Day 15: Distilling how to use Participatory Live Coding in-person and online - Tip 9 and 10

By Yanina Bellini Saibene in Education Community 100DaysToOffload 30Ship30

May 20, 2024

three person pointing a silver laptop computer screen

Foto de Ilya Pavlov en Unsplash

Today, we talk about one of the biggest fears of teachers using Participatory Live Coding: Making mistakes.

Spoiler Alert: not only is it okay to make mistakes, but they are also an excellent opportunity for teaching.

We also discuss another way to engage students when teaching with Participatory Live Coding.

Tip 9. Embrace your mistakes.

Even if you know and follow your lesson well, you will likely make mistakes while demonstrating how to program live. It’s okay that it happens (since it’s what happens in real life when we program), and it can be an excellent opportunity to show how to debug. The instructor making mistakes also allows the learners to make and share theirs. This way of dealing with mistakes is called “positive error framing,” which benefits learning.

When an error occurs, stop, read it aloud, and explain how you determined what happened. Highlight which part of the error text gives you a clue that helps you diagnose and resolve it. Then go back to the code and show what element(s) in the code throw the error. It helps when you clarify what every piece of the code is doing by creating new examples showing why an error is thrown in one situation but not in another. You can also involve the learners in problem-solving by asking them what they think went wrong and how to fix it.

If you have time, use the error to do a “live searching”: show how to search for an error on the internet, refine that search, read the results, and determine which one is the closest to your problem. For example, teach how to read the help pages or Stack Overflow’s questions and answers. You can also involve the learners in the problem-solving by asking them what they think went wrong and how it can be fixed.

Online you can ask the student having an error to share their screen, and the whole class works together to solve it using these strategies.

Tip 10. Turn learners into co-instructors.

During participatory live coding, learners actively code with the instructor. You can engage them even more in different ways:

  • have learners call out the next line of code they think you, as an instructor, should type next. It helps you understand any misunderstandings learners might have and have them practice applying the material taught. 

  • ask them to take notes collaboratively, using an online note-taking document they can edit. Having learners discuss and verbalize the material they just learned in their own words helps solidify their knowledge. When you need to manage a diverse classroom where you have a range of experience and expertise amongst your learners, asking the more experienced learners to contribute may also help keep them motivated.

  • made them work together, Peer-to-peer instruction is the most effective scalable teaching practice we know. We can use it to reinforce the participatory live coding lesson. 

Here is how I merge Participatory Live Coding and Peer-instruction when teaching online:

  • We do participatory lived coding between 10 and 20 minutes.

  • I send them to the breakout room in groups of 3 or 4 students to solve an exercise. (bigger groups create subgroups, or someone doesn’t participate).

  • The exercise is very similar to what we did during the participatory live coding.

  • Before going to the breakout room, I give the instructions: how much time they have to solve the exercise (between 10 to 20 minutes), a student shares a screen, and they program together to solve it.

  • I have a timer. When time is up, they return to the common room, and we talk about how it went and their problems and questions. We go over these details. It is a good time to let them share the screen to see their problems or solutions, especially if they solved the exercise differently.

This strategy allows them to reinforce the learning by doing during the live coding and then one more time in groups.

You can use different  types of exercises for group work, like fill-in-the-blank, Parson problems, and interactive tutorials that provide different types of scaffolding.

It takes 15 to 30 seconds to get everyone into the rooms. One or two will initially struggle in a class of forty, but it helps keep your students well-motivated and attentive.

We finished the series about teaching an active and engaging programming class using Participatory Live Coding.

Posted on:
May 20, 2024
4 minute read, 733 words
Education Community 100DaysToOffload 30Ship30
Education Community 100DaysToOffload 30Ship30
See Also:
Proyecto 2 - Las Estrellas del Universo R
Project 2 - The Stars of R-Universe
Project 1 - rOpenSci's Code of Conduct and Code of Conduct Committee