[Edu-sig] a modest proposal

Steve Morris smorris@nexen.com
Fri, 4 Feb 2000 16:00:30 -0500 (EST)

Let me suggest that the goal be restated. Rather than teaching
programming to the masses perhaps the goal should be to teach the
masses to solve various problems using programming.

Maybe I am picking nits here but many of the success stories here and
otherwhere seem to come from projects that had specific problems that
they wanted the student to solve and programming happened to be the
convenient (sometimes the only possible) approach. I think if we focus
more on a problem solving framework the needs of the IDE and language
come into better focus.

What I would like to see is a framework which presented a programming
"world" probably with an easily visible (browsable) set of classes and
objects which more or less defined that world, maybe a workspace
concept. In otherwords the user should be able to "enter" one or more
worlds, each of which defined a problem space. 

The worlds would be "explorable" in some way. Properties of objects
would be discoverable by examination and experimentation. Simple
behaviors would be simple to invoke. More complex behaviors would be
possible as a simple progression.

To me making this kind of world is key. Standardizing this kind of
interface so that people could create worlds/problem spaces/applications 
as extensions to the system would makes its use grow. Various
contributors would add different worlds and the thing would grow.

Am I way off base? I think jumping into the nitty gritty of things
like case sensitivity puts the cart before the horse. We need to make
sure we are solving the right problem.