[plt-scheme] Re: HTDP - evidently not for everyone.

From: Benjamin L. Russell (DekuDekuplex at Yahoo.com)
Date: Thu Feb 18 21:56:49 EST 2010

On 2/13/10 8:46 AM, Thomas Holubar wrote:
> OTOH: there's also a chance for HtdP in this.
> As HtdP (or programming education, for that matter) broadens its domain,
> more and more students with wildly different backgrounds will be exposed
> to it. And one-size-fits-all is likely not the best approach...
> So: Where is "HtdP light"?
> :-)

Interesting; I have exactly the opposite problem:  The pace of HtDP is 
far too slow for me, such that every time in the past when I have tried 
to start on a topic, I have stopped because the framework was far too 
systematic for my taste, and did not excite my curiosity enough. 
Perhaps the type of textbook that I am looking for is not well-suited to 
classroom instruction, but I found the dialog format of _The Little 
Schemer,_ while at the same level, far more motivational, because the 
text included many implicit mini-exercises mixed with humor, which kept 
the doldrums away and inspired my curiosity for entire chapters.  But 
when I later switched to SICP, I experienced the opposite problem, and 
especially found some of the mathematical problems to assume too much 
domain knowledge.  Then again, when I switched to _Concrete 
Abstractions,_ I found that material to be slightly too elementary 
again.  However, I couldn't find anything between _Concrete 
Abstractions_ and SICP with the flavor of _The Little Schemer,_ which is 
what I really wanted to read.  (I have a copy of that book in my room, 
but not enough space in my room to read it except online; nevertheless, 
it is not available in any format online, and while the author promised 
to send me a PDF version of the Japanese version, he apparently never 
got around to it, and never returned any of my messages asking about 
what had happened to it; however, perhaps this issue is slightly 
off-topic in this thread.)

Nevertheless, if there is to be an "HtDP light," then why not an "HtDP 
advanced" as well?  Every time I asked about an online version of _The 
Little Schemer,_ I was told that HtDP contained essentially the same 
material; however, the presentation is very different:  TLS is organized 
in a dialog format, with many implicit exercises, little drilling, and 
some humor mixed in; whereas HtDP is organized in a textbook format, 
with many explicit exercises and little humor.  Because of these 
differences, while I find TLS extremely interesting (and motivating), I 
cannot say the same of HtDP.  So perhaps what I'm really looking for is 
"HtDP for TLS-readers?"  Is there an online version of HtDP with a 
similar presentation as TLS, in dialog format, with humor and topics of 
food, and many cute illustrations inspired on _Alice's Adventures in 
Wonderland_ to keep the doldrums away?

--Benjamin L. Russell

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