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Re: [seul-edu] Language to teach 10 year olds

G'day again:

I don't see why this has to be an either/or kind of debate. 
I believe that a language like PHP (and probably others)
is both a good language for teaching general concepts, programming logic,
basic principles, problem solving, etc, etc 
*and* a practical real life language, not necessarily for making money,
but for doing real work in the real world.

For those who don't know it, the syntax is fairly similar to C but it doesn't 
require tedious memory management, variable typing, compiling etc.
It does have all the usual statements, operators, functions etc etc.
Personally, I find it easier than Python do to data-driven web stuff.

It can be used to quickly produce powerful web applications and I
could think of many projects that a Year 6 class could attack with gusto using
it. It is entirely web-centric and I don't think the web is going away anywhere
fast in the next 10 years.

Mind you, just because I like PHP doesn't mean it's for everyone ... :-)


On Mon, 16 Jul 2001, Cees de Groot wrote:
> Chris Hedemark <chris@yonderway.com> said:
> >I occaisionally hire high school students for some programming work.  Nobody
> >is going to get a job with smalltalk or some other classroom-only language
> >as their core competency.  Show me strength in perl, python, C, tcl, etc. if
> >you want to actually have an after-school job, summer job, or half-day
> >mentorship during the school year.
> >
> ..and then send the Smalltalkers to me - contrary to what you seem to believe,
> iit's everything but a classroom-only language. 
> But still, I'm appalled at the point that many seem to be making here: a
> school is there to teach kids practical stuff so they can go out and earn
> money as quickly as possible. I think that a school needs to teach kids
> learning, not knowledge (apart from some basic knowledge). If they learn
> how to learn and how things work and relate, they'll get the knowledge
> together when they need it. Teaching programming should be done in the
> same fashion - help them understand what a computer is about, what you
> can do with it, what sort of ways there are to tell a computer to do its
> job, etcetera. If they are fed the basis (hands-on, yes, so they don't
> get bored) they'll have the material on-board to expand their knowledge
> and the languages they understand all by themselves.
> But if you just want to make sure that they land an easy summer job, hey,
> tech them Visual Basic or Java. 
> For me, the primary discussion should be what educational value a language
> posesses (I've made my point - Squeak Smalltalk). If this happens to be a
> popular industry language so that kids can have summer jobs with it - great!
> But that should *never* be an a-priori decision factor.
> -- 
> Cees de Groot               http://www.cdegroot.com     <cg@cdegroot.com>
> GnuPG 1024D/E0989E8B 0016 F679 F38D 5946 4ECD  1986 F303 937F E098 9E8B
Michael Hall
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