[Edu-sig] Tips for wandering faculty

kirby urner kirby.urner at gmail.com
Wed Apr 26 20:12:44 CEST 2006

> But novices can handle only so much. I agree that we don't want to
> create artificial worlds, but we must take care on how much and what
> we present on day 1. The surest way to lose students is to talk about
> things they don't understand and see no need for. Kernels are not day
> 1 material (for anyone).

I show excerpts from the documentary 'Revolution OS' (not the whole
thing), in which Linus himself does a good job of describing the job
of an operating system.  I don't do this on day one though, like you

> The other issue, of course, is the variety of learning paradigms. Some
> people are more visually oriented than others. When I taught Python to
> adult testers last year we didn't need a visual approach (although we
> used Komodo for easy development). But when my 14-year old nephew last
> year said, "Uncle Chuck, teach me to program!", I had his attention
> for 30 seconds and then he was gone because I had nothing graphical
> (i.e., Alice-like) for him to play with. He just could not grasp
> typing 2+3 at the command-line ad getting 5 out. Who cares about a
> linear conversation with a computer console?

I tell my Saturday Academy kids that if they're serious about
programming, they need to learn to be "brutally lexical" -- and then I
go on to demonstrate what that means (which *doesn't* mean we never do


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