[plt-scheme] 3rd-8th Grade

From: Richard Cleis (rcleis at mac.com)
Date: Sat Mar 18 14:22:42 EST 2006

On Mar 18, 2006, at 11:02 AM, Carl Eastlund wrote:

> On 3/18/06, Richard Cleis <rcleis at mac.com> wrote:
>> I wonder, though, about the 100% drag-drop programming.  I am neither 
>> a
>> father nor an educator, so I am asking those who are: shouldn't the
>> children at least see some words that cause the movements, if not be
>> encouraged to type a few?
> Why aren't the pictures as good as words?

I am not implying that pictures aren't as good as words.  I am 
wondering about the total elimination of words.  For example, one dream 
of technology is that someday 'it' can communicate with people just as 
people communicate with each other; that requires words.

>   I'll grant that I don't
> know what the drag/drop structure is, but I'm certain I could design
> just as good a visual programming language as there are text ones, and
> just as bad a text language as there could be visual ones.  Who says
> there even are words behind the movements?
I do.  Societies thrive because there are words.  If a team wanted 
their robot to go a little farther past the outer edge of the circle (a 
light detector sees it), they told the whiz-kid (with words; they did 
not drag and drop the whiz kid) what they wanted.  That's what made me 
wonder: one whiz-kid did the dragging and dropping for all 9 teams 
because he knew how to do the dragging and dropping... the rest of them 
knew how to do the speaking.  What if the machine could listen?
>  What if Lego has a fully
> pictorial development suite?

They do, and it is very nice except that the icons were so small that 
only the whiz-kid knew what they meant.

> That's probably not the case, but I don't see any reason why "words"
> have to be part of the programming process.  Some friends of mine went
> through a CS Master's degree program at Carnegie Mellon where they did
> significant amounts of drag-and-drop programming, so clearly the
> concept, if not the Lego implementation, is ready for prime-time.
The robot meeting was about making systems work.  They had to make sure 
that bars didn't fall off and rubber tracks didn't jamb and that the 
programs worked ok.  Programming was only a part of it, just like real 
life.  I wonder if it is ok to imply that systems cannot be instructed 
by words, when they clearly can be.
> --
> Carl Eastlund
> "Cynical, but technically correct."

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