Plan First — What’s Wrong With (many) Programming Courses

There’s a big difference between learning a foreign language (e.g., French) and learning a computer programming language.  Sure , any computer language is much simpler, trivial even, compared to, say, French.  No, that’s not it. You already know a language and you’ve used it for years.  If you want to talk to someone, you know what […]

2nd Video & Overall Education Plan

The first video, LRC01A described the LRC (fictitious) computer, some of it’s language commands, the fetch-decode-execute cycle, a simple, add-two numbers program, and a homework problem to add 3 numbers. The LRC computer uses decimal numbers.  That’s one fiction.  Current computers use binary numbers.  I’ll put up a video explaining how number systems work, but that […]

First Video (Little Robot Computer — LRC01A on YouTube)

My grandkids just sent me an email, “ABOUT TIME PAPA!”. This first one describes a fictitious computer.  Not real, but it has elements common to all modern computers. I start with the computer and it’s language rather than at a higher level programming language more accessible to humans.  Why? 3 reasons: No matter what language or style […]

Opportunities galore, where are the folks??

Serendipity.  I was “surfing the net” looking for better ways to teach/learn programming.  ‘Learn to code, it’s harder than you think” (here) caught my eye.  Interesting. Summary: Special aptitude needed. Only a small percentage of folks can do it well.  It’s a high aptitude task. Most of existing programmers are self-taught.  A recent survey says […]

“Growth Mindset” and “Participation Trophies”

I ran across an article about students last week (here) that discussed “mindset’ and in particular, “growth mindset”. Some points: Your belief about your own intelligence has a big impact on your learning behavior and whether or not you can be an effective self-directed-learner. If you believe that a subject is “too hard”, you won’t even […]

“Welcome, Robot Overlords. Please Don’t Fire Us”

Catchy headline (2013).  (article here)  The magic date is 2025 when “they” can build a computer with the processing power of the human brain. Scared?  Well, our brain is a learning machine and so far the attempt to get computers to learn has not gone so well. NYU professor Michio Kaku put it in perspective, here. […]

Programs: For Me, For You, For All

I just read an interesting article, A Different Approach to Coding. One of the authors, Mitchel Resnick (MIT Media Lab), is one of the inventors of Scratch, a universally used graphical programming language.  Their thesis is that coding is a new form of literacy. BTW, Last December’s, Hour of Code, used Scratch and some other graphical approaches to […]

“Of course he can walk. Thank God he doesn’t have to!”

That was the caption on a satirical cover of New York Magazine (1970) showing a teenager in a wheelchair being pushed by a bejeweled woman with a very large mansion in the background. Rephrase: “Why learn to write if I don’t plan on being a professional writer?” — more relevant, here, “Why learn about computers, programming, robotics, coding, etc. […]

Robotics: What’s Happening (better: happened)

Check out Amazon’s Robots , 19 most important in 2015 and Merry Christmas. There are videos at the bottom of the first two links. Amazing, but I think that we’re now just at the “Model T” stage.  The advances that we’ll see will be stunning — and will impact our lives in unimaginable ways. Remember the maze solving crow?  Could a […]