Programming, Python, and Student-Directed Projects

The Advanced Programming unit in the ACT Senior Secondary Curriculum provides students with an opportunity to encounter computer science concepts usually reserved for first and second year tertiary education. The implementation of this course at Gungahlin College has focused on providing students with a spattering of these concepts (such as recursion, regex and big-o notation), and then allowing the students to identify a field of computer science to dive into. This is spaced out over a semester, requiring the students to research their chosen computer science concept, and go through the experience of writing a python application capable of providing a practical implementation of that concept. Each year, these projects are reviewed by a panel of tertiary education lecturers and representatives, and have consistently been deemed as equivalent to projects delivered by second or third year IT undergraduates. A lot of the success of this programme can be attributed to the approaches taken with the delivery of the subject, as well as the adoption of Python as the language of choice. This presentation will overview the classroom environment, and how using Python and systems like Grok Learning have enabled a far more student directed approach. The students from this programme will then be given the opportunity to demonstrate their findings and discuss the impacts this approach has had on their education.

Presented by

Edwin Griffin

Edwin began teaching IT in the Senior Secondary Sector of the ACT in 2012. Since then he has used a variety of langauges and platforms for delivery, from Basic, to C# and finally Python. Teaching at Gungahlin College since 2014, the school now has the highest number of IT enrolments of any secondary college in the ACT, and their student projects are reviewed by local university academics and industry professionals at a standard equivalent to third year computer science undergraduates. Multiple workshops are held at the college throughout the year to help support local schools education of IT, provide students with industry connections, and allow local industries to see what the students are capable of. He believes that IT is an incredible tool that can be combined with a variety of passions to create some truly unqiue and world changing things. If all students are taught IT foundations, in addition to the problem solving skills and knowledge they'll aqcuire, it will open of a host possibilities that they may never have thought of.