Adriaan van Os gpc at microbizz.nl
Sat Aug 18 12:56:36 CEST 2007

M. Uhle sen. wrote:
> This seems to me to be another version of a very academic discussion about 
> our "new" students, who all know how to "click"......Sorry, they are as the 
> are.
> Trying to teach "programming" to undergraduate students for years now, I do 
> see the problem from a different point of view.
> It is NOT a question of IDE's, debugging-Systems, sophisticated tools, not 
> even languages. To me it seems to be a problem of missing applications.
> What I mean?
> Student: To program my first "hallo world" is simply boaring, I am not 
> interested to print a simple sin-table.. and the like. What on earth all this 
> programming is to be used for?
> Some years ago Iswitched to:
> A simple editor, a plain compiler, and a textbased console and AN INTERESTING 
> JOB to do.
> Say: simulate an atomobile on a 10 km long road with traffic lights.
> Answer the question: does it make sense to ignore speed limits or does it not?
> So jump, dive, and swim..

At least this creates an intellectual challenge to students, but the wrong one. In fact, you are 
saying "I am teaching a boring discipline (science/craftmanship/art) so I am trying to make it 
interesting by finding an interesting application (Anwendung)".

I find that horrible. Only those students that find programming *itself* interesting, will later be 
good programmers and we really don't need to bother with the rest (they had better start a career 
in politics or marketing or so). Again, the task of teachers is to lead pupils into this wondeful 
new world, i.c. programming and exact thinking, and bring young people to spiritual maturity, 
rather than trying to "amuse" them with an interesting application. And - if you do not strongly 
believe *yourself* that programming as a discipline (science/craftmanship/art) can be interesting, 
you will never be able to bring your students to real enthousiams for what you are teaching.


Adriaan van Os

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