Bootstrap is based on the TeachScheme! Curriculum, developed by Prof. Matthias Felleisen and now used at more than a hundred high schools and colleges nationwide. Students learn an algebraic, functional programming language called Scheme and a structure approach to problem solving known as the Design Recipe. They use the Dr Scheme IDE, an industrial-grade development environment. They practice pair-programming, a practiced recognized in the software industry for its ability to reduce errors and produce better code. Over the course of ten weeks, apprentices discovered data types, Boolean logic, conditional branching, functions and variables, all while making rockets fly, trapping butterflies and monsters, and writing programs that play rock, paper, scissors. Their final project is to write a videogame, using only three ninety-minute class periods.
For students who would like to continue their education in programming, Northeastern offers a one-week intense course that goes far beyond the apprenticeship offered at Citizen Schools. For more information, visit the Compass Computer Camps web page.
Bootstrap was developed by Emmanuel Schanzer, a former Teaching Fellow at Citizen Schools and now a Visiting Scholar at Northeastern University. The complete curriculum (with lesson plans, course software and materials) are available for free, and have been used by volunteer teachers from IBM, Thomson Financial and Northeastern University. If you would like to learn more, contact Emmanuel at EmmanuelSchanzer@citizenschools.org.