[Edu-sig] Tips for wandering faculty

kirby urner kirby.urner at gmail.com
Wed Apr 26 20:35:39 CEST 2006

> Personally I wish *I* could be insulated from more of this; leaky and
> imperfect systems make this impossible at the moment.  A strong
> abstraction is great -- at some point you may need to understand what
> that abstraction is built on, but even then it is nice to be able to
> retreat back into the abstraction so you can focus on what's really
> interesting and new that you are doing.

That's nice if you're not just into escapist fantasy.  Great to bliss
out in a well-designed and productive environment, no one arguing with
that.  But that's no excuse for keeping kids clueless too long.

> There's a bunch of examples of this which I think are uncontroversial.
> Things like GC, pointers, characters (which are missing in Python),
> TCP/IP (which few people access directly anymore), the underlying
> mechanisms of threads and processes, and a bunch of other things that
> are so basic I have a hard time remembering they exist.

We use 'Warriors of the Net' (a movie) to introduce TCP/IP (by "we" I
mean the Silicon Forest based educators I work with).  It makes as
much sense to start with TCP/IP as it does with RAM and CPU in some
ways.  It's easy to look at processes through any kind of task manager
(bash or Windows, doesn't matter).

Learning to kill a process is pretty basic.  I'll have kids start 'em
just to kill 'em.  They enjoy the sense of power this gives them.


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