Tuesday, October 4, 2011

John Miller Dissertation on Python for Computer Literacy

This paper discusses why python is appropriate to use as a teaching language. It's fairly tedious to read it and pull out the gems.  The author meanders down different paths.

Here's a few things that caught my attention.

In a review of literature of teaching high school computer programming,
Taylor (1991) identified five interrelated steps taken in the creation of a
functional computer program:

  1. Problem definition 
  2. Algorithm design 
  3. Code writing
  4. Debugging
  5. Documentation

At this stage, I'm just working on Code writing.  Although I have much further to go with my student, I can see how the other steps such as Algorithm design might be useful.

Other things I want to think about more:

  • teaching the use of code templates
  • working in teams
  • planning before coding
  • writing code to be read by human beings in addition to the machine
Three types of programming knowledge:
  • syntactic
  • conceptual
  • strategic
The document gains some steam at page 69, section 2.2 Teaching Programming.


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