[K12OSN] Advocacy in Curriculum

Robert Arkiletian robark at gmail.com
Wed Dec 20 18:53:28 UTC 2006

On 12/20/06, Todd O'Bryan <toddobryan at mac.com> wrote:
> I'm getting a thin terminal lab after break and am interested in
> developing a curriculum that would exist in parallel with the
> programming classes I teach so that students learn a little bit more
> about Linux each year in my class. Ideally, by the third year, they'd
> be able to take and pass the Linux+ exam that CompTIA offers (because
> our state vocational ed department is just gaga over industry
> certifications).

I just showed the Datamation article to my IT students today. After we
went to dice.com and looked up some (of thousands) of the Linux
sysadmin jobs and how much they pay. (~80-100k USD/annum) Then we went
to Redhat's site and checked out how much the intro 4 day course
costs. (~2000 USD) Their eyes almost popped out of their heads when
they looked at some of the topics in the Redhat course outline: ssh,
scp, man, tar, cp, mv, ls, pipes, kill, filesystems, mount, grep,
find, permissions, etc... All the things we have been doing.

> I'll let you know what I come with, assuming I actually manage to
> come up with anything, but would be very interested to see anything
> other people have developed.

There are some great Orielly and Sams Teach Yourself books on Unix. As
well as online stuff like tldp.org. Anyone have other suggestions?

> Todd
> P.S. I think you can teach command line stuff as soon as they can
> type fast enough that it's not frustrating. The key, though, is
> motivation. They're not going to want to use the command line to do
> something they can do easier with the GUI. Finding tasks that are
> easier with a few typed commands would be key to making it
> interesting for students.

This is a common misconception. The Unix command line IS the most
powerful human interface ever. Just sit beside some Linux gurus and
you will see. I like to compare it to a light saber. Hard to learn but
once proficient, watch out. Since I teach python programming AND
linux. I make it clear that GUI programs are fine but how can you
script mouse movements and clicks. You can't! But you can script
anything you can do on the command line with system calls. So my
students know that the stuff they are learning on the command line
will enhance/extend their programming ability.

Kids today are addicted to the mouse. The key is to teach them how to
use the terminal and keyboard efficiently. I sometimes tell them to
put their mouses on top of their computers so they are forced to use
the keyboard. Soon they realize (TAB-TAB) how much faster they work.
But in the beginning it's tough to break the mouse GUI habit.

> On Dec 20, 2006, at 1:03 AM, Robert Arkiletian wrote:
> > On 12/19/06, Kari Matthews <karisue at gmail.com> wrote:
> >> Wow.
> >>
> >> At what age/grade should we start them on command line, in your
> >> (anyone's)
> >> opinion?
> >
> > My intro Python/Linux course is offered to students starting in
> > grade 10 and up.
> >
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Robert Arkiletian
Eric Hamber Secondary, Vancouver, Canada
Fl_TeacherTool http://www3.telus.net/public/robark/Fl_TeacherTool/
C++ GUI tutorial http://www3.telus.net/public/robark/

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