[Edu-sig] Getting it going (long)

Steve Morris smorris@nexen.com
Fri, 4 Feb 2000 14:43:54 -0500 (EST)

Ulf Engstrøm writes:
 > a lot about learning for children (which I like), but I think that if we're 
 > talking everyone, we should talk about older novices as well. And they don't 
 > need an extended IDLE, they don't need 3D-stuff. They just need someone to 
 > show them Python.

I don't agree. Most adults that I know have similar issues. You are
thinking of already motivated adults that understand where they want
to get to and just need a little help getting there. These people
often don't need any help at all, they cruise the web and bookstores
and dig out what they need; for these people it is probably not CP4E.

A more typical case is someone that is afraid of computers, pretty
sure that programming is something that only "really smart people" do
and that learning computer programming is impossible for them.  They
have difficulty even knowing why they should. This is who I think the
"everyone" of CP4E refers to. We know that programming is within their
reach if only a few hurdles can be surmounted. They don't know this.
The same issues of simple, friendly starting environment and easy, fun
goals apply with these adults as with kids, perhaps even more so.

At least kids are willing to take your word for it when you say it is
possible to learn something. They more or less trust adults (teachers)
to only present them with achievable goals. (This is an exageration I
know but you get the difference.)

It's the bubble sort again. How many computer courses and books start
with the bubble sort as the first algorithm? How many students give a
big whoop about the bubble sort. I'm a 25 year software professional
and I have difficulty giving a big whoop about any sorting algorithm
even though I've implemented quite a few over the years.