[Melbourne-pm] last thought on programming

Timothy S. Nelson wayland at wayland.id.au
Sun Jan 4 20:15:43 PST 2009

On Mon, 5 Jan 2009, Toby Corkindale wrote:

> John Thornton wrote:
>>               Last thought that I can?t resist making. To explain why I 
>> still think that my school era [1980-1992] had ?garbage? computer 
>> education, let me put it this way:
>>              Did you know that the Victorian curriculum has gone 
>> *backwards* in programming skills since the 80s? An outlandish claim? Well, 
>> I found Maths A and Maths B books in a hop shop. In the back of them were 
>> instructions for coding in Pascal!!! There was a list of Pascal commands!

 	...and DOS came with a built-in programming language (BASIC).  Does 
Windows?  I don't count batch files.

>>            While we are at it I spare no savagery for the whole ?info tech? 
>> subject either. I never did it. But it seems obvious to me that just as 
>> science is broken up [enviro tech, physics, chem. Etc] info tech should be 
>> broken up as well. There should be a subject where you take the computer 
>> physically apart and aother one where you program. To lump info tech as one 
>> subject is dumb dumb  dumb.
> People don't learn to take apart motorcycles or mobile phones in school. Why 
> should they learn to take apart a computer?

 	It seems to me that John is advocating a return to the old tech 
school/high school split (and I'd be happy with that).  Having said that, I 
opened a friend's computer once, and his 9-year-old daughter looked over my 
shoulder and said "Where's the motherboard"?  So it's too obvious to make a 
whole subject of, unless we're talking about an apprenticeship.  But a class 
in "hardware problem solving" which incorporated computers and motorcycles and 
other things might be a useful idea.

> They are a commodity, consumer item, and the vast majority of people will 
> treat it as such - they will purchase one, and when it breaks they will have 
> a specialised worker repair it, or they will replace it. Just like their 
> other consumer items.
> Why should we waste their time trying to teach them how to tell the 
> difference between a GPU and a CPU? How many people can tell the difference 
> between the fuel injector and spark plug in a modern engine, if they can even 
> find them under the bonnet? Yet they can be perfectly fine drivers.

 	And mathematics beyond algebra is useful to people exactly how?  I'm 
thinking here of geometry and trig and calculus.  I'm not advocating that we 
stop teaching them or anything, but simply that it may be a more productive 
use of the nation's education resources to multi-stream.


| Name: Tim Nelson                 | Because the Creator is,        |
| E-mail: wayland at wayland.id.au    | I am                           |

Version 3.12
GCS d+++ s+: a- C++$ U+++$ P+++$ L+++ E- W+ N+ w--- V- 
PE(+) Y+>++ PGP->+++ R(+) !tv b++ DI++++ D G+ e++>++++ h! y-

More information about the Melbourne-pm mailing list