The short course is divided into two sessions, each a one-hour class. The first session is a technology presentation; the second session provides hand-on activities. The technology presentation discusses why it is important to learn technology and programming, gives examples of technological innovations and trends, and previews material that will be taught in the second session. The second session will be limited to 20 students. Students who would like to participate in the session will sign up after the first session or will be pre-selected by the school (at the school’s discretion). The technologies taught on the second day are listed below. Due to the accelerated nature of the course, the hands-on activities will be abbreviated, but all the technologies below will be included, and students will have an opportunity to program a line of command for the robot, among other activities. All robotics and technologies are provided.
The course teaches LEGO NXT Mindstorms and will feature the “drag and drop” programming technique. The robot and software are provided. During the class, students are able to learn simple commands and program the robot to accomplish simple tasks.
Scratch is a visual programming language. Created by MIT students, Scratch incorporates the “drag and drop” method, allowing the user to drag different-shaped and color-coded blocks to create a segment of code. Just like any programming language, Scratch has unlimited possibilities: from learning simple concepts like loops to creating full interactive-multi-user games. Scratch is available online and requires only access to the Internet in order to start it.
Java is a general-purpose computer programming language that is class-based and object-oriented. Java remains one of the most popular languages today for the fact that it is made to be “write once, run anywhere” (WORA), meaning that compiled Java code can run on all platforms that support Java, without recompilation. Java is used on the AP Computer Science exam today, and is the most often taught entry-level language. Ideally, the class is taught using Eclipse, an integrated development environment (IDE). It contains a base workspace and an extensible plug-in system for customizing the environment. Eclipse needs to be installed just like any other software on the programmer's computer. However, if the installation cannot be completed, students can learn commands using any Word document or Text editing program available at the school and still get the benefit of learning basics in Java.