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How to find help

In this step you will look at resources that your learners can use to help themselves rather than relying on your support.

It can be difficult to spread your support equally across a whole class. Learners can be focused on different areas of their code, and may have different approaches to creating their programs. In any learning environment it is inevitable that some learners will progress faster than others. Do you support learners who have completed the least, or guide those who need to be challenged more?

To help you to support your learners, it is worth taking time to demonstrate to your class where to get help independently, and emphasise that this should be encouraged.

Not even experienced programmers know all the features of the language they are using. However, they do know where to go to find answers to the questions they have. In the rest of this step I’ll show you examples of where your learners can find help.

w3schools.com

w3schools.com has an easy-to-use Python tutorial, as well as a search which can be used to search for Python code. You could encourage learners to use the search option, and to try and compare their code to examples on the tutorial before asking for you support.

w3schools.com is also a great developer site for tutorials and references on web development languages, such as HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and Bootstrap, covering most aspects of web programming.

Computing at School

You can use the resources that educators have made on the Computing at School (CAS) resource page. These include Python workbooks, Python problems and solutions, cheat sheets, and presentations. You could download these and store them in a ‘Python help’ shared folder for your students to independently access and use.

Documentation

Another source of information about a language’s features is the official documentation. In fact, you already had a look at it when you were learning about string methods in the previous section.

You can find the documentation for Python 3 at docs.python.org. It contains information about the standard library, tutorials, and guides. The language reference and library reference sections become more useful as you become more proficient. These sections are technical, and are more difficult to understand and use compared to the tutorial section.

The tutorial section is a good place to start because it gives you explanations of example code. For example, if you have forgotten any of the syntax for defining and manipulating strings, you can scroll down to 3.1.2. Strings and read the tutorial. This is a great way to use the official documentation without searching through information you may not be familiar with in other sections.

It can be a good idea to show your students the Python documentation and how to use the tutorial section, as it will help them to develop as independent learners and discover new features themselves.

Discussion

How do you provide support for your learners when they are creating their own programs?

Share your thoughts in comments section.

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This article is from the free online course:

Scratch to Python: Moving from Block- to Text-based Programming

Raspberry Pi Foundation