[K12OSN] Re: What programming languages are people teaching in K12LTSP environment (Petre Scheie)

Matt Oquist moquist at majen.net
Fri May 12 17:19:19 UTC 2006

At least you didn't mention VisualBasic, which strikes me as one of
the worst possible first languages to learn. I must admit that Flash
comes in a close second, though I hadn't considered it before.

If _programming_ is really what they're trying to teach, then the kids
need to learn analytic skills and structured programming concepts, and
NOT spend their time evaluating different shades of color and tweaking
precisely where their GUI elements are, etc. I greatly fear that
starting kids out in any visual environment makes it far too easy for
everyone to become distracted by unimportant visual things and neglect
the much more important conceptual things.

Just yesterday, a (non-programmer) math teacher at the high school
where my wife teaches pointed out that the math department, NOT the
business department, is the best place for the computer science
classes in a high school.

The link to Shuttleworth's April 26th entry that Dan posted is great
(thanks, Dan!).

Jeff Elkner, of Yorktown High School in Arlington, VA, has been
teaching Python to his students since 2000. He's even written a book
on this entitled "How to Think Like a Computer Scientist: Learning
with Python".


This open letter to educational institutions addresses this topic as
well, and provides some arguments for teaching any Open Source
language instead of any proprietary language:

This is a topic dear to me (I'm a software engineer with a CS degree
who is concerned for public education) and I hope this discussion is
helpful to you.

Lastly, I'll mention that Jeff Elkner will be at the UNH NorthEast
Linux Symposium this year, and he's delivering a keynote entitled
"Learning and Teaching with Free Software: A Twelve Year Journey
That's Only Just Beginning". I'm sure he'd be happy to discuss this
issue with anyone in person at the conference. http://nelinux.net :)


Open Source Software Engineering Consultant
-------------- next part --------------
A non-text attachment was scrubbed...
Name: signature.asc
Type: application/pgp-signature
Size: 189 bytes
Desc: Digital signature
URL: <http://listman.redhat.com/archives/k12osn/attachments/20060512/5b649bd0/attachment.sig>

More information about the K12OSN mailing list