New Orleans, Louisiana
June 26, 2016
June 26, 2016
August 28, 2016
Computing & Information Technology
College computing programs that use hands-on outreach activities to introduce pre-college students to their discipline should ensure that the activities employed will engage their interest and spark a desire to learn more. Programming is an essential skill of most, if not all, computing programs, yet it is also a subject that tends to make students shy away from the discipline. By selecting tools that make the value of programming obvious, and the process of learning more straightforward, the chance of retaining student interest is increased. Given that the outreach sessions are typically less than one hour, communicating the value of programming to various application areas becomes a challenge.
After trying a number of different programming tools in 40-50 minute outreach sessions for K-12 students, experience has shown that using tools that demonstrate programming’s application to physical devices enables participants to immediately grasp the benefit of this skill set. The paper and presentation will share how a specific programming tool for controlling behavior of a physical microcontroller system with input sensors and output devices has been used successfully in outreach programs. The tool allows the user to create flowcharts to depict program logic, has an integrated simulator to test the behavior of the program, and can be downloaded directly to the physical microcontroller to control the physical system.
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