[Edu-sig] Using objects early was Procedural front end for Zelle's graphics.py

kirby urner kirby.urner at gmail.com
Thu Feb 8 03:17:38 CET 2007

On 2/7/07, David Reed <dreed at capital.edu> wrote:
> This is my personal comment and I don't claim to speak for others,
> but the only thing I find militant is that sometimes it appears to me
> you ignore what others are saying and talk about your stuff even when
> it's not particularly related. The question a few others and I were
> responding to was whether or not it's okay to just do procedural
> coding and not OO coding in a CS0 course and it felt like you just
> wanted to repeat the way you introduce your math concepts that we
> have seen so many times on this list.

Yes, I suppose that's a fair criticism.  On the other hand, I'm never sure
when a new reader might be lurking.

To speak more directly to the question, my answer is:  no, teaching
CS0 while bleeping over OOP is to neglect an important turn in computer
science.  Like a literature survey course, CS0 should be aimed at
providing historical perspective and overview, as well as some enouraging
sense of increasing fluency with one or more specific language or

I have aimed to show there are easy ways to introduce OOP early, using
Python syntax as a guide, that don't require great feats of mental effort
on the part of students.  My Dog and Monkey show is quite accessible
to average 8th graders in public school as I've proved in the field.
nothing especially "mathematical" about it, even when a dog object eats \
a monkey object, per screencast.

Using Python to slog through procedural programming for a semester
rather than using it as scaffolding to develop some insights into OOP,
including among beginners, is a waste of a good language and a waste
of students' time.  I'd be ashamed to be associated with any such
curriculum.  I hope this practice proves short lived.  We're in a dark age
right now.  Lots of crappola.

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