[plt-scheme] Re: More pedagogic stuff

From: Noel Welsh (noelwelsh at gmail.com)
Date: Wed Aug 13 11:58:22 EDT 2008

On Wed, Aug 13, 2008 at 3:42 PM, wooks <wookiz at hotmail.com> wrote:
> So if I said I wasn't qualified to do so (as I had meant to) you lot
> would have said don't worry we'll help you. Ok point me to some papers/
> materials.

As I recall, the author's argument was:

1. Teaching Java with our curriculum and IDE is hard [Correct]
2. Therefore teaching OO is hard [Incorrect conclusion]
3. Therefore teach structured programming (in VB, but I think that is

There are many problems with the author's argument.  My main issues are:
- They fit the curriculum to the technology, not vice versa.  So they
reject object-first because whatever IDE they are using doesn't
support it well
- They overgeneralize from a bad experience with a particular
curriculum, language, and IDE, to all OO languages
- They fail to consider other alternatives (e.g. functional
programming) to OO languages

Of the BlueJ papers (http://www.bluej.org/about/papers.html):

"The Problem of Teaching Object-Oriented Programming", Part 1:
Languages and Part 2: Environments argue you need to choose your
language and environment well.

"Guidelines for Teaching Object Orientation with Java" largely
suggests the points the author makes are a result of poor choice of
curriculum and IDE.

"The BlueJ system and its pedagogy" shows you can do much better with
a better environment.

http://www.teach-scheme.org/Talks/ suggests you can do very well with
an alternate curriculum.

>From http://www.ccs.neu.edu/scheme/pubs/ I would look at:

 The Structure and Interpretation of the Computer Science Curriculum
 The TeachScheme! Project: Computing and Programming for Every Student
 DrScheme: A Programming Environment for Scheme


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