[IAEP] [squeakland] What makes examples good for novices? and How do we tell if an example is good for novices?

Steve Thomas sthomas1 at gosargon.com
Fri Feb 3 01:18:47 EST 2012


On Thu, Feb 2, 2012 at 10:16 PM, Lawson English <lenglish5 at cox.net> wrote:

>  I can't give you any stats other than positive feedback I have gotten,
> but the Salman Khan style of video teaching seems to work well for
> programming as well as for math.
I generally like the Salman Khan video's and think they have their place
(flame away folks :).  The ability to watch at my your pace and on your own
time is a big plus and my kids use them sometimes when they are struggling
with a concept.  While it is preferable to struggle with the concepts
ourselves, who has the time (or the ability) to re-construct all that
knowledge. So, I think there is a role for a "good explanation."  Of
course, it would be nice if he had more "Sugar" like artifacts to play and
learn with.

That said I really didn't like his Programming videos.  Programming, I
believe, is much better if taught with lots of hands on opportunities and
problems.  Videos could be used after the learner has a chance to work on a
problem. Perhaps to show different ways to solve a problem and/or Providing
a Guided Tour through "good literature" (well written code) and perhaps bad
as well or something like Java Puzzlers, to let kids learn where the
pitfalls are and get a better understanding of how things work.

> My video series, Squeak from the very start, is a very conscious effort to
> duplicate his style:
> http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL6601A198DF14788D&feature=view_all
> Friends characterize my video style as being like a mentor in a
> pair-programming session.

I like the idea of kids pair-programming although I would think you would
need to set some ground rules like (the "advanced" kid can't touch the

FYI, I like your videos and have used them for myself.


> On 2/2/12 5:56 PM, Steve Thomas wrote:
> So I am taking a P2PU course On How to Teach Web Programmin to Free Range
> Learners<http://p2pu.org/en/groups/how-to-teach-webcraft-and-programming-to-free-range-students/>and a couple of questions came up:
> So I pose them to the community:
>    1. What makes examples good for novices?
>    2. How do we tell if an example is good for novices?
> Also where can I find a good set of examples for learning programming?
> It would be nice to have a curated set of "Great literature".
> Pointers to any research on the topic would be appreciated.
> Stephen
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