability to add five-digit numbers in mind, of course, will be a plus, but it is quite possible to do without this.

It turns out that when children come up with algorithms for robots, they do not get distracted by mathematical equations with three unknowns. Rather, they learn to think more broadly – to optimize processes and to systematically approach solution of problems. Agree, not all adults can boast of this. On the other hand, such education carries abstract and incomprehensible mathematical formulas into real life. For example, a child sees (and most importantly, understands) how length of a wheel circumference affects distance that a robot passes. It is not so difficult to reconcile with such simple and visual mathematics.

5. A Child Can Become Closed and Unsociable

Any technological devices have long been invented not by introverted inventors, but by a friendly team – no wonder large IT companies employ 50,000 people (and sometimes even more). With such an educational program, students do not stick to their computers, but generate joint projects. You can arrange robot races or put them on a duel against each other. In general, learning in this format helps children find a common language (and in all senses of the word).

By the way, about competitions: such programming is also a chance to get to the World Olympiad of robots. So, children can get acquainted with the same enthusiastic students from other countries and win an international medal. Prizes and medals are common merits of talented students, teachers, coaches and companies, which introduces the latest technologies into education.

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