How To Design a 45-Min Fun Programming Class

The main challenge of a teacher is to make sure his/her students enjoy the session and take back something useful from it. This is true especially for courses that demand a lot of intelligence and creativity from the students like programming. With a lot of distractions around, holding the attention of a student for a whole 45 minute session is not an easy task.

Programming is simply developing and implementing instructions that a computer can understand. This can range from simple to really complex coding and it is a very interesting field to work in. Today, majority of the world’s processes run because of good codes developed by programming experts. Programming is also a widely preferred high paid job position that when done right, can make the world a better place to live in.

From the grocery bill that is generated by a next door store to the precise movement of satellites, almost everything runs with the help of right programming knowledge.

Every successful programmer talks about why it is important for kids to start learning to program codes from their young age. Here is a video of Bill Gates talking to CNN about the same.

Students are easily intimidated by programming. This can be largely attributed to the initial hesitation they have in seeing pages and pages of codes in their books. When taught right, programming is such a fun subject to learn and can be addictive too.

Ensuring the students love the subject depends on how it is taught and who teaches it.  Teachers can instill the joy of trying out new coding and experimenting with creativity in students by creating a carefully drafted course plan and executing it the right way.

This 10 minute video is perfect to show students why computer programming is not hard to learn at all!

(Image by Wiziq Inc. [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons)

(Image by Wiziq Inc. [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons)

Here is a quick way one can design a typical 45 minute programming class and make it interesting, fun and useful. This is just one model that experts have found useful and teachers can take this as a base and develop their own systems to teach.

Starting With an Ice Breaker

Any class or session, when started with a fun note can instantly grab the attention of students. It can be anything from the last night’s game to jokes or an interesting video that can be projected. Research confirms that students tend to listen more attentively for a longer period of time when the class starts with a positive note. A few minutes of ice breaking session should be enough at the beginning.

Knowing Where the Students Stand

It is proven that the audiences get bored when the challenges posed and their skill level do not match. This means that they end up not listening if the information is really simple that they don’t care or is too complex that they don’t understand. Creating a course plan where the students are rightly challenged keeps them engaged.

Keep Theory to The Minimum

Preparing several slides and running them in the projector and talking for hours together is probably the easiest way to put off a student. While theory is inevitable, keeping it short and simple is a sure success formula when it comes to a fun teaching experience.

Fun Quizzes and Exercises

Programming is an art of equal utilization of intelligence and creativity. While one part of the session should involve theoretical discussions, a major part should let the students work on something new and utilize what they have learnt in reality. It is mentioned that a person gets involved with a project when he/she takes at least a little responsibility or ownership to it and is rewarded at the end of it.

For example, if the theory is on robotic programming, asking them to make small changes to the codes to create something new is a very interesting task. It challenges their mind, keeps them engaged, improves team work and is a fun way of learning to code. When their new code works right, students are satisfied, excited and are keen to work more.

Practical exercises can be pushed towards the end of the session, taking anywhere between 15- 20 minutes. Even if students don’t finish the exercise in a single class, it can be taken forward in consecutive sessions.

For those who teach robotic programming, the ROBOTERRA OriginTM Kit and the CastleRockTM Online Learning Platform are perfect teaching mediums. They contain robot kits and a space to code and learn programming from. It ensures hours of interesting learning sessions for students and aims at making teaching a lot of fun.

Keeping the Students Motivated

When a student truly believes in something, he/she makes sure they give their best. Always having a couple of minutes in hand to motivate them and tell them how amazing programming is can do wonders to their mindset.

Talking about top programmers in the world, reading out good articles that discuss latest programming techniques and showing them how a small code can make a huge difference in the way a system functions are all small ways of keeping the crowd engaged.

Programming, when learnt right is one of the most fun and creative fields to work in. As a teacher, it is every programmer’s responsibility to make sure they present the subject in the most interesting and appealing way possible to budding programmers.

RoboTerra, Inc.