Evaluate the Effectiveness of my Design and use of Resources to Engage and Meet the Individual needs of Learners in my Own Specialist Area

Students are provided with 3 working programs, along with the source code. Each of the programs approaches the task of breaking the password in different ways. Students are expected to run the programs, evaluate each of the programs and explain how the programs work. The first method is very straightforward, easy to understand and has a clear, easy to recognise and understandable disadvantage that this method is slow. The second method is more complex but the advantage (very fast) and disadvantage (limited effectiveness) are clear. The third method is the most complex and the advantages and disadvantages are harder to identify. Having the three methods allow differentiation within lessons as I can instruct more advanced students to skip the first method or methods and move on to the more complex methods.

The task relating to this resource navigates Dales Cone effectively; I introduce the topic with a brief overview, depending upon the group level I may provide a demonstration covering a wide selection of the passive learning aspect of Dales Cone. Students are then expected to participate in hands-on workshops; this is then followed with an experiment in which students must attempt to break a password of their choosing, experiencing the effects of different password security. This resource is incredibly relevant to the learning outcome as the learning outcome is “evaluate security measures applied to websites”.

The 3 programs have been custom made by myself for two reasons, the first is to avoid any copyright infringement and the second is so that I can keep the code simple so that it can be applied to multiple levels within education. This resource has been extremely effective with levels 4, 5 and 6 but should be just as effective with lower level programming classes. When designing the interface for the programs I have maintained the standard Microsoft interface design, benefiting from the standardised accessibility controls. When using this resource, it should be delivered in an electronic form as these programs should be run and demonstrated, however, I also included a hard copy of the code so that in the event of the computer system being inaccessible the lesson can still continue.

This is not a perfect resource as it doesn’t promote equality and diversity, is not flexible other than the 3 variations and, due to the size of files, it is incredibly challenging for students to access the programs from outside the teaching establishment.

The second resource is a stretch and challenge task for students to work on in the event they complete the task during class. At the start of the semester, I set a challenge that no one will complete the 20 tasks on the stretch and challenge sheet. The difficulty of the tasks starts very simply, going only slightly beyond what is being covered in class, this then progresses to the 20th task, which is likely to take a professional programmer several days to complete, this process is known as question ramping. As students are reading from the worksheet and then implementing a program to meet the task, the Reading and Kinaesthetic elements of the VARK learning styles are included. The resource is very relevant to the learning outcomes as one of the unit aims is to develop software applications, each of the tasks involves creating a software application; if the student completes all 20 tasks there will be 20 software applications that will benefit them in the form of a portfolio and assist in creating the application for their assignment.

Multiple levels of education are supported; however, it is unlikely lower level students would be able to complete the higher level tasks on the resource. The resource is flexible as it is essentially a Word document, as a result different fonts can be implemented and alternative colour paper can be utilised to assist learners with a variety of challenges. At the start of the semester, I provide the resource as a printed copy to reinforce the importance of students practising programming, from this point on it is available for all students in an electronic format. The resource is available both on the student portal and Moodle; as a result, all students should be able to access the resource remotely, even in the event of losing the original hard copy. As it’s a very flexible resource I can make amendments by reducing the number of questions or changing the questions easily for different educational levels, this enables an inclusive approach that provides differentiation. This resource is again not perfect and would benefit from implementing Bloom’s Taxonomy within the questions and including tasks that are not solely product model based, instead requiring evaluation and a process based model. The level of equality and diversity is limited to understanding the different values of currencies from around the world.

Author Profile

James Barron
My first experience of teaching was in 2016, when I was asked to
deliver a talk to a group of 16-year-olds on what it was like to start
your own business. I immediately knew I wanted to become more
involved in teaching but I didn’t know where to start as I had not
previously considered a career in education. A few weeks later I
agreed to teach a class of Chinese students from the Shanghai
Technical Institute of Electronics and Information, who had travelled
to the UK to learn English and Software Engineering, after that I was
hooked. Within the next few years, I taught hundreds of students of
many different nationalities, aged from 16 to 60, and from
levels 2 to 6. I focused my time teaching with Bath University and
Bath College for several more years until I felt a change was in order.
For the last few years, I have taught remotely with several private
training organisations, provided dedicated one to one coaching
sessions, provided consultancy on teaching and assessment practices
and written about my experiences as a teacher. I plan to continue
with my current activities for the foreseeable future but I’m always
open to new teaching experiences.

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