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Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Eleven Plus Programs

We have another Scratch workshop coming up. Some eleven plus children are computer literate. This can mean that some children are very good at looking games up on You Tube, other children can play computer games with considerable enthusiasm. There are even children who can use a search engine to help with homework and then write about what they have learned in a word processor.

We also have eleven plus children with us who do not have a computer at home. These children do not have the luxury over being able to spend time applying what they have learnt at school. One of our eleven plus girls wanted to watch CBEEBIES as none of her family had a computer and she REALLY wanted to try it out. She maintained that her teachers at school did not allow her to watch BBC IPLAYER at school.

How will she ever be able to become an engineer? Of course she may not want to go down this route as she may decide to become to work in a department where she administers a MRI Scanner. There may come a time, however, when she needs some knowledge of the programs that help to run her scanner.

Scratch was created by the Lifelong Kindergarten group at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Scratch takes core concepts of programming and makes them accessible to all. Children (and adults) use a drag and drop environment – but the children have to solve problems and use programming language.

In this case an embryo programmer has made a program to round decimals. I have no idea why the background was chosen. Perhaps the child lived near a remote stream? Why too were so many numbers in the question? How many decimal places should the question be rounded to? Your ten year old should be able to answer these questions easily – and go on to improve and develop the program. Is this REAL eleven plus work?

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