On Sun, Dec 29, 2013 at 8:19 AM, Robert Hansen <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
You are jumping around a lot here, but since my current practice is based > on a whole stack of Oracle products, the least of which is the database, I > think I am more than qualified to offer some guidance here. There are very > few people who failed algebra and make a living writing SQL. It is probably > that the reasoning skills are very similar. Of course, making a living to > me doesn?t mean writing SQL for a soup kitchen, bless their heart. It means > working for a company, often in a cubicle, and making those salaries you > keep referring to. And DBA?s don?t write SQL anymore. Being a DBA is all > about security, performance, availability and disaster recovery. > > I didn't claim those failing algebra made up today's cast of SQL slingers (me one of them -- did fine in Al Jabr).
I'm saying basic record keeping is the province of all to learn about in a democracy, and to hold back so severely when to comes to teaching anything about key technologies is fascist / royalist. If school is about making people more helpless and clueless than ever, then it's doing a good job by making "math class" so bereft of current content. If I were a Black Panther in the 60s (which I'm not, duh), I'd be teaching SQL in the basements of Chicago to ghetto kids for the AFSC. The FBI would be watching me. "Those skills are too dangerous in the hands of the underclass" said the memo from Hoover (played by DiCaprio in a recent film).
> > When I started my training as a high school math teacher (Jersey City, > 1980s), just about every math teacher I met was training to go in the other > direction: towards private sector IT. We lost a huge army of math > teachers to careers writing Visual Basic. It's not too late (in theory). > Many of those VBers would like to jump back into teaching math, but we > won't let 'em (barriers to entry are high). > > > Excuse me for being a stickler for detail. Aston Tate, Lotus and DOS ruled > the 80?s, while the glory days of the TRS-80 were coming to a close. VB > came out in 1991 and Windows, for all intents and purposes, didn?t even > exist until Windows 3.1 which came out in 1992. I am sure that the former > VBers would like to teach, seeing that VB has been dead since 2003, when > .Net emerged. I was a VBer, for 10 years, but I have always been really > good at catching the next wave. I tried to get many associates to change. > But you know what they say about old dogs. >
Yeah, you're right, I was compressing a lot. My education classes at St. Peters College in New Jersey did give me a sense, from the campus, that math teachers were high tailing it to the private sector, since their abilities were in demand. Turn a math teacher on to Python.... there I go again, Python not invented yet. Monty Python still new. And The Beatles a recent memory.
I always avoided anything BASIC -- except in that group home where I played homework games with foster kids and it came on their Commodore or whatever. APL was my first love but my bread and butter was said Ashton Tate's, dBase, later FoxPro, then Visual FoxPro, which took me into the cardiac surgery theater (CVOR) as a prodigy programmer, writing prototypes of stuff like GE's.
Good thing I was always interested in programming languages in general and studied Java, Scheme, Python in my search for good geometry software. However I did publish at article on Quadrays (cite Wikipedia) in FoxPro Advisor, before switching to Python more completely, lingering in VFP9 to help a genius engineer with his truck routing code pile (huge and in service). MSFT plans to officially pull the plug on VFP next year -- one of the chief danger's of a proprietary language is the proprietor.
> You are right about the barriers to teach though. But it isn?t because the > world doesn?t like VBers. You?ve seen the policies and mandates. We talk > about them here all the time. Why would you even bother applying to teach > at a public school at this point? > > Yeah, just for Saturday Academy I had to do lots of background checks and fingerprinting and stuff.
But then I've been a full time high school teacher so they figured I could do the work.
Couldn't live on those wages (never tried). That wasn't a full time gig.
> > Here's the paradox: computer science is a fancy extra most run-o-the-mill > schools can't afford, but the high property tax areas can, so the only kids > who know about XML / HTTP / CSS in any detail are privileged, get the good > summer jobs and internships, join the nonprofits. People talking about the > achievement gap never mention our solution / proposal in Oregon: let math > teachers extend their curriculum such that all this vocational / applicable > stuff stops being so elective / dispensable. Let them learn programming > *for math credit* for a change, rather than making 'em burn out on > calculus. I was sorry the politicians failed the IQ test and let it > languish, but not surprised. Idiocracy is widespread. > > > Public schools could easily afford CS. It isn?t like in our day when it > required a mainframe. >
You're thinking of hardware, but should be thinking of faculty. You just said: why would you, for example, give up your income and lifestyle now, for that of a school teacher?
Are you going to retrain the existing math faculty?
They don't know enough CS to feel confidant they'll tell you. It wasn't their major after all, and if it had been, do you think they'd be there?
Think it through. Where would you get the teachers?
I think there are answers, but I don't think they're always obvious.
The UK by the way, is very seriously looking at jumping into that Rasberry Pi world in a bigger way. Do you follow that story? Python was big with One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) and is big with Raspberry Pi, so, as a Pythonic Math teacher, I feel I have a front row seat.
The UK truly is a different culture. The BBC made like a "national computer" awhile back, the BBC Micro. The BBC has no true counterpart in the US.
> They have more than enough PCs floating around, doing nothing. And it > certainly isn?t math that keeps schools from teaching CS. Math and CS go > together like peanut butter and jelly. Maybe you were in a coma for the > last 20 years, but most of the energy in public schools has shifted to the > bottom 25% and the disabled. It takes all their energy just to rig test > scores and give a semblance of diversity. It isn?t like it was when we went > to school. Yes, you can escape a lot of this by moving to an expensive zip > code or going to a private school. Or you might be lucky enough to be part > of a selective public school or focused charter school. But how can you > blame people for taking those options when you know very well what > mainstream public schooling has become? > >
So if CS and Math go together like PB&J then why no SQL in high school hardly? Throw a dart at Chicago and take the nearest high school. "Do you teach any SQL in this building?" And repeat, with other cities and counties.
Nothing too fancy with the SQL, just a "how things work" approach linked to Venn Diagrams, the boolean type (WHERE clause conditions), the usual truth tables for if-then, and, or (contrapositive etc.). Logical fallacies. Logic gates. More history of the development of today's technology. Shoulda been doing that already. Today's content is so retro.
The math textbooks are not especially CS friendly. We've discussed this already, for years, on this very Forum.
We need hexadecimal and binary, even Base 64 for mime types sent via SMTP. What's SMTP? What's HTTP? What are mime types? The smart kids are left to study that on their own for the most part.
Adults need this stuff too and were left behind. Public television has failed us it seems. We never got much beyond Sesame Street and pedagogy. No andragogy, when it comes to A-Z, 0-12 (their adult equivalents).
I'm looking forward to when Robert Hansen's course is one of the offerings. Why not put your insights to good use?
> > That makes two of us. I have created quite a bit of content for my > reference curriculum. But I also keep vacillating between that and a book > on mathematical pedagogy in general. I am just amazed at how backward the > field went in the last 20 to 30 years. > > Bob Hansen >
Well that's good.
Don't forget you could do web site(s).
I'd like to get behind more YouTubes, with the BFI maybe?
I've been uploading more on my own recently, using VPython + iMovie. My detractor (you'll remember -- he joined us here) has chimed in with his comments.