[Edu-sig] More post Summit brainstorming

kirby urner kirby.urner at gmail.com
Mon Apr 17 18:37:05 CEST 2006

> Is the idea to teach programming?  That seems wrong for any inclusive
> curriculum.  Programming-the-skill will never be relevant to most of
> these children.  As a way of teaching a larger set of ideas about
> abstraction, I think programming is a great medium.  But it's only a
> useful skill for a small set of students.

The idea is to teach a new kind of fluency that accommodates the
technologies likely to make the most difference in a developing world
context.  Cheap hardware and free software make for a new kind of
analytic thinking skills delivery system, a new kind of playground if
you will.  Not just your daddy's swings and slides any more.

So we approach a coding language much as we approach a math notation
today, complete with greek letters and canned functions.  It's a new
way of covering a lot of familiar ground, while meanwhile roping in a
lot more contemporary information, relating to real world challenges
on the ground.

> One thing that I think Logo gets really right is the insistence
> (cultural as much as anything) that it isn't a language for teaching
> programming, it's for teaching *with* programming.

Yes, this is "programming to learn" more than "learning to program".

We'll develop our analytical skills by practicing OO-style thinking,
meaning a diagrammatic breakup of a problem domain into main players
and their relationships, a kind of analysis needed in advance of any

How far into working code we go will depend on the context, but some
practice in going all the way will be necessary, because students want
that kind of feedback as a measure of mastery.

If your code doesn't actually work, what fun is that?


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