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Negative programmer reaction of the Code.org Video


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#21 tstrimple   Prime Members   -  Reputation: 1718

Posted 01 March 2013 - 10:15 AM

you are doing it entirely wrong, as they aren't necessarily being interested in computer programming, just the high level problem solving game-ish things.

So you actually mean that they are doing it right?

 

Programming is a means to an end - it has no greater purpose than to enable high-level problem solving.

 

This! I am a problem solver who happens to use a keyboard and compiler on occasion. 



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#22 szecs   Members   -  Reputation: 2082

Posted 01 March 2013 - 10:16 AM

Honestly, I don't know. But then, wouldn't that be the same argument for any subject area? What if instead of BASIC or LOGO you instead had equivalent exposure to music theory and music composing?

You do. Or at least, learning to play an instrument was mandatory for me in my typical government primary school (it's even a meme for it). In secondary school it was mandatory to learn to read and write musical compositions too...

Also mandatory were writing stories, painting pictures, doing math, playing sport, performing plays, singing, researching in the library, constructing scientific experiments, speaking another language, history, commerce, geography, and biology -- all at a very basic level, with further study being optional -- despite the fact that most of us suck at all of these things now. It's called a "well rounded education".

Does the US not cover all these bases already?

The same in Hungary. The sad truth that the current government wants to destroy our relatively good education (pretty much the only thing that Hungary has), but trends show that this well rounded education (all that you listed) is getting put in some 2-4 classes (45 min each) in a week. The government seems to do everything to make the people immobilized.



#23 SnowProblem   Members   -  Reputation: 105

Posted 01 March 2013 - 10:51 AM

Getting kids to learn programming earlier definitely seems like a good idea to me. We could start by replacing cursive with keyboarding in elementary schools.

Edited by SnowProblem, 01 March 2013 - 10:57 AM.


#24 swiftcoder   Senior Moderators   -  Reputation: 9516

Posted 01 March 2013 - 11:35 AM

We could start by replacing cursive with keyboarding in elementary schools.

And then you raise a generation of people who can't write - seriously, I run into college kids all the time who can't write cursive. You ask them to write an in-class essay for their final exam, and they laboriously print pages of block capitals.

 

I'm not a fan of taking anything out of the curriculum (it is far too limited already), but you are talking about removing one of the foundational skills of a developed society...


Tristam MacDonald - Software Engineer @Amazon - [swiftcoding]


#25 Oberon_Command   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1783

Posted 01 March 2013 - 11:51 AM

And then you raise a generation of people who can't write - seriously, I run into college kids all the time who can't write cursive. You ask them to write an in-class essay for their final exam, and they laboriously print pages of block capitals.

Writing in cursive is not a "foundational skill of a developed society," it is an obsolete way of putting letters on a page. What's the point of knowing cursive in this day and age? The only advantage to knowing cursive is being able to write faster, and I can type a lot faster than anyone I know can either print or cursive. I can't write cursive and can only just barely read it, but neither do I need to. Cursive was something I "learned" in 4th grade and then never needed again. I can print just fine and printing is clearer and easier to read, anyway.

Also, I think your experience is out of norm - not writing cursive doesn't imply writing with block capitals. I print in both upper and lower case and so does almost everyone else I know.

#26 SnowProblem   Members   -  Reputation: 105

Posted 01 March 2013 - 11:51 AM

We could start by replacing cursive with keyboarding in elementary schools.

And then you raise a generation of people who can't write - seriously, I run into college kids all the time who can't write cursive. You ask them to write an in-class essay for their final exam, and they laboriously print pages of block capitals.

 

I'm not a fan of taking anything out of the curriculum (it is far too limited already), but you are talking about removing one of the foundational skills of a developed society...

In 20 years, hand-writing final exam essays will be a thing of the past. I'm surprised we still do. I'm also surprised you encounter college kids who can write cursive at all since nobody I know writes cursive.



#27 BGB   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1545

Posted 01 March 2013 - 11:59 AM

Getting kids to learn programming earlier definitely seems like a good idea to me. We could start by replacing cursive with keyboarding in elementary schools.

I guess the difference is probably separating here whether the target is kids or college-aged people.

if it is kids, then this is probably good, they might actually learn something, and find it a better experience than, say, "hey, go here and memorize this big table of random crap" (like list all states, their capital, and their major cities in terms of population, ...). like, people don't need to memorize this stuff, most likely they will encounter it via exposure, and remember it if it is actually relevant.

for college age students though, I am more pessimistic. it all generally comes off more as a way for the colleges to basically squeeze money out of people and give them a lot of busywork in the process. most of the people who go and get a CS degree still not really knowing how to write code, and most who can had probably learned it on their own anyways. and, also, the whole education thing is pretty good at taking whatever topic, and finding ways to make it suck...

like, most of what I know, I learned myself...

but, then again, probably I am not really the type of person the education system (or society) wants to produce (probably its own drawback in a way, like it is a negative status WRT things like employability, ...).


then again, maybe I have just been "lucky", in that the internet has been around pretty much my whole life.

actually, I probably owe a lot more to Carmack, since to a large degree I pretty much ended up learning programming largely initially by fiddling around with his code.


or such...

Edited by cr88192, 01 March 2013 - 12:00 PM.


#28 BGB   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1545

Posted 01 March 2013 - 12:07 PM



We could start by replacing cursive with keyboarding in elementary schools.

And then you raise a generation of people who can't write - seriously, I run into college kids all the time who can't write cursive. You ask them to write an in-class essay for their final exam, and they laboriously print pages of block capitals.
 
I'm not a fan of taking anything out of the curriculum (it is far too limited already), but you are talking about removing one of the foundational skills of a developed society...


In 20 years, hand-writing final exam essays will be a thing of the past. I'm surprised we still do. I'm also surprised you encounter college kids who can write cursive at all since nobody I know writes cursive.


yeah. as-is, cursive is more one of those things whose role is mostly relegated to signing things...

can a person read it? not really.
can a person write it? not really.
block print is much easier to read and write.

#29 swiftcoder   Senior Moderators   -  Reputation: 9516

Posted 01 March 2013 - 12:34 PM

Also, I think your experience is out of norm - not writing cursive doesn't imply writing with block capitals. I print in both upper and lower case and so does almost everyone else I know.

Can you print your upper and lower case as fast as I can write cursive? I'd be very surprised - and I'm not very quick, compared to those skilled in cursive. 

 

 

In 20 years, hand-writing final exam essays will be a thing of the past. I'm surprised we still do.

What planet do you live on? Quite a number of my classmates didn't own their own computers, and that was at a fairly expensive private university.

 

When you factor in all the poor/rural/disadvantaged school systems, there is a very large body of students (~30%) who don't have a computer, even in the US.

 

 

can a person read it? not really.

I'm talking about clear, legible cursive, not chicken-scratch - the type of cursive that requires a solid foundation in primary school, and continual reinforcement throughout secondary education.


Edited by swiftcoder, 01 March 2013 - 12:36 PM.

Tristam MacDonald - Software Engineer @Amazon - [swiftcoding]


#30 Olof Hedman   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 2618

Posted 01 March 2013 - 12:49 PM

Olof Hedman, on 01 Mar 2013 - 16:42, said:
With the car analogy, It's really helpful for your driving if you have at least a basic knowledge of how a car works, and some basic physics.
Same thing with computers, the most versatile tool ever invented, that everyone uses.
 
Not really. If you have to know how a product works internally to be able to successfully operate it, then there has been a failure in product design and it will not be successful to the mass market. Consumer products need to be black boxes for the vast majority of people using them. None of the non-programmers I know would benefit in any way from knowing the basics of how to write code as far as general computer use goes.

 

It's still very helpful to have some knowledge of how it actually works, even though you don't need the low level mechanics view (still largely a black box), to be able to know its potential, and being able to operate it safely and doing basic maintenance.

For both the car, and the computer.

I think some basic understanding of what a program is, what its role is in the computer, and the basic building blocks that make a computer, and some basic networking (really basic) should be common knowledge, much more then it is.

And I think simple programming exercises in a very high level programming language would be an excellent way to teach it.

Couple it with some tinkering with making leds blink with a rasberry pi or arduino.

Even young children can do that with some guidance.

 

And yeah, some of them will get intrigued enough to take it to the next level and actually become a programmer or at least an engineer smile.png


Edited by Olof Hedman, 01 March 2013 - 12:51 PM.


#31 BGB   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1545

Posted 01 March 2013 - 01:09 PM


Also, I think your experience is out of norm - not writing cursive doesn't imply writing with block capitals. I print in both upper and lower case and so does almost everyone else I know.

Can you print your upper and lower case as fast as I can write cursive? I'd be very surprised - and I'm not very quick, compared to those skilled in cursive. 
 
 

In 20 years, hand-writing final exam essays will be a thing of the past. I'm surprised we still do.

What planet do you live on? Quite a number of my classmates didn't own their own computers, and that was at a fairly expensive private university.
 
When you factor in all the poor/rural/disadvantaged school systems, there is a very large body of students (~30%) who don't have a computer, even in the US.


when/where I was, people kept flogging off their iPads and similar...


I mostly just used desktops + laptops.

well, except going back further (middle and high-school), where I didn't have a laptop. because back then (many years ago), they were expensive, and this was generally prior to things like Android and iOS as well, like all people could really do with cell phones was call people and send text messages and similar...

(not really like anyone else had laptops then either, I think this was more in the years of the popularity of accessorized cell-phone strings).


can a person read it? not really.

I'm talking about clear, legible cursive, not chicken-scratch - the type of cursive that requires a solid foundation in primary school, and continual reinforcement throughout secondary education.


not seen this sort of thing, usually it is more just trying to pick letters out of a wavy line...

I personally find it a lot faster/easier to write in block-print, and if a person does a reasonably good job at imitating the form of the usual PC fonts, it is more readable as well.

#32 shuma-gorath   Members   -  Reputation: 882

Posted 01 March 2013 - 01:36 PM

I was most disturbed by the claims that programming isn't real work.  Now, I'll admit I've never held a physical job, but come on!  I wonder how much of the general public shares that perception.



#33 BGB   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1545

Posted 01 March 2013 - 01:51 PM

I was most disturbed by the claims that programming isn't real work.  Now, I'll admit I've never held a physical job, but come on!  I wonder how much of the general public shares that perception.

probably the same people who think that it is along the lines of the sort of wizardry commonly portrayed on TV, like where a "programmer" hits keys rapidly for maybe 5 or 10 seconds, and all sorts of otherwise rather implausible stuff starts going on, or at least they manage to pull off something which more realistically probably would have taken at least a week or a month or more to write.

(like, seriously, pull off a non-trivial plot-relevant program in a matter of a few seconds? realistically they probably couldn't even pull off a plot-relevant email in that time...).

(nevermind the "scientists"...).

but, the sad thing is, reality is actually pretty dull, and stuff tends to require lots of time and effort and similar, and stuff happens over very long time-frames, ...


(edit/add: nevermind a recent movie, where they established in-movie that they were operating under the time-frame of a bomb set to go off in a matter of *several minutes*, so presumably the movie was happening in near real-time, yet involved some "clever coding", video-editing and composition, ... which could not have happened at the rate the events were appearing on-screen... as it would have taken at least several minutes for the person to edit the footage, and by then the bomb would already have been going off, ...

more so, since the bomb initially had a 60-minute timer, and most of the ~ 2 hour movie was during the time after the countdown was activated, ... ).

Edited by cr88192, 01 March 2013 - 01:58 PM.


#34 SnowProblem   Members   -  Reputation: 105

Posted 01 March 2013 - 02:03 PM

swiftcoder, on 01 Mar 2013 - 10:42, said:

Oberon_Command, on 01 Mar 2013 - 09:59, said:

Also, I think your experience is out of norm - not writing cursive doesn't imply writing with block capitals. I print in both upper and lower case and so does almost everyone else I know.

Can you print your upper and lower case as fast as I can write cursive? I'd be very surprised - and I'm not very quick, compared to those skilled in cursive.

SnowProblem, on 01 Mar 2013 - 09:59, said:
>In 20 years, hand-writing final exam essays will be a thing of the past. I'm surprised we still do.

What planet do you live on? Quite a number of my classmates didn't own their own computers, and that was at a fairly expensive private university.

When you factor in all the poor/rural/disadvantaged school systems, there is a very large body of students (~30%) who don't have a computer, even in the US.
Pushing for cursive writing is looking backwards. Everyone I knew had their own laptop in college. But let's just say that isn't the case. Most schools have computer labs now that are sufficient for classes, and in 20 years this will commonplace. We should prepare students for the future they enter, not the world today.

Edited by SnowProblem, 01 March 2013 - 02:06 PM.


#35 BGB   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1545

Posted 01 March 2013 - 02:08 PM


swiftcoder, on 01 Mar 2013 - 10:42, said:

Oberon_Command, on 01 Mar 2013 - 09:59, said:

Also, I think your experience is out of norm - not writing cursive doesn't imply writing with block capitals. I print in both upper and lower case and so does almost everyone else I know.

Can you print your upper and lower case as fast as I can write cursive? I'd be very surprised - and I'm not very quick, compared to those skilled in cursive.

SnowProblem, on 01 Mar 2013 - 09:59, said:
>In 20 years, hand-writing final exam essays will be a thing of the past. I'm surprised we still do.

What planet do you live on? Quite a number of my classmates didn't own their own computers, and that was at a fairly expensive private university.

When you factor in all the poor/rural/disadvantaged school systems, there is a very large body of students (~30%) who don't have a computer, even in the US.


Pushing for cursive writing is looking backwards. Everyone I knew had their own laptop in college. But let's just say that isn't the case. Most schools have computer labs now that are sufficient for classes, and in 20 years this will commonplace. We should prepare students for the future they enter, not the world today.


and, nevermind that the linked statistics were apparently from around a decade ago as well, so it is harder to say how much this relates to the present situation...

#36 swiftcoder   Senior Moderators   -  Reputation: 9516

Posted 01 March 2013 - 02:18 PM

Pushing for cursive writing is looking backwards. Everyone I knew had their own laptop in college. But let's just say that isn't the case. Most schools have computer labs now that are sufficient for classes, and in 20 years this will commonplace. We should prepare students for the future they enter, not the world today.

You are basing this on the assumption that cursive and typing are mutually exclusive? I've never met a student who can't type, even those with perfect cursive.

 

And students who grow up in cultures with more complex scripts (for example, Mandarin) have a much harder job ahead of them learning to write, than an English kid will learning to write cursive. But I see plenty of Chinese students in our university and graduate courses who also excel in computer science...


Tristam MacDonald - Software Engineer @Amazon - [swiftcoding]


#37 Oberon_Command   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1783

Posted 01 March 2013 - 02:23 PM


Also, I think your experience is out of norm - not writing cursive doesn't imply writing with block capitals. I print in both upper and lower case and so does almost everyone else I know.

Can you print your upper and lower case as fast as I can write cursive? I'd be very surprised - and I'm not very quick, compared to those skilled in cursive.


Probably not, but I also don't need to. I can write quickly enough to suit my purposes; maybe only a little slower than my usual talking pace. Besides, when I'm writing exams and essays the limiting speed factor is not my writing speed, but the speed at which I mentally process the question and structure the answer. The only circumstances I can foresee myself needing raw writing speed is taking dictation. But there are no foreseeable circumstances in which I would be taking dictation without a computer, and I can type faster (~120WPM) on a computer than I've ever seen anyone write in cursive.

In any case, if speed is the argument, then why aren't we still teaching people shorthand? After all, one can write really quickly with it (world record of 350WPM!), and it's about as legible as cursive.
 


In 20 years, hand-writing final exam essays will be a thing of the past. I'm surprised we still do.

What planet do you live on? Quite a number of my classmates didn't own their own computers, and that was at a fairly expensive private university.


 
I live on the same planet as you and almost everyone I know has had computer access of some sort since a young age. Come to think of it, I don't have a single friend who doesn't have a laptop, and this includes the poorest of my friends who are heavily dependent on student loans just to eat. To be fair, I did go to private high schools which forced us all to have laptops in and past the 9th grade. Where did you go to school, and when?

When you factor in all the poor/rural/disadvantaged school systems, there is a very large body of students (~30%) who don't have a computer, even in the US.

I guess I can understand that argument, but that portion of the world's population which does have easy computer access will someday not even be able to read cursive. How well are those students going to succeed when the rest of the country can't understand their writing? How will TAs (especially ESL TAs, which are very common where I go to school) mark their essays when said TAs can't read cursive?

I'm talking about clear, legible cursive, not chicken-scratch - the type of cursive that requires a solid foundation in primary school, and continual reinforcement throughout secondary education.

The latter kind of cursive is unfortunately the more common. "Clear, legible cursive" is a contradiction in terms in my experience.

#38 Oberon_Command   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1783

Posted 01 March 2013 - 02:32 PM

And students who grow up in cultures with more complex scripts (for example, Mandarin) have a much harder job ahead of them learning to write, than an English kid will learning to write cursive.

So? We're discussing English writing systems, not Mandarin. The choice is not between Mandarin and English, it's between cursive English and printed English. Complexity is also not the issue the post you were quoting was discussing - prevalence is, and the truth of the matter is that cursive is nowhere near as prevalent as it once was. Witness that only 15% of SAT takers in 2006 used cursive.

Plus, I don't think you can really compare English orthography with Mandarin orthography - each Mandarin character is an entire syllable, whereas a syllable in English takes at least 2-3 (or more) characters. Those characters may look complex, but then, they have more information than a letter of the Roman alphabet, so this is to be expected.

But I see plenty of Chinese students in our university and graduate courses who also excel in computer science...

Computer science is a field that (generally) doesn't require much writing. Are you sure that's a good example?

Edited by Oberon_Command, 01 March 2013 - 02:40 PM.


#39 swiftcoder   Senior Moderators   -  Reputation: 9516

Posted 01 March 2013 - 02:48 PM

Computer science is a field that (generally) doesn't require much writing. Are you sure that's a good example?

In case you have missed it, there seems to be an undercurrent in this thread that implies that one has to give up cursive in order to teach computer science... Thus my comment that you quoted.


Tristam MacDonald - Software Engineer @Amazon - [swiftcoding]


#40 SnowProblem   Members   -  Reputation: 105

Posted 01 March 2013 - 03:20 PM

swiftcoder, on 01 Mar 2013 - 12:26, said:



SnowProblem, on 01 Mar 2013 - 12:11, said:
Pushing for cursive writing is looking backwards. Everyone I knew had their own laptop in college. But let's just say that isn't the case. Most schools have computer labs now that are sufficient for classes, and in 20 years this will commonplace. We should prepare students for the future they enter, not the world today.

You are basing this on the assumption that cursive and typing are mutually exclusive? I've never met a student who can't type, even those with perfect cursive.
I'm saying let's prioritize teaching keyboarding over cursive earlier in their education, so that when they reach middle school, there can be programming and computer classes instead of Intro to Keyboarding. Maybe cursive can stay around as an elective.

Edited by SnowProblem, 01 March 2013 - 03:23 PM.





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