Programming class added to next year’s course offerings

Jessica Nguyen , Editor-in-Chief & News Editor

A programming course is being offered to students for the 2014-2015 school year. Not previously offered before, the new course has brought in about 18 potential students. (subject to change, new numbers have not come in yet)

“It sounded too cool to be true,” junior Kristin Lam said. “Once I read the flyer I got really excited and I knew right away I wanted to make space for it in my schedule and signed up during lunch that day.”

The applicable aspect of programming draws students to take the class.

“Engineering and computer science is a field I’m interested in,” Lam said. “This hands-on [class] will introduce me to a practical application of physics and calculus.”

Junior Evan Guerra also scheduled the course into his schedule.

“I’m taking this course for both life experience and career choice,” Guerra said. “I’ll probably end up somewhere in the math, science [or] engineering [field] so I figured this course would help cover some basic concepts and skills.

The program is being funded by the district’s site budget for staffing and instructional programs.

Students who take programming will gain elective credits that fulfill the state requirements for a high school diploma in the VAPA category if they have not previously been enrolled in a visual and performing arts class or foreign language.

The course will be taught by math teacher and robotics specialist Jamiel Khan who has an extensive background in programming.

“This class is all hands-on,” Khan said. “It’s going to be very much business-focused. Learning programming is one thing but learning it in a practical sense is [different].”

Students will also be using online textbooks for the first time along with other coding programs.

“We’re going to be programming in a language called Small Basic,” Khan said. “Small Basic is made as an introduction to programming. It’s a good jumping off point into business oriented programming like C++.

Also, it’s free for students and the school,” Khan added.

The class will be structured so that students will be separated into groups that will each have a specific task to complete for a “client.” Each team member will have a part to build that will ultimately be put together as one giant program.

The “client” will then approve or disapprove the program. If disapproved, the group will then have to make modifications to the program.

“They will learn a lot of business oriented skills, organization skills, and logic skills,” Khan said. “After taking this class, they should be able to go into any programming class and learn any other programming language without any trouble.”

Students will also write small video game programs and participate in presentations.

“Next year I hope to learn some fundamental programming skills and get a head start for college classes,” Lam said. “Having prior knowledge and experience will be extremely valuable in competitive programs, but I signed up to have fun too!”

Whether it be for life experience, career exploration, or simply to have fun, students look forward to what the programming class will have to offer next year.

“Programming isn’t just about knowing how to program,” Khan said. “It’s about knowing how to program and then learning everything you can about the program, company and business you are programming for.”