April 20, 2019

"Working as a Whole Class Enables Peak Operative Power"

"Working as a Whole Class Enables Peak Operative Power" By Matthew Fenner, Matthew Frizzel, Ruddock Smith and Julia Stahl; In relation to physics, the word ‘work’ means an exertion of force overcoming resistance; while Computer Science students don’t often come into contact with much physical resistance, favoring instead passive and sedentary lifestyles, they do have to overcome other obstacles. Work in Computer Science revolves around problem solving and teamwork, skills that are learned through a functional work environment and thinking outside the box. Small groups of Computer Science students are provided an open workspace and given tasks for the week. While critical thinking here is paramount, another important skill is diligent work. For example, the four of us in the cooperative collective known as “H-Gang” programmed an emergency messaging app to automatically contact a large database in many languages. The goal of this project was to create a medium in which supervisors can communicate with both local and transfer students in the school district. Location services were also provided to guide recipients to a local safe house. It took brains to create the structure of the code, and also a copious amount of elbow grease to manually program in the 93 different languages for the app. Not all Computer Science projects involve cooperative behavior, however. In an intense robotics project, the class was split into rival pairs. The battlefield was an obstacle course set to be run by VEX autonomously driven robots. Many solutions were proposed, such as using color sensors to navigate the obstacle course, but the most successful method was doing the laborious work of testing and altering timings down to mere milliseconds. The Hartford Area Career and Technology Center (HACTC) always urges students to cooperate, and while competitive projects are fun and encourage a productive attitude, working as a whole class enables peak operative power. The HACTC uses competition and projects to teach students the value of hard work, preparing them for the real world.