Admittedly, the group and the site have been a little dormant for awhile now. I’ve been focusing on my teaching position as a programming instructor and other responsibilities but I have not given up on the Ocala I.T. Professionals. Now that we’re heading into 2019 and I’ve freed up some time, I’ve been thinking of new ways in which this group can serve the community.
CodeScholar is a new project that I’m developing to provide an accessible software development curriculum for teachers and self-teachers. While there’s a ton of resources out there for learning how to code, many focus on the mechanics of a single language without explaining the broader concepts and best practices. Many are written by developers for (aspiring) developers and might leave you with a sink-or-swim feeling as you pick your way through incomplete answers and abandoned message threads that don’t quite apply.
As a programming instructor, I’ve spent the last couple of years searching the web for the best resources I could find for my students as they struggled to understand concepts such as database normalization and object-oriented programming. I’ve successfully guided students to earn Microsoft certifications in database design and software development and now I want to make that program available online.
I’m still working out some of the details of the program but there are a few defining features that you’ll be seeing –
- The lessons will be specifically designed for use by educators – either classroom instructors or self-educators. Each lesson will be designed to fit within a curriculum timeline and will include a complete, modular lesson with a stated purpose, goal, assessment, definitions and suggested resources.
- All contributors to the CodeScholar curriculum will be experienced educators with classroom experience and will be evaluated in advance for their ability to design clear lessons.
- CodeScholar will be centered on cross-language principles rather than a specific language or technology. Multiple tracks can be developed to teach specific languages but the focus will remain on principles such as object-oriented programming, variable use, best practices, etc..
- The system will be designed to grow organically over time and adapt to new technologies.
Software Development is an engineering discipline as well as an art. It’s important that aspiring programmers learn best practices and all the other aspects of building elegant and robust solutions and working within the field if they are going to be successful. That’s why student-focused training materials developed by professionals are required. The typical piecemeal approach in which aspiring programmers learn enough language elements and coding tricks to complete each project will not produce the kind of professionals that businesses need long-term.
In addition to its other features, CodeScholar will be developed online, right here on OcalaITPros.com together with my own site at ComeauSoftware.com. You will have the chance to watch and provide input on the entire process and I want your input! If CodeScholar is going to be the awesome tool I want it to be, I need as much feedback as possible. If you are a professional teacher with classroom experience and would like to contribute ideas and even complete lessons to the project, I’d like to hear from you.
You can start by following CodeScholar on Twitter (#CodeScholar) and keeping up with its progress and news about other training efforts around the world. Hope to see you there!