Programming and Rubrics: One and the same?

An interesting thing about programming: it gets your brain to think differently. I’ve learned that programming is a bit mind-boggling! Every action has to be thought out thoroughly or the end result may be a disaster.

At one of the meetings with my Cyberix Club members I decided to try a bit of programming or coding. A few of the members had a vague idea of what was involved but when I exposed them to an activity in which one of them ‘became a robot’ and another had to ‘program’ him to follow a set of instructions, it was an eye-opener! They soon came to realize that the directions had to be very specific in order to achieve a satisfactory outcome.

As a teacher, I’m aware that when giving students instructions I must be very clear and precise. It’s that or I can expect a variety of results that I’ll have to accept. I can transfer the idea of programming to the classroom by making sure my set of instructions are specific enough and thus allow each student to produce what I had in mind.  Rubrics come to mind and are used for this purpose. By thinking like a programmer, I just might be able to come up with a rubric that will be so precise in the directions a student must follow that I, as the teacher, should be able to accurately evaluate the student’s performance. Sounds simple, right?

Of course, students are not robots. Each student perceives the world differently, but if I am able to direct his steps by programming each action in such a way as to get the student to create a worthwhile project, then I will have achieved my goal. Whether it be a poster to create awareness for the environment or a robot that can control it, I must be clear in what I want my students to achieve and how they will go about it.

So I will take into account the principles of programming when working out a rubric to evaluate my students.  I will also explore the possibility of getting my students and tech club members to delve into the world of coding. Even if it’s only for the purpose of having them think ‘outside the box.’ That’s all part of the learning process.~~LMM

Cyberix Club robotic exercise

Robotic exercise

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