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Topic: The NEW classroom


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Subject:   RE: The NEW classroom
Author: Mathman
Date: Feb 23 2005
On Feb 23 2005, tackweed wrote:

The following is the only part I'd object to, but you are likely stuck with it
as part of the curriculum outline.  I like your approach in the former, and will
certainly pass that along.

>Depending on the objective, some
> BASIC programming exercises are given to copy and to execute. The
> explanation of the programming steps is demonstrated and students
> will sometimes experiment.

Like people learning any other skill, it does not do to not proceed in a strict
developmental fashion when learning the basics.  So, I think for the sake of
learning to program that they would be better off without it until they meet a
fully developed programming course.  It is much more difficult to unlearn than
it is to learn, and I can see bad habits or wrong attitudes being developed
here.

>What is
> unfortunate is that as the state keeps pushing for its cookbook-
> style curriculum, more technology is being squeezed out of the
> curriculum.  Go figure.

"Cookbook" approaches are not preferable for those who have skills in the
subject, but there are those for whom a more rigid approach is beneficial.  They
get a better sense of security.  For those who will go on to further study,
mathematics is a vast area of knowledge and still requires direction of some
sort.  I loved to pose problems in early high school classes such as that of
finding the largest sphere that would just fit behind a sphere of unit radius
that is tight in the corner of a room.  On the one hand there were those who
delighted in such problems.  On the other I have been told I was showing off.
on the one hand I have been told not to stick to the text.  On the other I have
been told I digressed too much [but in fact didn't.  The complainant simply
couldn't see the woods for the trees]  You can please some of the people some of
the time.  So, we need some "cookbook" math to please some, and also some
diversionary material for the sheer joy of it.

P.S.  I've done some spreadsheets and programming over the years.  If possible,
I'd suggest a peek at Visual Basic if teaching kids even a little.  They would
find the GUI approach more interesting than the plain text, although the text
logic must still prevail.  I still think it is best for them to wait for a
proper study in that area though, and don't think that it really adds a lot to
what they are really studying ...the math... at that time.

David.

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