[plt-scheme] Re: More pedagogic stuff

From: David Einstein (deinst at gmail.com)
Date: Mon Aug 11 20:37:07 EDT 2008

I'm sure you have seen Alan Kay's tirades on the same subject.I do not think
that the loss of the AP exam in CS is that great a loss.  I tutored a
friend's son for a few hours in preparation for it a few years ago, and felt
increasingly like Harold Ramis teaching English as a second language in
"Stripes".  The test (or at least the things that I was asked to clarify)
seemed to concentrate more on the syntactic and semantic filigree of java
than on recognizing problem and decomposing them into digestible chunks.  I
was reminded of this passage from Polya's preface to 'How to Solve it'

"It is foolish to answer a question that you do not understand.  It is sad
to work for and end that you do not desire.  Such foolish and sad things
often happen, in and out of school, but the teacher should try to prevent
them from happening in his class."

If it is of any consolation, though it shouldn't be, the situation is just
as dire in mathematics and the sciences.  Despite having been dragged
through 'math' for over a decade, the average American is nearly innumerate.
 Judging from that track record, the average high
school student is probably better served by learning things him/herself,
even from 'Learn world domination in 21 days', than from his/her school.
(I know where you stand on 'learn x in 21 days').

I do think that having things like HDTP and DrScheme available to anyone is
a step towards a solution, all that needs to be done is to let the people
who want to read it know where it is.

On Mon, Aug 11, 2008 at 2:05 PM, Matthias Felleisen <matthias at ccs.neu.edu>wrote:

> A while ago, Shriram and I wrote up a short essay on our perspective of why
> CS hasn't latched on in high school for some 25 years now and what we might
> wish to do about it:
>  http://www.ccs.neu.edu/home/matthias/essays/not-matter.html
> This is a preliminary draft of an opinion column that will appear in CACM,
> ACM's "flagship" publication (whatever that's supposed to mean). -- Matthias
> _________________________________________________
>  For list-related administrative tasks:
>  http://list.cs.brown.edu/mailman/listinfo/plt-scheme
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