[OT] - Are computers in education better now than 20 years ago?

Michael L Torrie torriem at chem.byu.edu
Mon Feb 12 13:00:37 MST 2007


On Mon, 2007-02-12 at 12:22 -0700, Daniel C. wrote:
> On 2/12/07, Alex Esplin <alex.esplin at gmail.com> wrote:
> > So I think the main problem is that today's major operating system
> > choices ... keep the user too far away from the guts
> 
> Exactly.  You can't just pop open an editor and write a program anyone
> can use the same way they're used to using programs.  (By
> double-clicking an icon.)  At least not without writing the code to
> create all of the windows, control how they're handled, etc.  It's a
> pain.
> 
> I should really look more into Squeak to see if it makes doing this easy or not.

Hence someone wrote an interpreted environment in response to the
original article, "Why Johnny Can't Code."

http://kidbasic.sourceforge.net/

This is close to what I had when I was young with the bare IBM PC (CGA
Graphics!) or the Apple II. Of course we have Logo too, which is also
still quite accessible, albeit not as generic.

I think it would be possible to take a modern language like python and
wrap it up in a similar way as BASIC256.  

Of course I can also try setting up a C64 too.  In fact I just had a
professor tell me he's considering that after reading the article I
posted.  Of course, maybe a C64 emulator would be enough.

Seems like programming languages have come full circle.  They started
out in the edit/make/compile stage, then went to fully intrepreted, then
back to the edit/make/compile stage.  (well sort of.)  In a way
languages have become so abstract as to not be accessible anymore.  I
realized the other day that my beautiful python code that's
self-documenting ( :-) would be quite difficult for non-python
programmers to get a handle on because it is so abstract and employs
pythonic things like metaprogramming on a regular basis.


Michael



> 
> Dan
> 
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