[racket] review my tutorial?

From: Matthias Felleisen (matthias at ccs.neu.edu)
Date: Thu Aug 1 15:07:58 EDT 2013


I read your building tower's tutorial and I really like the idea of motivating programming for children with something like Minecraft, which seem to like. Since we already have a decent outreach program for this level, please consider creating a Minecraft-Racket bridge. Our approach to teaching programming emphasizes transfer of skills between programming and math. Traditional programming skills do not transfer, because of low-level obstacles ('x = x + 1' just isn't an equation and when you solve it you get '0 = 1') to high-level obstacles (what's a 'while' loop in mathematics). 

So we prefer a functional approach because it definitely benefits children and it scales all the way to serious software. 

One way to go about this is to hook up Minecraft to what we call the 2htdp/universe teachpack, specifically the world form. There are two strategies: 
 -- modify 2htdp/universe so that handlers can output Minecraft commands (and the world-universe library interprets it for them) + add a handler that can deal with signals from Minecraft 
 -- leave 2htdp/universe alone but set up a world that communicates with a local universe that can receives S-expressions from the students' world and interprets them and turns signals from Minecraft into messages for the world
I have used the second strategy to connect a brain-wave headset with world (big-bang). 

Another way to go about it is to connect Marketplace (a Racket-embedded programming language) to your Minecraft API. See the package server. Marketplace is available from there. This is probably easier and it is good enough for one of us to do the rest. 

Let us know about your progress and we can also help evaluate your World/BigBang tutorials. 

Nice work!! -- Matthias

On Jul 30, 2013, at 2:34 PM, grant centauri <gcentauri at lincolnix.net> wrote:

> hello all,
> i wrote a programming tutorial which connects Common Lisp to the Minecraft Pi edition, attempting to illustrate recursion through the process of building a tower.
> after publishing it on my personal site, I realized no one was likely to ready it, and even if they did, it seemed unlikely that CL would be a good choice for my audience.  
> I have been considering rewriting the tutorial in Racket (someone from this list pointed me to an already written library for the API), but I am pretty isolated in my pursuit of programming.  I work with children at a montessori school, and have been learning programming as a hobby in the hopes of offering rudimentary skills to kids who might be interested.  Minecraft + Raspberry Pi seemed like a good option to try something out.  It would be nice if some of you programmers and educators out there wouldn't mind reviewing my current article and maybe offering some critique so I can improve on it?  This list seems to be the best programming community I can find so I thought I would ask.  Sorry it is in a foreign dialect, but it is fairly simple.
> here it is on the web:
> http://www.lincolnix.net/gcentauri/build-tower.html
> thank you for considering!
> -grant
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