Computer Science in High School

A place to discuss the science of computers and programs, from algorithms to computability.

Formal proofs preferred.

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superglucose
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Postby superglucose » Wed Sep 12, 2007 3:46 am UTC

First: ROP C++/Java, which I took Java so I could take the AP test. I got a 1 :cry: of course, I know why I got a one. The class was free-form, you got the lecture as you needed it... so no one was in exactly in the same place. There were about thirty 'lectures' to go through in supposedly two years. Some people got through five of them a semester (and didn't get that far) while others got through fifteen a semester.

I did about five a week, one per day, solving three different problems, so by the end of the semester I was done with the lectures and so burned out by programming that I took a few months off. Without studying I took the AB test and realized that I had, in the process of becoming the quickest coder in the class's history, learned precisely nothing about what I was doing :oops: Going back, I know the Java language just enough to understand it, but also just too little to do anything really useful. The most impressive thing I did was develop a program where, if you imputed a thirteen-card hand from a normal deck, it could tell if the hand was possible, and determine the best bid if you were playing a game of Spades with it. It also was able to make snide comments if you tried to use its other features... very common in my programs of the time. And yeah, verily did the coder comment "int x=0;" as 'integer, called x. Equals zero.'

Next I took cisco, which was basically (for us) failing the test, copying the answer, retaking the test, getting 100%, and playing starcraft for the remaining forty minutes of a fifty minute class. Fun but not too informative, though I can STILL subnet.

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Postby Cabhan » Wed Sep 12, 2007 4:29 am UTC

My school offered Programming 1, AP Computer Science 2, and AP Computer Science 3. All 3 are taught in Java (they switched from C++ like the year I got there). CS2 was for the AP A exam, and CS3 for the AB exam.

My high school was actually pretty good: we had a good number of people who took the AP exams, and got pretty high scores. The main teacher (who taught all of the APs and 2 periods of Programming 1) was originally a mathematician, but she really knew her stuff. The other teachers were actually coaches who needed to be teachers in order to be coaches. They weren't so great :(.

But overall, it worked out.

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Postby mabufo » Wed Sep 12, 2007 9:09 pm UTC

My school has a single programming class. I find it hard to believe, considering we are pushing 4000 students. Anyway, it's just regular 'ol AP Computer Science - using java. Nothing special.

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Postby Pesto » Wed Sep 12, 2007 10:31 pm UTC

I think my highschool had some sort of programming/computer course. I don't know why I never took it.

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Postby mountaingoat » Fri Sep 14, 2007 12:48 am UTC

one semester: (all in VB6)
Computer Programming 1B
Computer Programming 1C (honors)
Computer Programming 2B
Computer Programming 2C (honors)

two semesters: (java)
Honor's Advanced Computer Programming In Java

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Postby Cai » Fri Sep 14, 2007 1:25 am UTC

I took VB and got an A in it. For some reason it was filled with gangsters and such. Apparently Visual Basic sounds like an easy A? For them, it was not.
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Postby homeobocks » Sat Sep 15, 2007 4:25 am UTC

I rode the year between the C++ curriculum and the Java curriculum, so I got 100% for doing nothing.

Which is actually like a lot of university CS classes. (hmm. a banana is-a fruit or a banana has-a fruit? surely the defining proble of our time)

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Postby Savoy_Truffle » Mon Sep 17, 2007 7:02 am UTC

My old high school CS teacher taught my mom Fortran about 20 years before teaching me Java <3
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Postby jackimurphy » Wed Sep 19, 2007 3:41 am UTC

My high school (Randolph, Massachusetts) offered C++ when I was there (graduated '04). They changed it to Java, but now I'm fairly certain the entire computer department has been scrapped. It's tragic. They also had Computer Science 1, 2, and 3 - 1 was required for everyone, and was the "press that button to turn it on", "that is the mouse" class. I never took 2, but was bored and took 3 my senior year and ended up networking a classroom all by myself. It was fun. They also had a music technology class where you learned to program midis and such, I think.

Now, the school is literally one year from losing all accreditation. I'm just glad I'm gone.

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Postby Benitosimies » Thu Sep 20, 2007 1:28 am UTC

2 years ago, northwest PA:

Classes that taught all the microsoft office apps.

One HTML class
One BASIC class

And one class that sort of went over operating systems and hardware.

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Postby pxc » Thu Sep 20, 2007 3:30 am UTC

At my school, we have a few computer courses outside of Computer Science. Some of them are basically data entry and basic skills classes (there's some kind of business computer skills class, and the introductory "computer science" class is about as useless [they call it "computer programming & tech"]. We also have two web development classes (supposedly pretty fun, pretty cool, but they seem to be built entirely on proprietary [and expensive] software tools like Dreamweaver and Fireworks). I'm not sure about the quality of those courses as I haven't taken them (excepting the CS intro).

Edit: Oh, we also have A+ and Net+ classes (all bookwork, though; haven't taken either).

Once you get into the real computer science classes, you have, in order
    -Windows Programming: this class is a lot of fun, playing around with procedural programming, and you get your first chance to actually deal with code. There's no real knowledge of computer science required for this class.
    -AP Computer Science I (Java): this class is the first real CS class. They try to make you take CT&T and Windows before you can take this class, but if your schedule is tight they'll let you do it right away. It's basically an intro to OOP, and some of the math involved with computer science.
    -AP Computer Science II (Java): this class is as far as I've gone, and I think I have a pretty solid understanding of programming from this course (final project was a Tetris clone a few class buddies and I threw together in a week.
    -IB Computer Science (Java): this is the last CS course my school offers, and up next. We'll see how it goes (it's supposed to be an international course).


Also, at my school, Windows Programming+ are all college level and dual credit.

Edit: You can find my final project from AP II (to give you an idea of the work we did) here.Oops, there goes my interw3bs anonymity. Anyway, it contains a PDF with information on the Java 5 API that I had to write, and an executable jar file demonstrating various search and sort algorithms (extract to view source).

Most kids at my school really interested in CS have taken courses outside of HS for it (I've taken a Linux/Unix class where I got to do bash & awk scripting, one guy I know taught himself C++, another is trying to learn it himself now, and another of my friends is teaching himself Perl).

Edit: By now, have I reached tl;dr?

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Postby HSG » Fri Sep 21, 2007 3:36 am UTC

Web Design
-Teaches the basics of web design with the second half of the class devoted to learning Ruby on Rails.

Programming in Java
-Basic Java programming, mostly graphical.

AP Computer Science(I'm taking this one this year)
-Java

Advanced Programming Seminar
-People who have taken APCS sitting around and writing whatever they feel like.

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Postby ABFA00 » Tue Sep 25, 2007 6:24 pm UTC

Mine (Dryden High School in NY) was:
- Computer Science


The course "taught us Java" and went like this..

For notes,
Teacher: "Here are the notes. Type them, print them out, and hand them in for a grade."

For most in class work,
Teacher: "Do* the program on page X"
(10 minutes later)
Student: "OK, I'm done."
Teacher: "Good, now do the one on page Y"

*Where the program on the page has already been written, and Do just means type it into Notepad, compile it, and run it- if there are errors, go through your file in notepad line by line and compare to the book until you find where you messed up.

When someone couldn't figure out what was wrong with the code:
Teacher: "Hmm, I don't know. Ryan [student in the class], can you please come here?"

Sometimes we did actual assignments. In one we taught ourselves how to bypass websense to get to game websites, so we could review five that were made with Java. Half of the rest were making applets that used a certain number of shapes, lines, text, and colors, with varying themes. The other have pretty much involved making alerts and occasionally displaying stuff at the end.

Second to last week before Christmas:
Teacher: "I was going to have you do a Christmas themed assignment, but we're going to watch A Christmas Story instead. Bring your permission slips next class."
Last week before Christmas:
Teacher: "Do I have everyone's permission slips? No? Oh well. Movie time!"


Oh, and the class was actually in the Business department. The place had a million business courses, but the only two that had anything to do with actually using computers were this one (which I don't think is offered anymore) and one where you learned to type, and also do resumes and things like that. I've seen the textbook (aka binder full of papers) for that one and it looks like if I'd had to take it I'd probably have died of boredom.

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Postby vanyali » Tue Sep 25, 2007 10:52 pm UTC

My high school has an incredibly good computer science program, and the following courses are available:

Computer Science / Accelerated Computer Science
-- Basic comp sci course, programming in Java
AP Computer Science
-- The AP comp sci course
Artificial Intelligence
-- Studying Artificial Intelligence, Python in a Linux environment is used.
Computer Architecture
-- Programming in C in a Linux environment, studying computer architectures.
Supercomputing Applications
-- Programming in FORTRAN in several UNIX environments on a Cray SV-1 supercomputer
Comparative Languages
-- Programming in PHP, MySQL, LISP, Prolog, Postscript, and other languages in a Linux environment.

There are also a few other semester courses.

The computer systems lab at my school has about 40 computers running Debian GNU/Linux, as well as a Cray SV-1 supercomputer, a Beowulf cluster, and a few stacks of servers (And other things, but those are the most impressive). There's not one trace of Microsoft products around the lab.

Yeah, it's pretty good CS department. :)
Last edited by vanyali on Tue Sep 25, 2007 10:56 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby Xeio » Tue Sep 25, 2007 10:56 pm UTC

My high school programming classes were, bad, to say the least. The first year I had the class they had not had it in like 3 years (no one had shown interest apparently). Not only that, but the compiler and book was ridiculously old. It didn't help that the teacher had never taught the class before either, and didn't know any C++.

The second year we actually got new books/compilers installed, but by then it was just basically a fancy free period, unless you count the 10 minutes of work a week one person did that the rest of the class copied (I was usually the one doing the work too... *sigh*).

Looking back, the most complicated thing I did at the time was a program to convert numbers to/from roman numerals, and it was hard at the time. I wonder how many memory leaks and bad programming practices I used to use.

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Re: Computer Science in High School

Postby Lucien » Thu Sep 27, 2007 3:29 pm UTC

My high school only had a "Tech" class and a "Drafting" class.

You would take Tech 1, 2, and 3.

Or you would take Drafting 1, 2, and 3.

Then you would take the "Advanced tech" class, which put the tech kids and drafting kids together.

The tech class had some computer and programming elements to it. Mostly it was about analyzing a problem and designing a solution to it. For the first three years, a problem would be something like "How can we open a soda can with legos" or "How could we deliver an egg to another classroom with legos".... Most of our projects were done with legos and the mindstorm stuff (programmed instructions from a computer to mechanical lego parts).

The fourth year, we started using the shop to make things with wood/plastic/metal. We weren't allowed to constuct anything until we had modeled/designed/drafted it.

This is the most high-tech we ever got. :(

I blame the rich kids.

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Re: Computer Science in High School

Postby tylerni7 » Thu Sep 27, 2007 7:25 pm UTC

My school offers HTML and Visual Basic... That's almost worse than not having any programming classes, because, well HTML isn't programming, and Visual Basic just teaches crappy coding skills.

I'm planning on taking the AP Computer Science exam, and I don't think any staff at my school could even pass it (there may be some students that I haven't met that could, but I doubt it)

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Re: Computer Science in High School

Postby Nath » Thu Sep 27, 2007 9:10 pm UTC

Lucien wrote:The tech class had some computer and programming elements to it. Mostly it was about analyzing a problem and designing a solution to it. For the first three years, a problem would be something like "How can we open a soda can with legos" or "How could we deliver an egg to another classroom with legos".... Most of our projects were done with legos and the mindstorm stuff (programmed instructions from a computer to mechanical lego parts).

The fourth year, we started using the shop to make things with wood/plastic/metal. We weren't allowed to constuct anything until we had modeled/designed/drafted it.

This is the most high-tech we ever got. :(

That actually sounds like fun, and not entirely useless.

I was taught some C++ in high school. Unfortunately, the instructor didn't really know what he was doing. I ended up having to unlearn a lot of that stuff later on. Still, it was nice to have had some exposure to programming (beyond playing around on my own time) before I went to college.

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Re: Computer Science in High School

Postby Kadomox » Fri Sep 28, 2007 12:14 am UTC

Currently in HS, University high TN

Technology (basics in photoshop and java)
Graphics and web design(higher level photoshop, intro to flash and farther java exploration)
Advanced programming( Rotates between visual baisic and C++ on a yearly basis)

Just your basics, my high school is on the campus of ETSU which has a fairly good graphics program. I took all classes except advanced programming because it would have been a visual basic year. Also I felt that i could learn this on my own so i just took a math.
Image

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Re: Computer Science in High School

Postby Lucien » Fri Sep 28, 2007 11:41 am UTC

Nath wrote:
Lucien wrote:The tech class had some computer and programming elements to it. Mostly it was about analyzing a problem and designing a solution to it. For the first three years, a problem would be something like "How can we open a soda can with legos" or "How could we deliver an egg to another classroom with legos".... Most of our projects were done with legos and the mindstorm stuff (programmed instructions from a computer to mechanical lego parts).

The fourth year, we started using the shop to make things with wood/plastic/metal. We weren't allowed to constuct anything until we had modeled/designed/drafted it.

This is the most high-tech we ever got. :(

That actually sounds like fun, and not entirely useless.

I was taught some C++ in high school. Unfortunately, the instructor didn't really know what he was doing. I ended up having to unlearn a lot of that stuff later on. Still, it was nice to have had some exposure to programming (beyond playing around on my own time) before I went to college.


Boy, was it ever fun.

Only in the fourth year were we actually allowed to legitimately break the "projectile" barrier imposed by the teachers.

And did we ever!

Trebuchets, catapults, ballistas... Air powered, chemical powered, magnetic powered...

The most fun one was designing an air-compression-launched rocket that would deliver an egg intact. It was *very* difficult, but lots of fun.

As for the actual programming, not many students got into it. Most commands they did were along the lines of "If the touch sensor goes off, stop the motor" (car hit a wall). The control blocks for the mindstorms only had three sensor plugs, and three motor plugs. The real trick was figuring out how to use programming to allow more creative use of limited inputs.

That was about the point where I realized I could do a lot of really cool stuff with programming.

The only actual computer programming I've ever learned happened in the Air Force (and how little use it has had for me).

Edit: very very few of our ballistic programs involved the mindstorms/programming kit. There was one where we designed tanks that would roll around and shoot golf balls into a target (or at each other).

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Re: Computer Science in High School

Postby maxliving » Sat Sep 29, 2007 10:54 am UTC

My high school (Stuyvesant HS, NYC) offers the following:

One mandatory semester Intro to CompSci (Netlogo, Scheme, Python)
Introduction to computer programming (Python)
AP CS (Java)
System Level Programming (C, Unix, other stuff that I have yet to find out because I'm taking the class now)
Computer Graphics

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Re: Computer Science in High School

Postby solacelost » Mon Oct 01, 2007 12:16 am UTC

In Collier County, FL they offered Computer Programming 1, which was VB, which made me want to shoot myself. I wonder if it should be considered torture to make you use VB, especially if you already know it (and are ashamed of it).

Then AP Comp Sci AB and AP Comp Sci BC were C++, with BC being basically just AB with more in the way of different algorithms/different data structures and techniques for optimization, etc.

They required Comp Prog before APCS AB, and required APCS AB before BC. I had lots of other AP courses, which eat up one core class and one elective instead of just one core credit, so I couldn't take BC.

The entire APCS AB/BC group had one classroom together, all eight of us. We did a case study at the end of the year together, with the BC students helping AB students learn a little more, writing a simulation program.

I was the only AB student to get a 5 on the exam; all three BC students did.

The year after us, AP switched to Java. I learned some Java over the summer just for fun... and because it's so similar to C++ that it was ridiculously easy.
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Re: Computer Science in High School

Postby ks_physicist » Tue Oct 02, 2007 2:29 am UTC

maxliving wrote:My high school (Stuyvesant HS, NYC) offers the following:

One mandatory semester Intro to CompSci (Netlogo, Scheme, Python)
Introduction to computer programming (Python)
AP CS (Java)
System Level Programming (C, Unix, other stuff that I have yet to find out because I'm taking the class now)
Computer Graphics


Stuyvesant's reputation precedes you. Good school.

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Re: Computer Science in High School

Postby rrwoods » Wed Oct 10, 2007 6:38 pm UTC

maxliving wrote:Introduction to computer programming (Python)

WIN
31/M/taken/US
age/gender/interest/country

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Re: Computer Science in High School

Postby aleflamedyud » Thu Oct 11, 2007 5:15 am UTC

maxliving wrote:My high school (Stuyvesant HS, NYC) offers the following:

One mandatory semester Intro to CompSci (Netlogo, Scheme, Python)
Introduction to computer programming (Python)
AP CS (Java)
System Level Programming (C, Unix, other stuff that I have yet to find out because I'm taking the class now)
Computer Graphics

I believe that technically qualifies as "ill". Do well in that System Programming course and you can probably get into whatever college CS department you want outside of the Top 4 (you need to write a program that cures cancer or brings world peace to get into those).
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Re: Computer Science in High School

Postby Geekthras » Thu Oct 11, 2007 5:31 am UTC

Unfortunately:
Introduction to Computer Programming (Java)
as what you can do in Freshman year.


On the other hand, it basically meant fun-time for an experienced programmer. I learned CLisp at the same time.


How to teach me a programming language:
Give me a compiler
Give me ideas for programs
Give me docs for any functions I could possible use
Set me free for a month
???
Profit!
Wait. With a SPOON?!

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Re: Computer Science in High School

Postby aleflamedyud » Thu Oct 11, 2007 3:54 pm UTC

Which is why you take the CS AP and get exempted from Intro to Java?
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Re: Computer Science in High School

Postby Hexadecimator » Sun Oct 14, 2007 2:51 am UTC

Intro to CS: How computers work and a little VB. Tested out of it :P
Intro to C++: Just that, very basic C++. All I did here was brush up on the syntax, as I had been programming in various other languages since I was 10.
AP Java: Taking it next year, looks like they use J#. Given that I have written full-featured games in C#, should be cake.

This is actually fairly pitiful when you take into account that around 1/4 of the school has parents working for MS, but there were only 6 kids in C++. CS classes aren't even listed on the forms you fill out to sign up for classes; you have to write it in as 'other' :(.

My middle school had a mandatory 'computer literacy' class. Tested out of that as well, but they tought kids how to use word and how to type properly (which I never learned to do, though I can now touch type improperly).
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Re: Computer Science in High School

Postby Cass » Sun Oct 14, 2007 6:24 am UTC

My HS has no programing courses and our electronics course consists of me having our tech teacher order me parts and work with them during my spare. Been trying to slowly teach myself Basic for PIC's and C++ but my school is useless outside of English and history courses. Thats the problem with going to a school with 800 students.
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Re: Computer Science in High School

Postby Sulla158 » Tue Oct 16, 2007 1:48 am UTC

My school has a Programming class which was 1/2 QBASIC and 1/2 Visual Basic. I think they're going to start an AP class next year though, but it'll be too late as I'll have graduated.
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Re: Computer Science in High School

Postby immute » Tue Oct 30, 2007 9:37 pm UTC

Our school (Brandon Valley in SD) has really crappy CS options.
We have
+ Computer Applications (Idiots Guide to MS Office)
+ Web Design (Idiots Guide to MS FrontPage)
+ Multimedia / Desktop Publishing
+ Basic Programming ( Idiots Guide to Visual Basic 2005 )
+ A+ ( idiots guide to hardware )

Even my CIS 130 college class (visual basic) and CSC150 ( Computer Science I, C++ ) are really easy.
The CS class is basically learning C++ since all I know right now is Perl. :?

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Re: Computer Science in High School

Postby Plague » Tue Oct 30, 2007 10:13 pm UTC

Mine was (and is today, I think)

CS (Java)
APCS AB (Java)
APCS BC (Java)

Too bad they didn't teach C++ I've just started college and classes are suddenly harder, probably because of pointers.
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Re: Computer Science in High School

Postby headprogrammingczar » Wed Oct 31, 2007 12:17 pm UTC

My High School (South Lakes (in Reston)), teaches pre-IB Computer Science (Java syntax), IB Computer Science (OOP concepts in Java), and Programming (VB.NET 2.0, and JavaScript). The big problem IB has, is that the examiners for the final exam don't accept aptly named get___() and set___() as understandable.
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Re: Computer Science in High School

Postby sickmate » Wed Oct 31, 2007 2:00 pm UTC

My school offered AIT (Applied Information Technology) and Computer Fundamentals.
Both are horrible courses, one of those ones where you learn how to make brochures and write in HTML in Notepad! Lol.
This is for year 11.

For next year I requested to do the actual Computer Science course (which was offered by the Education Department but not by my school) and I'll be able to do it in my own private study working at my own pace, which isn't too bad.

I really cant stand basic Computer classes though. I remember back in year 9 I did a terms work in one lesson.

sickmate 8)

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Re:

Postby Katastrophy » Wed Oct 31, 2007 6:22 pm UTC

zenten wrote:
Mittins wrote:I never took any computer science courses in HS, which is odd considering I've gone into Computer Engineering as my major in university.

Literally all of my programming knowledge is self-taught. They don't teach you how to program in university - they teach you other stuff (like data structures & algorithms). You're just sort of expected to know how to program.

Anyway, from what I've heard (friends that DID take CS in HS): They learn Turing first year, VB the next and finally Java in the third (there's no CS course offered in grade 9).


My first year computer science course taught you (in the first class/lab) how to use email, and how to use a floppy disk. They did end up teaching us how to program though, but that's a CS major. I know the electrical engineers were taught how to program as well, but I don't know for certain about computer engineers.


That's about how my first year course went too. The rest got better though...

Grade 10 Comp Sci - HTML and web design; Visual Basic, involving all the basics (if, loops, etc) and ending in some simple animation
Grade 11 Comp Sci - Visual Basic .Net, some algorithms such as bubble sort, made some games at the end of the year
Grade 11 Comp Eng - Basic internal parts of the computer, how to install Windows, how to take a PC apart.
Grade 12 Comp Sci - Never took it, but they taught Java
Grade 12 Comp Eng - I'd have trouble saying what I learned here, because the course was a mash up of 4 different engineering courses across grade 11 and 12. More specifics on parts of a computer, and how to build a robot out of a floppy drive. I think some Turing too.
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Re: Computer Science in High School

Postby fortyseventeen » Wed Oct 31, 2007 8:05 pm UTC

I'm a home-taught geek and I'm proud of it! My pop let me hack HyperCard at 5, and taught me the basics of computer architecture and CS theory. I've taught myself nearly every language I know, though.

I never really went to a "traditional" high school, so I wouldn't know about the availability of the related classes. IMO, though, languages are no barrier to the computer-apt; they're just the medium between theory and hardware, the two parts that really matter.

EDIT: Oh, I did try a few summer courses at the university as a 'tween. Hardly enlightening, though. (Dreamweaver instructor: "screw frames and tables! lay out everything in panels!")
Last edited by fortyseventeen on Wed Oct 31, 2007 8:21 pm UTC, edited 2 times in total.
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MuseSik
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Re: Computer Science in High School

Postby MuseSik » Wed Oct 31, 2007 8:18 pm UTC

I actually went to a magnet school, as a CS major, for high school.
All classes listed below were the requirements for each year.

Freshman:
CS I - Visual Basic

Sophomore:
CS II - C++
Multimedia - Basic HTML, Flash, Poser, True Space, and a bunch of other random programs

Junior
CS III - C++
Website Maintenance I - HTML, Action Script, JavaScript

Senior
CS IV AP - Java
Website Maintenance II - HTML, PHP, ASP

Our senior year was the first year they did Java, before that, IV was just another year of C++. From what I hear they are removing C++ all together and going from VB straight to Java.

Nevermore-Burning
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Re: Computer Science in High School

Postby Nevermore-Burning » Sat Nov 03, 2007 3:31 pm UTC

High School is the 11-16 bracket of education, yes?

Here, I'm considered advanced for wanting to code a form in html, php and JavaScript instead of clicking the pre-arranged buttons in Dreamweaver.

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aleflamedyud
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Re: Computer Science in High School

Postby aleflamedyud » Sat Nov 03, 2007 8:20 pm UTC

And they haven't even heard of development that doesn't involve web pages?

AGH! I HATE WEB 2.0!
"With kindness comes naïveté. Courage becomes foolhardiness. And dedication has no reward. If you can't accept any of that, you are not fit to be a graduate student."


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