[nSLUG] APL (was: On programming)

Jeff Warnica jeffw at chebucto.ns.ca
Wed Oct 22 19:27:23 ADT 2003

On Wed, 2003-10-22 at 16:47, Jason Kenney wrote:
> Engineering and Physics: pretty much everything that moves or changes are 
> described through differential equations. 
> Without a sound background in calculus: ie, how to differentiate, how to 
> integrate, you're out of luck. 

Im using 'Calculus' to describe method of solving those with paper and
pencil.. Prehaps not the right word. But if the same word describes both
a problem type and a solution method, well... Thats my whole point.

> Even assuming it is working, "Calculus in first year university" applies to 
> more people then "programming in first year university". I don't see how 
> programming is more useful than calculus. There's no need to have everyone 
> working as a programmer. People who want to study plants can study plants. 
> If they have problems they need computers to help them solve, they can 
> hire programmers! 

This whole thread started as someone who wanted to do some programing to
help him study plants... We dont know if said person either knows, or
uses regularly calculus, but it is just one example (not proof by
itself) that programming as a skill is as important to know as calculus.

> Schools now are teaching programming of sorts, and other computer skills 
> in school. At my old junior high, there was a drafting class, a 
> woodworking class, a sewing class and a cooking class. Now *all* of that 
> has been replaced by a class on using flash. I think that's horrible! 

I agree.. But it depends on how its taught, and the reason for it.
School/education is realy a collection of 'koans' or fables; the purpose
of the activity isnt usualy clear. (unfortunatly, far too often,
teachers forget this, or dont understant it, and miss the 'moral' of the

the 'old' courses were taught for a few reasons:
- as a basic intro so people can 
	- actualy learn do that to a limited ability
	- not cut off there hands with saws/knives
	- see if they like it so they can persue it as a vocation 
	(or hobby)
- all teach to some degree measuring, estimation, spacial reasoning, etc
	- how they apply to money
- planning, which sounds trivial, but can be _very_ _hard_

I think, esp with the proliferation of free time; home imporvement
centers; cooking classes offered at your local supermarkets that
teaching scocity how not to cut off there hands is a good thing. But
more importantly was the leassons about spacial reasoning, and money

I cant see how flash can teach about money management. But...

Its not much of a streach to see how flash can be used to teach spacial
reasoning, and planning. At least as well as draftig, woodworking, etc
taught it.

And while I havent ever used it, Director can be extreemly complex.
Students can learn programming skills. Students can go crazy in
Photoshop and learn graphic design. Video and sound editing. Flash apps
can be quite usefull.

Is it likely that your JrHS is going to be a source for some expert
Flash developers? No. But it diddnt graduate any one who turned out to
be on the level of Norm Abram's did it? OTOH, Norm had to start
somewhere too...

> I also doubt you'll be able to interest junior high students in 
> programming anymore than you can interest them in simple geometry, algebra or 
> trigonometry.

Unlikely. But thats just because you cant interest JrHS students in
anything that isnt either something with bit tits, or the 2003
equivelent of Neil Patric Harris.

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