[OT] Alan Kay is angry

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[OT] Alan Kay is angry

Tom Glod via use-livecode
I learned this again, a few weeks ago, in the forum:

After many developers explained to a newbie the same concept
in many different ways, this person said: Yes, I understand...
but when this person tried to apply these concepts in a stack,
we learned that these explanations were not clear enough.

This platform needs more, much more, step by step
instructions for every important concept and technique
employed in LiveCode programming.

Al

William Prothero wrote:
> As education tech folks, we try to make the content we want to
> present as clear, easy, and transparent as possible. In our effort,
> we may be reinforcing expectations that gaining knowledge
> should be easy. But, what is actually accomplished may be
> memorization and a shallow understanding of how existing
> knowledge can be used to explore and enhance new knowledge.
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Re: [OT] Alan Kay is angry

Tom Glod via use-livecode
Allow me to be the devil's advocate here. Most people want step by step instructions. From the perspective of teaching though, this is perhaps the worst injustice you can inflict upon their education. UNDERSTANDING is what they need, and step by step memorization of a process really does nothing towards getting them what they need.

I struggle all the time with people who need to UNDERSTAND Microsoft Word for example, why they shouldn't use spaces, tabs and returns to format a document, why they should use style sheets, Headers, margins etc. What I often get is, "Just give me a step by step list and I'll figure it out." No, they won't.

Now someone who wants to be a developer, but cannot get past the already simple learning curve of Livecode, especially with all the help available in this list, should probably look for another hobby or line of work. I am reminded again, that not all people can do all things. Not all people are wired for it.

Now if I can teach someone to UNDERSTAND how a thing works, and why it's designed the way it is, not only will I likely not have to do much in the way of teaching them to apply their knowledge to a problem, but I will probably not have to do much for the next person who comes along, because I'll have conscripted an associate.

Bob S


> On Sep 18, 2017, at 17:04 , Alejandro Tejada via use-livecode <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> I learned this again, a few weeks ago, in the forum:
>
> After many developers explained to a newbie the same concept
> in many different ways, this person said: Yes, I understand...
> but when this person tried to apply these concepts in a stack,
> we learned that these explanations were not clear enough.
>
> This platform needs more, much more, step by step
> instructions for every important concept and technique
> employed in LiveCode programming.
>
> Al


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Re: [OT] Alan Kay is angry

Tom Glod via use-livecode
In my view, programming is different from, say: applying scientific reasoning to solve a problem. If we think of what "tools" are available to address a particular problem, the tools of a software language are prescribed, limited, and require specific knowledge of terminology and what can be done. Even with a deep understanding of computers, the programmer may encounter significant hurdles in learning a new task from a tutorial, simply due to wrong terminology, missing steps, etc. These can be very frustrating to an experienced programmer.

In other fields, like science, history, etc, the language and tools that can be applied to one's "understanding" are much broader and way more open to variation in what a person interprets as "understanding." Language, prior knowledge, and environment all figure in. For those who inquire deeply, questions of what counts as evidence, is the evidence true or trustworthy, etc, all figure in. It's a huge world that sociologists spend a lot of time researching.

So, I consider "understanding" in the context of computer programming to be way more restricted. The language and operations are very procedural, but it is important for the user to know what actions are possible and what will be the result.

Here is an example: I'm a lifelong programmer of numerous languages, but expert in few. When I start on a programming tutorial (livecode in particular), I get very frustrated when I encounter bugs, vagueness or omissions in the procedure. Understanding plays little part in this. I want my time to be used efficiently and if I have to thrash around to find the missing library, debug the example, find the missing step, etc, I get a negative opinion of the tutorial, if not the product. This is why it is so very important for folks who are unfamiliar with the product to review the tutorial for this kind of problem.

At least science is more amenable to quantitative and procedural thinking. Evidence can be evaluated, error limits assigned, and significance evaluated. There are physical equations. But there is a huge difference between being told scientific "facts" for replay in a test, from actually choosing and using scientific evidence to support a conclusion. It's important to understand that disagreement is part of the process, but good understanding can be achieved (mostly) with better analysis or the addition of new evidence. It is these ideas that are most useful for students to engage with. Active engagement with scientific data, as well as stories of the development of understanding of particular phenomena (think spherical earth, sun at center) are powerful tools.

In one example of a chemistry learning app, the lesson asked the student to measure a particular quantity in a substance and instructed the student through a step by step (drag this to .., read number at ..., go to next step, etc) procedure to get a result. It was an animated version of a worksheet. Instead, the developer could have created a simulated analytical instrument and asked the student to use it to solve a particular problem. This could have supported a much deeper understanding of the tools of chemistry. In my own teaching, I created an app that lets students easily access and display data that could be used to support the theory of plate tectonics. They write a scientific argument that is reviewed and graded by their peers. Final exam scores increased, for this topic, by large margins.

Enough for now. Livecode is great for education. It would be really nice if there was a 2d physics/animation engine. But that's another topic.

Best,
Bill P

William Prothero
http://es.earthednet.org

> On Sep 19, 2017, at 7:48 AM, Bob Sneidar via use-livecode <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> Allow me to be the devil's advocate here. Most people want step by step instructions. From the perspective of teaching though, this is perhaps the worst injustice you can inflict upon their education. UNDERSTANDING is what they need, and step by step memorization of a process really does nothing towards getting them what they need.
>
> I struggle all the time with people who need to UNDERSTAND Microsoft Word for example, why they shouldn't use spaces, tabs and returns to format a document, why they should use style sheets, Headers, margins etc. What I often get is, "Just give me a step by step list and I'll figure it out." No, they won't.
>
> Now someone who wants to be a developer, but cannot get past the already simple learning curve of Livecode, especially with all the help available in this list, should probably look for another hobby or line of work. I am reminded again, that not all people can do all things. Not all people are wired for it.
>
> Now if I can teach someone to UNDERSTAND how a thing works, and why it's designed the way it is, not only will I likely not have to do much in the way of teaching them to apply their knowledge to a problem, but I will probably not have to do much for the next person who comes along, because I'll have conscripted an associate.
>
> Bob S
>
>
>> On Sep 18, 2017, at 17:04 , Alejandro Tejada via use-livecode <[hidden email]> wrote:
>>
>> I learned this again, a few weeks ago, in the forum:
>>
>> After many developers explained to a newbie the same concept
>> in many different ways, this person said: Yes, I understand...
>> but when this person tried to apply these concepts in a stack,
>> we learned that these explanations were not clear enough.
>>
>> This platform needs more, much more, step by step
>> instructions for every important concept and technique
>> employed in LiveCode programming.
>>
>> Al
>
>
> _______________________________________________
> use-livecode mailing list
> [hidden email]
> Please visit this url to subscribe, unsubscribe and manage your subscription preferences:
> http://lists.runrev.com/mailman/listinfo/use-livecode


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