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Big Idea 1: Creative Development

Intro to Big Idea 1: Creative Development and Collaboration

4 min readnovember 16, 2020

minnachow

Minna Chow

caroline49234295

Caroline Koffke


AP Computer Science Principles ⌨️

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Welcome to AP® Computer Science Principles! Designed as an introductory course, AP CSP is a great way to learn about the fundamentals of coding and the world of programming.
(If you've taken this class before, don't be surprised if some of the content covered here looks different. As of the 2020-21 school year, the curriculum is undergoing major changes.)

Why Take AP CSP?

I'm glad you asked!
AP CSP is a great way to learn the basics of coding and gain coding experience, all while getting AP credit at the same time. You don't need any prior experience and your school should provide you with all the technology you'll need.
AP CSP is also very open-ended. The class usually focuses on project-based learning, and the requirements for your final Create Project are pretty flexible. This gives you many opportunities to make something you're passionate about.
Often times, the class will count as a tech credit locally as well.
Convinced? Without further ado, let's begin.

The One Thing You Need to Know About this Big Idea:

This unit is all about computing innovations: what they are, how they work, and how they're made and fixed.

Unit Overview:

Exam Weighing:

  • 10-13% of the AP Exam
  • Practically, this translates to about 20 questions on the test.

1.1: Collaboration

Computing Innovations

Computing innovations, according to the College Board, are innovations that use a program as a key part of their function. Put simply, they wouldn't operate without a computer program making them work. If you can use the word "computer" or "coded" when describing this innovation, it's probably a computing innovation.
Another way to identify computing innovations is to think about data. Does the innovation you're thinking of collect data and use it when operating? If so, you've probably got a computing innovation on your hands.
Computing innovations can be both physical and non-physical, and they come in all shapes and sizes.

Examples of Computing Innovations:

Physical
  • Self-driving cars
  • Smart appliances (fridges/watches/toasters)
  • Tablets (Kindles/iPads)
  • Smart Phones
  • Gaming devices (Nintendo Switch/Xbox)
  • Robots (Roombas, for instance)
Non-Physical
  • Picture Editing Software (Photoshop/Adobe Lightroom)
  • Word Processors (Word/Pages/Google Docs)
  • Communication platforms (email/text messaging/video conferences)
  • Digital video games (Dark Souls/Minecraft/Super Mario Kart)
  • Applications (iPhone Apps)
  • Even some concepts, like e-commerce or social networking, count

Collaboration in Computer Science

While a lot of code-writing is independent by nature, the computer science field has a lot more collaboration in it than you'd think. Programmers of all sorts have to work with coworkers and bosses when dealing with large projects. They also have to work with their clients to make sure what they're coding meets client needs.
Different people have different backgrounds, perspectives and ways of thinking. Here are some ways such diversity is helpful when creating a computing innovation:
  • More hands working on a project can sometimes get it done faster than one person can alone, (despite what the results of your last group project might indicate 😂).
  • Discoveries can be made thanks to the multiple perspectives on deck.
  • Biases can be avoided during the development process, creating a more inclusive innovation.
  • Working with users and clients specifically during the development process can ensure that the finished product is one everyone is happy with, saving both time and energy.
Of course, collaboration only works to its fullest when the final product represents all the different ideas and contributions of the people that produced it.

Collaboration Between Users and Developers

During the creation of a computing innovation, users and developers will communicate with each other. For example, video games will have testers that check the product for bugs and report them to the developers. Often, this conversation begins even before the product is made—some companies will conduct market research to determine what features would be best to include in their newest innovations.
However, communication doesn't stop there! Even after the product is released, developers will often ask for feedback and offer areas for users to report any problems they may have.

Computing Developments that Foster Collaboration

Collaboration between programmers isn't a new concept. The computer science field has several models designed to foster collaboration, such as pair programming.
https://firebasestorage.googleapis.com/v0/b/fiveable-92889.appspot.com/o/images%2F-qxZjX5FFYQ1T.png?alt=media&token=25db7a81-c4ce-47e2-841e-b942106a510b

Image source: Mateus Chagas at Portuguese Wikipedia

Pair programming is a programming model where two people share one computer. One person codes while the other person oversees the work, and the two often switch places.
At the same time, the internet makes collaboration between developers easier. You can see a version of this in your own life: most people today use Google Docs or Slides to work on shared projects.
Github and Bitbucket are famous examples of collaborative development websites.

Ways to be a Good Team Player!

In the AP CSP class, there are times where you'll have to collaborate with others to work on projects in class. The final Create project also gives you the option to work with another person during the development phases of the project.
Here are some tips, AP CSP-style, to make your collaborative team the most successful it can be!
  • Communicate kindly and often.
  • Practice consensus building within your team by listening to every member within it and taking their perspectives into consideration.
  • Create norms such as establishing team roles or policies to help mediate any conflicts that might arise.
  • A team project is a team effort, and that means everyone in the group needs to have a say. Sometimes, that might mean compromise.

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