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#1 macosxnerd101  Icon User is online

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High School CS & IT Programs

Posted 22 June 2009 - 05:22 AM

In my school system, each high school houses a specialty center focusing on a specific area like Government, Leadership & Economics; IT; Math & Science; Humanities; Engineering; etc. My high school houses the specialty center for IT (CIT for short). At the high school level, how do you all think CS and IT programs should be set up (classes, grade level requisites for certain classes, etc.)? Please discuss.

The CIT I'm enrolled in is set up like this:

Freshman: Foundations (# bases, boolean gates, business pm, algorithms, html, sql, Java), Geometry or Algebra II (only upon previous completion of geometry)

Sophomores: Project Management, Algebra II (if not already completed), Intro. to Java (w/chairman approval)

Juniors: Intro to Java, Web Design & Development, AP Comp. Sci (w/Java as prerequisite), Discrete Math (with reccommendation of Discrete teacher or CIT chairman)

Seniors: Internship (can be completed in summer), Pick 1: AP CS, Discrete, Database. Note that if the internship is done over the summer, pick minimum 2 electives.


I personally think geometry & algebra II should be taught for freshman, so they can take their math analysis course as sophomores (in CIT, getting a really strong foundation), then having AP Calc BC as juniors and Multi-Variable calc as seniors. In addition, I think the Project Management stuff should either be canned or taught as Software PM (component development, OOP, group work, commenting) with Java so students can take AP CS as juniors or with ActionScript to help out in the Web D&D class. Also, the only class that is duel enrolled is Discrete Math. I think we need more duel enrolled courses.

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Replies To: High School CS & IT Programs

#2 Langretz  Icon User is offline

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Re: High School CS & IT Programs

Posted 26 June 2009 - 05:44 AM

View Postmacosxnerd101, on 22 Jun, 2009 - 04:22 AM, said:

In my school system, each high school houses a specialty center focusing on a specific area like Government, Leadership & Economics; IT; Math & Science; Humanities; Engineering; etc. My high school houses the specialty center for IT (CIT for short). At the high school level, how do you all think CS and IT programs should be set up (classes, grade level requisites for certain classes, etc.)? Please discuss.

The CIT I'm enrolled in is set up like this:

Freshman: Foundations (# bases, boolean gates, business pm, algorithms, html, sql, Java), Geometry or Algebra II (only upon previous completion of geometry)

Sophomores: Project Management, Algebra II (if not already completed), Intro. to Java (w/chairman approval)

Juniors: Intro to Java, Web Design & Development, AP Comp. Sci (w/Java as prerequisite), Discrete Math (with reccommendation of Discrete teacher or CIT chairman)

Seniors: Internship (can be completed in summer), Pick 1: AP CS, Discrete, Database. Note that if the internship is done over the summer, pick minimum 2 electives.


I personally think geometry & algebra II should be taught for freshman, so they can take their math analysis course as sophomores (in CIT, getting a really strong foundation), then having AP Calc BC as juniors and Multi-Variable calc as seniors. In addition, I think the Project Management stuff should either be canned or taught as Software PM (component development, OOP, group work, commenting) with Java so students can take AP CS as juniors or with ActionScript to help out in the Web D&D class. Also, the only class that is duel enrolled is Discrete Math. I think we need more duel enrolled courses.



Sounds like you have a really nice and well funded High School. My high school just had Two VB classes ( VB1 and VB2), a C++ course, and one on Web development. It doesn't sound like much, even with those couple courses, I still started college with more knowledge in the subject matter than most of the Freshman did. But Algebra II definitely shouldn't be required of incoming Freshman, I think so because because not all the kids coming into high school necessarily know what computer science is in middle school ya know, and not everyone coming to HS has already completed Algebra in middle school. So making kids start off their High school career taking Algebra II might turn some kids off from even trying out the program in the first place.

But I don't see why Discrete math needs a recommendation on their Junior year, If a student has already completed both Geometry and Algebra II, the only place they have to go next really is Pre-Calc/Calculus. And I don't see why Intro to Java is kept all the way until Junior year either, I was ready to start mad coding by my Sophmore year. After I learned the basics of coding my Freshman year in VB1 I was already wanting to do C++ and had to wait until Junior year myself, that was a huge bummer for me. Plus if students already have a year of real coding under their belt, the AP Computer Science course will be a lot easier for students I think, instead of doing it all in one year. But all in all, it sounds like an okay setup how they have it. High school isn't college.
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#3 macosxnerd101  Icon User is online

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Re: High School CS & IT Programs

Posted 26 June 2009 - 06:52 AM

@Langretz: Every student who enters the center must have completed Algebra I beforehand. Most freshman generally take Geometry, but those who have completed Geometry go to Algebra II, and take Precalc/Trig as Sophomores. The reason Discrete Math requires a recommendation is b/c it is a college credit/college level math course. And really, anyone that wants to sign up gets the recommendation, though most juniors don't pursue that option. And I agree with you, I think the Intro. Java class should be for sophomores instead of PM. Following that, everyone should take the AP CS class as juniors, and then there should be a Java Certification or Advanced Topics in CS elective class for seniors. The way the center is set up now, though, sophomores who excel in Java can take the intro class as sophomores with approval from the chairman. I paved the way for this when the intro. class was still AP CS A. For next year, I could take Discrete or AP CS, though I'm electing for AP CS b/c Discrete isn't a duel enrolled course until the following year.
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#4 erik.price  Icon User is offline

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Re: High School CS & IT Programs

Posted 26 June 2009 - 12:07 PM

I want to go to your school!

All we have at my school is VB 1 & 2 (half year courses), Computer Science in Java (half year), and AP Java (full year).

It's not like we don't have the money to fund new programs (I live in a fairly affluent town where all the students buy their way out of suspensions and drug possession charges seem to vanish).

As for how it should be set up, I really like the schedule you have at your school. It seems pretty balanced out.
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#5 xclite  Icon User is offline

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Re: High School CS & IT Programs

Posted 26 June 2009 - 12:15 PM

My school's CS department wasn't well funded, but the instructor was genius. Our curriculum was:

First course: History of computers, general information, the hell that is BASIC.
Second course: Pascal
Third course: Java
Fourth/Fifth were internships through Lockheed Martin (I only had the time to do one).
All in all, despite learning BASIC and Pascal, of which I know very little, the man easily got across many concepts that Virginia Tech's professors try so hard to instill, and that many of my classmates cannot grasp from these professors. If you can get a good (and hard) instructor, it's so worth it.
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#6 macosxnerd101  Icon User is online

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Re: High School CS & IT Programs

Posted 26 June 2009 - 01:08 PM

@Erik.Price: It is pretty cool to have this center. My county is, save for the northern area of my state, the most affluent county on the East Cost. And what's really cool is that each high school has these specialty centers. Others include Government/Leadership/Economics, Language Immersion, Math & Science, IB, Arts, Engineering, Humanities & Teaching. I'm sorry your school doesn't offer something like this. Overall, the theory behind the classes is pretty good. I just wish we had stronger PM, Intro. to Java & Database classes. All the other classes are really strong.

@Xclite: I agree with you about teachers. My freshman year, the CIT chairman taught the freshman foundations course. I went in with a base knowledge of HTML only. I feel though, that every class was worthwhile and that I learned something new. He had a really intricate and detailed knowledge of his subject area, and I was able to pick it up from him. Essentially, students got out of it what they put in. And in addition, he curved quizzes and tests to prevent students' grades from getting screwed. He was more interested in us learning the material, and if we tried, he met us halfway.
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#7 Shidash  Icon User is offline

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Re: High School CS & IT Programs

Posted 02 July 2009 - 10:51 PM

That sounds pretty good for a high school! My old school only had a couple of courses in the high school section on computer science, but at a very basic level which I passed before finishing middle school. Now I am lucky and go to a school where I can take college classes at a major university. Basically, I have tons of courses available. I focus on computer science and mathematics.

Most people are not so lucky. But if you have an interest, there are ways to pursue it even if classes are not offered. Personally, I think that schools should allow more students to pursue college courses online, at community colleges, and nearby universities. Also, everyone learns at a different pace and wants to focus on certain areas. Some people know what they want to do as early as middle school. If that is the case, let them learn about a specific area. Many students move faster or slower in class progression. Let them take a self paced course. It is important for people to establish their own study plans rather than working within the boundaries of the school.

Amazing things can happen when you take the initiative to break free of boundaries. Only you know what you are capable of and what you want to do in life. Get experience early and learn about yourself through that experience. I like the idea of the internship because work experience is such an important part of learning. I have learned more from my experience as a volunteer game programmer and other positions than any class. Things obviously worked out with me taking the initiative. I have an internship at the MIT Media Lab and I am only going into my sophomore year of high school.

In short: Find what you love. Always be on the lookout for opportunities and don't let any requirements or limitations hold you back. There are always multiple options.

One thing that schools could do better with is making these other options more apparent and looking at each student individually rather than having grade prerequisites.

Keep in mind that schools cannot provide everything. It is their job to give you the basic skill set for you to use in order to find what you would like to pursue, not to fully train you.
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