Reactive Programming for KidsReactive Programming for Kidshttp://www.haverford.edu/calendar/details/217391CS Teaching Lab, KINSC H110, Haverford College2012-10-11T13:00:002012-10-11T14:00:00
October 11,2012 1:00PM–2:00PM
CS Teaching Lab, KINSC H110, Haverford College
John Peterson, Ph.D., Western State Colorado University
Computer science is fundamentally intertwined with the use of language: how do we express ourselves through programs? Nowhere is this problem more important or less understood than in education - what language should we teach undergraduates in? High school students? Middle school students? This talk will address the issues of language and education. What context should programming first be presented in? What sort of language is able to strike a balance between expressiveness and simplicity? What sort of balance between creative and analytical skills should there be? What kind of a learning environment will motivate kids?
The Western Computer Camp is a week long experience for middle school students in which we use game engine programming to explore a wide variety of topics in computer science, math, physics, and design. Our goal is to present computing as a means to explore a wide range of topics in a creative way. Activities in the camp explore topics such as projectile motion, control systems, calculus and trigonometry, modeling and simulation, object oriented programming, and 3-D modeling.
Our software environment is based on Functional Reactive Programming (FRP), a framework for integrating time flow into the semantics of a conventional programming language. I will describe an implementation of FRP in Python, built on top of the Panda3D game engine, and demonstrate the programs used in the camp and work our campers have done. This talk should be interesting to anyone interested in computing, math, physics, or K12 education.
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