TigerJython consists of online teaching materials and a development environment specially designed for education. The online teaching materials begin with turtle graphics, but then continue on with topics reaching from the programming of Lego robots, multimedia, and computer games to databases and stochastic simulations. TigerJython is suitable for use both in the classroom and for self-study due to its modular structure and its numerous examples and exercises. The first chapters can already be used in introductory computer science courses in elementary schools (in Switzerland S1). As a whole, the choice of topics and the material's scope correspond to a basic course of computer science at grammar schools.
The authors are convinced that education in computer science contributes essentially to the intellectual development of adolescents. In our opinion, it should already be taught in primary schools no later than at the age of 12-13 years old, in order to awaken an early enjoyment and interest in logical and technical thinking in pupils.
The first version of the teaching materials were developed in 2013, and this is now the second version with revised and corrected materials. Throughout these materials we have incorporated our years of experience with students, as well as our experience in educating computer science teaching staff. Our intention was always to develop the interest and enjoyment of algorithmic problem solving in girls and boys, and to support teachers.
In this teaching material, any barriers that might prevent someone from entering into programming are deliberately kept very low, and throughout, the TigerJython programming environment and the Python programming language are used. The teaching material was formed from a single mold, so to speak. Much of the content comes from daily environments and problem situations in other school subjects. This way, the knowledge from computer science class can be applied to other disciplines as well.
Although Python was developed by Dutchman Guido van Rossum already over 20 years ago, it has only really become used in schools in recent years and is now experiencing a real 'hype' in many training institutions. This may be because Python as an interpreted language with its global scope is very easy to learn, but also because Python can work with very few computer resources and even runs on micro systems. Also, with our development environment TigerJython we offer a student-friendly environment that is balanced between simplicity and professionalism. In our opinion, it is particularly well suited for a computer science class for the following reasons:
We hope that with TigerJython and the online teaching materials we are able to pass on some of our enthusiasm for education in computer science.
We also thank Kristin and Florian Thalmann for the excellent English translation.
October 2014. Jarka Arnold, Tobias Kohn, Aegidius Plüss