Concept

Action Join goes back to the basic idea of a computer: an input/output machine.

The idea

The idea is to reflect the basic architecture of a computing machine - the core concept that is not apt to change despite the accelerating progress in computing science.

Action sequence

With Action Join, a computer program is reflected as a sequence of actions representing computer operations that can make data connections to other actions on the sequence. Each action can have input and output connectors that the user will use to build interactions within the sequence.

Modularity

Every action sequence is itself an input-output block which provides a natural way for decomposition/factoring (dividing complex programming flows in units in order to manage complexity)

Computational thinking

It's a mental skill that allows formulating a problem and its solution in a way that can be easily understood by computers.

In computer science, computational thinking is the basic ability that allows people to create algorithms which in turn are the underpinnings of all software.

People exercise computational thinking while coding but the concept is much broader than programming. Coding is only one tool to build algorithms/software just like the piano is only one instrument to produce music.

There are many educational tools representing programming languages as colorful words, but that's a bit like teaching somebody music by providing them with a colorful piano keyboard. It can be a viable idea, but music should not be limited to the piano, just like programming shouldn't come down to coding alone. It is also inevitable that programming through code as the primary means to create software will become obsolete.

The advantage of computational thinking isn't limited to computer programming. Many business and everyday life problems can be tackled with procedures structured similarly to computer programs/algorithms. So even if a pupil doesn't join the computing industry, computational thinking will help him in many other areas.

Teaching coding vs computational thinking

Programming languages will eventually become obsolete.

That doesn't mean that they will disappear altogether any time soon. Instead, like machine code or assembly language, they will become a niche and most of the computing problems will be solved by building programs in new ways. That's why computational thinking is more important than coding alone. Coding is like playing a particular instrument where computational thinking is like the musical talent itself. Of course, to exercise one's talent an instrument is indispensable but practicing only one instrument is limiting students' development.

How does it fit the national curriculum.

Action join is an open platform where imagination is the only limit. That said we aim to provide tutorials that cover the curriculum requirements of different countries. We now cover the English computing curriculum and are working on other countries' needs.

Is action join better?

There are many tools for teaching computing and coding...

In computer science, as counter-intuitive as it may sound, creativity and imagination is key. This is why the more you stimulate a student's mind, the better the outcome. That's why every tool should be complementary to others - not a replacement.

Computational thinking is like music - by forcing a pupil to play only one instrument, you are effectively limiting the development of their talent. Every pupil is different - one abstraction will work better for some, another for others - that's why we should provide students with a number of options to be inspired from.

Pricing

FreeFor schools with less than 50 students

£200Per year per school

About the author

Hi, my name is Juliusz. I started programming at the age of 12 with QBasic and Pascal and have been a professional developer for the past 16 years. I have spent the last decade developing business software for financial services. During this time I have been exploring ways to easily customise my product without the need to write code. I built Action Join as a visual tool to create logic flows.

During testing many people said it is an excellent way to understand software construction as such and so I decided to make it a tool for schools. This decision comes from a desire to contribute to society in a more significant way than just by optimizing financial institutions' profitability. I am also son and grandson of teachers, therefore education is a family tradition.

You can connect with me on Linkedin


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