On a recent walk-through visit, I was impressed to see how one teacher had solved the challenge of answering every student’s question at the same time.
In our Programming course, Gustav Bonds has found a way for students to get feedback “automatically” while training their skills. He has created an application where students read lines of code, answer questions and solve problems based on their comprehension of the code. This application generates random lines of code according to meaningful patterns. It is the task of the student to understand the function of each line and figure out the final output value of the program. Once the students feel they have solved the task, they can submit their answer and get automated feedback – correct or incorrect. If the student got the task incorrect, the system generates an automated response specific to the line of code and the type of error the student has made. In addition, the application offers suggestions of what the student can do to improve this aspect of their learning. The application is a timed exercise that also keeps tracks of “stars” spurring the students on in a friendly, gaming approach.
And, meanwhile … the students in the class who are not working with this application can spend time writing code and talking one-on-one with Gustav to get helpful feedback.
So, in what seemed to be a crowded classroom, students were training both reading comprehension of code, as well as writing code themselves. All students were engaged at the same time. Students could move at their own pace and their own ability level. All students were getting formative feedback to improve their work. And, with the help of this home-built application, the teacher was able to answer everyone’s questions at the same time.
Well done, Gustav!