[plt-scheme] Re: Novice needs help writing function

From: Benjamin L. Russell (dekudekuplex at yahoo.com)
Date: Tue Jan 8 20:43:31 EST 2008

Before this thread completed dies out, I just wanted
to point out that I probably should have revised my
earlier statement on recommending that _The Little
Schemer_ was "eminently suited to _teaching_ recursion
to a beginner."

Instead, I probably should have stated that it seemed
"eminently suited to a beginner's using it for
_self-study_ of recursion."

One of the primary foci of a self-study text is that
it must hold the student's interest.  For me, it did
this job excellently.  (I even took it with me at 3 AM
to Kinko's in Manhattan to read when taking a break
from studying databases.)

In a classroom, in addition to this focus, the text
likely must also serve as part of a course with a
structured set of topics serving at least one unifying
purpose in mind.  This requirement may not be
absolutely necessary for self-study of the same topic.

Benjamin L. Russell

--- Matt Jadud <jadudm at gmail.com> wrote:

> On Jan 3, 2008 8:45 PM, Benjamin L. Russell
> <dekudekuplex at yahoo.com> wrote:
> > that the dialog style of that text was eminently
> > suited to teaching recursion to a beginner.
> >
> > Since HtDP is an expansion of that book, _The
> Little
> > Schemer_ may be useful as a prequel.  After that,
> > another suggestion could be _The Seasoned
> Schemer_.
> >
> > -- Benjamin, co-liberal arts student
> With all due respect to you and the authors on this
> list, I would
> never want to teach an introductory class where 
> "The Little Schemer"
> was my students' first exposure to thinking about
> programming. It
> would work for far too few of them, both
> stylistically and in terms of
> content. Or, perhaps it just wouldn't work for me,
> personally, in my
> classroom.
> I have enjoyed watching the evolution of HtDP
> (through the addition of
> new extended exercises, etc.), and have had very
> good success using it
> in the classroom. But that is because it was
> developed in conjunction
> with tools (DrScheme, the Stepper, and the "Student"
> languages) with a
> specific purpose in mind---and that purpose is clear
> to me as an
> instructor. Having a clear understanding of the
> intentions of the
> authors of the tools and text make it a good deal
> easier to integrate
> those tools into my own personal practice.
> Matthias might be able (willing?) to reflect/relate
> how The Little
> Lisper/Schemer developed, and the differences
> between those texts  and
> HtDP (w.r.t. the purposes they were intended to
> serve, from his point
> of view). Now that I think about it, I suppose
> "Structure and
> Interpretation of the Computer Science Curriculum"
> was some of that
> reflection[1]. Although... it doesn't mention the
> Little
> LISPer/Schemer at all. They're obviously very
> different texts, so I'm
> curious about their relationship, if there is one to
> be noted at all.
> Cheers,
> Matt
> [1]
> http://www.ccs.neu.edu/scheme/pubs/jfp2004-fffk.pdf

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