[plt-scheme] Computers considered harmful

From: Prabhakar Ragde (plragde at uwaterloo.ca)
Date: Fri May 8 19:24:38 EDT 2009

Matthias wrote:

> Our students wish to use computers. If we don't use computers and
> show them how to write tool 3D simulations that also plug into their
> emotional brains and issue smells at the same time, they'll go down
> the hallway to the EE guys who have no qualms teaching ASM, eh, C++
> again.
> Our only choice is to combine the world of "modeling" with 
> programming.

Sorry, I know the discussion has moved on, but I want to challenge this

This describes the students we are getting now, for the most part, who 
have been seduced into the field by CGI and video games. It does not 
describe the students we are not getting but would like to have as well. 
In particular, math students seem to be excited by problem solving that 
is not tarted up with visuals and sound (and there are more female 
high-school students interested in math and good at it than interested 
in CS these days). The DrScheme approach is the best one I have seen to 
date to convince these students that CS also offers what thrills them. 
(Haskell may be even better in this respect but the learning curve for 
beginners is too steep, at least at present.) Sound and fury may 
actually be counterproductive for these students; it may be the reason 
they are not in CS in the first place. --PR

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