[Edu-sig] Re: How do we tell truths that might hurt

Daniel Ajoy dajoy at openworldlearning.org
Sat Apr 24 09:30:38 EDT 2004

From: Anna Ravenscroft <anna at aleax.it>
> > In other realms, the path to be able to do something actually useful is
> > much longer.
> The path isn't that long and is far likelier to keep their interest.
> Teaching folks that almost any repetitive task involving text, dates, or 
> numbers can be automated by writing a simple program is more likely to get 
> them excited about programming than teaching them that you can add 2+ 2 or 
> solve quadratic equations...

I agree with Anna.

Common tedious tasks that people regularly do are:

* Matching "similar" names in two different lists (say 200 names in each list)
* Finding the difference of two lists of names, the intersection.
* Making tables out of lists (changing the structure of a data set)
* Generating repetitive texts, or graphics, with little variations.

Knowing a little programming could help them.

The following is a random sentence generator program (I don't find 
it harder than "technical/scientific computations"):

to rand.sentence
output (sentence noun.phrase verb.phrase)

to noun.phrase
output (sentence "the adjective noun)

to verb.phrase
output (sentence verb noun.phrase)

to adjective
output pick [red blue green big small fat skinny loud quiet]

to noun
output pick [computer elephant boy girl aardvark]

to verb
output pick [likes eats visits hates paints]


? print rand.sentence
the red boy visits the blue elephant

? print rand.sentence
the quiet aardvark eats the quiet computer

? print rand.sentence
the red computer likes the red elephant

? print rand.sentence
the big aardvark likes the skinny elephant

Here is a link to a "poetry generator" and other programs
in the "Language Arts" section in MicroWorlds Logo:



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