NCLab at Cottonwood ES

Cottonwood ES in Fernley, NV decided to teach introductory computer programming with NCLab. I visited to facilitate their first class. At the entrance, I was impressed by an airport-like terminal with touch screen in place of the good old signup sheet. Enter your name, print your boarding pass, go.

The first group of kids to go through the self-paced Karel course are fourth-graders. Before starting the course, the kids took a pre-test in algorithmic thinking. Here is a sample question. The full test is available to subscribing schools and to NCLab partner schools.

Some of the kids actually looked more like 2nd or 3rd graders, but they got it quickly as usual and took off on their own.

At the end of the day I learned that some of the teachers were worried about a university guy coming to work with their kids (perhaps they expected someone to throw definitions, theorems, and proofs on their students). But then I was told that I was quite good with the kids, actually. Ya!

The other teachers who came watch liked the Karel course as well as the 3D modeling one so much that we will be back at Cottonwood soon, training the teachers.