I have been neglecting my blog. Code Club sessions and other “coding with student” adventures have occurred and I have not sat down and reflected. Now it is Computer Science Education Week or Hour of Code and I’ve more to say than will fit in one post.
So let me start with how I’ve become a supporter of pair programming.
Coding is generally thought of as one person sitting in front of a computer hacking away at code for hours on end. Most of my programming is done this way – I’ve been known start a coding session and come away with no sense of what time it is. As soon as one feature is implemented, there is always another bug or feature to work on.
I have done some pair programming with my spouse, who is a software engineer. I believe he called it “extreme” programming at first. He drives and I navigate and this works for us.
My Code Club students can choose to work with partners on their own designs. I also pair up math students for Scratch Math Games.
This year I used Code.org’s Pair Programming video to introduce the concept. The video does a nice job modeling pair programming and listing Do’s and Don’t’s. I like that the programmers are girls. My only problem is the one inappropriate bit where one girl tries to stop the other girl from talking by covering up her mouth. That would not be appropriate behavior in elementary school.
Now that both Code Clubs and both math groups have seen the video and we’ve talked about the concept, the teams seem to work better. It’s not all sunshine and roses, but when an issue comes up, we’ll be able to communicate using the same language and expectations. So watch out bossy navigators and drivers who hog the mouse, you’ll be switching roles soon.