[Edu-sig] slashdot: Teaching Primary School Students Programming?

kirby urner kirby.urner at gmail.com
Tue Aug 29 00:38:32 CEST 2006

On 8/28/06, ajsiegel at optonline.net <ajsiegel at optonline.net> wrote:

> Cynical Arthur would welcome the ability to exercise his imagination in the
> creation of animated cartoons that expressed his imagination, by way of
> computer technology.

Good.  Cynical Kirby looks forward to viewing some of Cynical Arthur's cartoons.

> Except that his imagination is his own (everybodys' is) , and he would
> expect to need to wait until an appropriate age and undergo some serious
> study before such an ability were accessible to him.

Yes, Arthur knows that skills come in exchange for hard work.  Even
prodigies need to practice.  Use it or lose it.

> The kind of study, in fact, that I suspect college students at CMU expect to
> have to undertake to be able to utilize Panda3d - a serious tool for doing this
> kind of thing.

Yes, Panda3d is hard and you need some adult-level patience to master
the tool (which I really haven't by the way).

But is that any reason to not look for *much easier* ways to the same
ends?  Like, if we weren't *lying* about wanting to actually see their
cartoons, shouldn't we *stop* with the bait and switch?

I think you're pointing to the *means* (hard work) as the worthy goal.
 I'm agreeing but saying:  let's not lose site of the *ends* (lots of
good cartoons -- some of them by kids much younger than could make
them before (that in itself is new territory)).

I think there will always be that next sought-after skill at the other
end of some hard work rainbow.

But I'm not into making kids sweat it just to do what we did, an
earlier generation.

I *want* them to look at all our hard work... and make it look easy
(call me an optimist, but I think we're still evolving as a species).
They'll have *new* hard stuff to tackle, not just the same stuff we
did (like, how to make those cartoons *funny* -- a whole new ball

> Young cynical Arthur had a good sense of when he was been humored and
> indulged, and never really liked it much.. A lot of my take and talk is trying to be
> sensitive to young Arthur's needs - since I have no reason to believe that
> they were extraordinary, nor was he.
> Arthur

I like your young Arthur and want him to be pandered to too. :-D

I think we share a certain affinity for "no frills" experiences that
pack a wallop, in terms of straight information content.  You want the
jet boat, not the cushy cruise liner.

Where I think this must be heading is towards a more individualized
curriculum, with lots of trail heads.  It's still a mix of live and
in-the-can recordings, but you're freer to string the beads in the
order you like, instead of the order some distant Kid Factory decided
was best for you.


More information about the Edu-sig mailing list