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The next generation of Python programmers

The next generation of Python programmers

Posted Apr 23, 2014 22:48 UTC (Wed) by droundy (subscriber, #4559)
In reply to: The next generation of Python programmers by gnacux
Parent article: The next generation of Python programmers

I agree that coding should not supplant math and science requirements. Citizens need to have some basic familiarity with both math and science, and I wouldn't want kids taking CS to "get out of biology". On the other hand, I also think that programming is skill that is needed at some level by most people. More necessary than trigonometry, for instance. (And as a physicist I certainly would not want to skimp on trig.)

Fortunately, programming is a great way to come to better understand math (and consequently the scientific disciplines that use math), so it's not an either/or situation. We currently do an abysmal job at teaching high school math, so it's quite possible to teach (elementary) programming *and* teach math better, in the same course using the same amount of time. Here's a talk on the subject (not by myself, but by someone I met at a conference on STEM education):

http://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&pid=sites&srcid...

A challenge is getting teachers the training to use this pedagogy effectively, but Eric's been working on precisely that. And his pilot group of teachers is large enough for optimism.


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The next generation of Python programmers

Posted Apr 24, 2014 0:06 UTC (Thu) by mathstuf (subscriber, #69389) [Link]

> More necessary than trigonometry, for instance.

More necessary than statistics? Personally, I found my statistics class to be one of the more beneficial classes in high school. I wish it would be placed in the center of the math track rather than off to the side like a "lesser" capstone than calculus (at least it was at my school).

The next generation of Python programmers

Posted Apr 24, 2014 3:22 UTC (Thu) by droundy (subscriber, #4559) [Link]

No, I'd put statistics right at the top of the list of topics that everyone should have a good grasp of.

The challenge, of course, is to find teachers of statistics with sufficient knowledge of the subject to do more good than harm.

For instance, ideally every high school graduate would have a more solid understanding of statistics than doctoral researchers at the National Center for Health Statistics in Hyattsville, Maryland, who know just enough about statistics to make (and publish) results containing a textbook error in the use of the P-test, as reported here:

http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/reports-of-a-drop-in-...

For appropriate background on this particular error:

http://xkcd.com/882/

Sadly, there is rarely as ready access to the data and methodology as was in place for this particular study, so it is usually hard to know when researchers commit this sort of fraud (or malpractice).


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