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Contents

"I've taught VB, C++, and Java. Many areas in Basic Moves are applicable to all these classes." - Richard V., college programming teacher.

"Teachers who aren't programmers can be comfortable using it and have the kids be comfortable." - Dan R., high school pre-engineering teacher.

The easiest & fastest way to
get a hands-on grasp of the
core concepts in coding,
and "think computer".
Basic Moves in School

Contents

Overcoming Challenges
How It Works
In a Computer Literacy Course
In a Computer Science Course
In a Home School
Learning App Content
Technical Features
Not "One Size Fits All"

Overcoming Challenges    Top of Page

Learning how to "think computer" is an excellent foundation for all types of technical education. Developing software develops logical thinking, detailed thinking, and systematic thinking, central in all types of science and engineering. These fundamental skills are also applicable beyond technical areas, benefiting many kinds of projects, from business to the arts.

Learning to program a computer has historically been challenging, with many students dropping out. Basic Moves in Software completely eliminates all those problems, giving all students an easy, enjoyable, and efficient introduction.

Developed with input from teachers and students, and tested on high school and middle school students, it works. Students overwhelmingly rated it "easy" and "enjoyable", and rated themselves as learning "a lot", and as feeling "more comfortable" with software in general. These results were statistically significant by scientific criteria.

How It Works    Top of Page

Basic Moves is a hands-on, information-packed documentary, in which the learner becomes the apprentice programmer in the documentary. The learner codes and runs its many miniature programs, with guidance at every step. Imagine learning to tune up a car, or cook up a dish, by doing it while being directed by a coach.

The uniquely efficient format lets you to focus on the foundation concepts of programming, the basic information moves. You experience coding the instructions, and building structures of instructions. And in the process you see the foundations for the vast variety of things computers do.

Basic Moves entirely eliminates debugging, with its well-known delays and frustrations. A beginner does not know what correct code looks like, so finding bugs is time-consuming and frustrating, research has shown. These delays and frustrations are known major dropout factors. Basic Moves completely eliminates them. It works a bit like the training wheels on a bicycle. When you start to fall, they catch you, so you keep sailing along.

Eliminating debugging gives all students an enjoyable, efficient initial experience with programming. After completing Basic Moves, and having seen and written many examples of correct code, students will be much better prepared to spot bugs as they undertake their own projects. This will make their own projects more enjoyable as well.

Basic Moves also eliminates learning to use a programming application (aka Integrated Development Environment, or IDE). The learning app includes a simulation which handles the tasks of a programming application. This saves beginners more time and delays, while they focus on the core concepts in coding.

Both debugging and using an IDE are ultimately essential in developing software. But removing them from the initial learning phase enables a strong initial focus on the core concepts of programming languages, which are the foundation of programming. And it enables the learner's first experience to be free of frustrations and overload. Instead it can be "easy" and "enjoyable" while still learning "a lot", as many students have testified.

The learning app starts students coding in Basic. The main design goal for the Basic language was that it be easy to learn. With its ultra-simple syntax, and Basic Moves' careful step-by-step approach, students are not burdened at the beginning with details they are not prepared to understand.

When they are sufficiently prepared, they are carefully transitioned to C++, and then to Java. Basic and Basic-like languages are built into many applications, and used for automating tasks in those applications (such as Excel and PowerPoint). C++ and languages like C++ (including Java and PHP) are used for creating new stand-alone applications. Basic and C++ illustrate the two main notation styles used in programming languages today.

Research has shown that learning by exploration benefits from appropriate preparation using directed learning. Basic Moves prepares students easily, enjoyably, and efficiently with a solid foundation for their own explorations.

In a Computer Literacy Course    Top of Page

Basic Moves can be inserted where convenient into a Computer Literacy or Applications course, and used there to whet student appetites for a full programming course.

No special teacher training is needed to use Basic Moves. High school pre-engineering teacher Dan R. said "Teachers who are not programmers can be comfortable using it and have the students be comfortable using it."

Basic Moves jumps your students to a new level of computer literacy, showing them how their applications work "behind the scenes". It de-mystifies software, with the result that students feel "more comfortable with software in general". This result was statistically significant in data from high school students.

It can nicely follow point & click pre-programming applications such as Alice and Scratch. There it transitions students from the point & click app's representation of programming principles to the same principles in actual code. And the transition is made with no frustrating debugging struggles.

If extra project work is desired, students can apply what they've learned in the Basic Moves learning app by easing into coding exercises in Excel and PowerPoint. The PowerPoint examples show animation. The Excel examples show what-if modeling with graphs and data tables. These are two of the most widely used office applications, so this is a widely applicable programming skill.

A site license comes with a Teacher's version of the package that includes Quizzes and Answers, fully worked out versions of the PowerPoint and Excel experiments, and a Teacher's Guide. The Teacher's Guide includes instructions for using the entire package as a turnkey tool, with minimum just-in-time preparation.

In a Computer Science Course    Top of Page

The learning app can be inserted easily at the start of a Computer Science course with virtually no preparation. There it gives the students a comfortable and enjoyable introduction to the core constructs of programming. Students begin with examples in Basic, and transition to examples in C++ and Java.

Teachers can then lead their students further into whichever IDE and language they want to use. The students will be familiar with the basic constructs, and prepared for different languages to have somewhat different notations. They will also have a clear overview of the material, and confidence in their ability to understand it.

Basic Moves can be used with either an "objects early" or "objects later" approach to object-oriented programming. In a short time students see the origins of objects, including their constituent parts, and the motivation for adding classes and objects to languages.

Basic Moves' hands-on overview of the fundamental constructs is covered in about three hours. This quickly sets up the class to proceed further into language details, design strategies, and student projects. It helps get students quickly into creating their own designs, and teachers to the fun of coaching those projects. Research has shown that exploratory learning can be enhanced by preparation with appropriate directed learning.

The Basic Moves package includes optional exercises on coding what-if modeling in Excel and animation in PowerPoint. These are among the most widely used office applications today. Getting comfortable coding in these would likely be useful for many people going into business, engineering, science, and even the arts.

A site license includes a Teacher's version of the package with Quizzes and Answers, fully worked out versions of the animation experiments in PowerPoint, and the math modeling experiments in Excel, and a Teacher's Guide. The Teacher's Guide includes instructions for using the entire package as a turnkey tool, with minimal just-in-time preparation.

In a Home School    Top of Page

Basic Moves in Software is ideally suited for home school use because it is entirely self-contained and self-paced. The parent does not need to know programming, but can easily learn along with the student if interested.

The learning app is designed for "cogitive adults", which means about 12 years old and up. It has been used easily by classes of high school students and middle school students, who found it "easy", "enjoyable", and felt they learned "a lot".

It gives students hands-on experience with fundamental coding instructions and strategies, but with no debugging delays and frustrations. It further simplifies the learner's initial experience by not requiring them to learn a programming application. Those aspects of programming are handled by a simulation, so the learner can focus initially on language fundamentals, which are the core of programming.

Basic Moves is an ideal way for a student to find out if programming is something they would like to pursue more deeply, whether as a profession, a secondary professional skill, or a hobby. An acquaintence with software fundamentals is also highly useful for communicating with software developers in many areas of work.

Students can follow the Basic Moves learning app with free exercises on animation programming in PowerPoint and "what-if" modeling in Excel. These are among the most widely used office applications on the planet, so programming them is a widely applicable skill. Guidance is provided for students to then branch out into their own creations.

Students will be prepared to move comfortably in the world of computers, whether learning new applications, reading related articles or books, adding scripts in applications at work, or continuing on to programming new applications.

Basic Moves is an excellent preparation for taking a full course in computer programming. You will start off already comfortable with the fundamentals, greatly helping ensure your success.

Learning App Content    Top of Page

The student experiences writing and running many miniature programs. These show the uses of the main programming constructs, and how these are combined to do useful tasks. These include variables, loops, branches, functions, graphics, arrays, structs, classes and objects, and menu event handling.

Initial examples use a simple version of the Basic language. Basic was designed specifically to easily learn foundation programming constructs. Today a version of Basic, Visual Basic, is widely used in Microsoft Office applications, including Excel, PowerPoint, Access, and Word.

Later examples transition the student to the C++ language. Basic and C++ illustrate the two main styles of language notation used today. This transition includes a line-by-line comparison of the same program in Basic and C++. Thus students see how underlying software structures can be shared across languages, while surface notations can differ. Many languages today share these structures and use the notational features of C++ or Basic. These include Java, PHP, Python, Ruby, and Visual Basic. Thus the lessons of Basic Moves transfer to all these languages.

Along the way Basic Moves includes information giving the learner added perspective on software development. For example, in the Arrays lesson the learner sees an animation showing a central hardware process, the fetch-compute-save cycle in the Central Processing Unit (CPU). From this the learner is led to understand the underlying relation between the various programming languages.

Basic Moves also goes somewhat into key planning and design strategies. Dividing a project into parts (modularizing) is emphasized as a central strategy for planning and building software, as well as for projects of all sorts.

The learning app's lessons can be immediately applied in the free programming lab exercises included in the package, using Excel and PowerPoint. You ease in by modifying pre-written code, and then move on to adding your own original code.

The Excel what-if models include a simple model of distance and speed to get started. This is followed by two financial literacy models. The first can be used as-is for balancing a checkbook, and also for planning finances for home or business. The second models the growth of money with interest. A fourth what-if model models a hypothetical population of whales in a hypothetical ocean. With all these models you begin by experimenting with the model as-is. Then you add code for new features, with detailed guidance. And then you design and create your own models from scratch.

The PowerPoint exercises ease you into adding events to PowerPoint slides. You learn to make objects appear and disappear, move, and interact, making your presentations more informative and eye-catching. The first PowerPoint lab shows two events in a cause-effect relationship. The second shows how to animate a simple living being in motion, a fish swimming. The third and fourth labs show how to animate increasingly complex social interactions. You begin by modifying existing animations, and move on to creating your own from scratch.

Microsoft Excel and PowerPoint are two of the most widely used office applications in the world, so programming them is a widely applicable skill.

Technical Features    Top of Page

Since Basic Moves runs on your local personal computer rather than on a distant website machine, it uses none of your school or home's internet bandwidth.

And it has none of the internet's waits, giving you seamless, smooth interactions with a more realistic learning experience. A website machine that is hundreds of miles away, and that you are sharing with other people, cannot match the physical responsiveness of a machine that is dedicated to you and only a few inches away.

The Basic Moves learning app does not make any changes to the hard drive once it is installed. So there is no risk of accidental data deletion by the learner.

The free programming exercises in Excel and PowerPoint make changes only in the Exel and PowerPoint files that come in the package.

Not "One Size Fits All"    Top of Page

We're not in a "one size fits all" world. But if you're looking for the learning app that is the easiest, most efficient, most stress-free, with solid coverage of the basics, and key advanced perspectives to open further doors, then Basic Moves is designed for you.

Plus our labs quickly and easily give you useful real-world programming experience in major office applications.

We invite your comparison with the alternatives. You'll likely be delighted with how much you learn in a short time.

If you think knowledge of the basic moves in software could be useful to your students, make a big move with a $9.95 investment. You can apply that fully to a license price, and with our 30-day money-back guarantee you can't lose.

If you'd like to experience the ease of our unique design first, try our demo free, and compare your experience with the alternatives.

Our Site License calculator is handy for your business or school.

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