Category Archives: learning

On this page:
  • Odd things
  • On teaching programming
  • Creating Passionate Users: Ten Tips for New Trainers/Teachers
  • Learning designers
  • Divergence
  • Silk-screening workshop

Odd things

On our way back from Infoweapons (and on the prowl for non-fried
places to eat), Paolo and I spotted a brightly-lit cafe with Japanese
characters sprayed on its windows. We stood there for a moment,
deciphering the inscription: 喫茶と軽食. Tea house and snacks. Coffee
and snacks. Something like that.

Then we saw the bookshelves overflowing with manga.

Whoa.

We went in and stared at the manga collection for a moment. I amused
myself by trying to translate the sign posted above the bookshelf. The
English caption mentioned Japanese people who want to converse with
Cebuanos. Being neither Japanese nor Cebuano, I wondered if they’d let
me come and practice Japanese anyway. A look at the clientele—old
Japanese businessmen, pretty Filipinas—and at the high prices posted,
and Paolo and I looked at each other and laughed. It might be like one
of those snack bars I saw in Shinjuku…

Hmm. Maybe we can have a cup of hot chocolate / coffee and read as
much as we want. Maybe Wednesday. Hehehe…

私は妹に新しいコンピューターを使わせてやった。 I let my sister use my new computer.

On Technorati: ,

On teaching programming

why do I have to write all this syntactic sugar to just do the canonical “Hello, world”?

I firmly believe that the canonical “Hello, world” program is one of
the worst ways to introduce Java, or even programming in general.

I like BlueJ. It’s a nice, clean, object-oriented environment that
immediately visualizes the difference between objects and classes and
allows students to interact with objects before they even see Java
code. I like the way BlueJ lets you interact with complex systems,
learning about control structures and logic along the way.

A popular Python tutorial starts with using Python as a calculator
instead of just getting it to print strings. Isn’t that a great way
for people to see how immediately useful a programming language can
be?

I wouldn’t start an Emacs Lisp tutorial with (print “Hello, world!”).
I would start it by taking a look at an existing function and
modifying it.

Languages should not all be taught the same way. Just because we might
have learned with “Hello, world” doesn’t mean that “Hello, world” is
the best way to learn how to program. I think there are better ways to
teach computer science, and I want to spend a fairly significant chunk
of my life looking for them.

You can, too. Just remember that you can improve on the way things
have always been done.

E-Mail to True Computer Science Mailing List

彼女は娘のためにパソコンを買ってやった。 She got her daughter a personal computer.

On Technorati: , ,

Creating Passionate Users: Ten Tips for New Trainers/Teachers

Kathy Sierra does it again! In Ten Tips for New Trainers/Teachers on her blog about Creating Passionate Users, Kathy lists 11 things every teacher should know and 10 tips every teacher should follow.

There’s a reason why she’s one of my idols. Fangirl, fangirl, fangirl…

Even if you’re not officially teaching or training someone, you’re going to find it useful. READ IT! NOW!

そのコンピューターはかなり時代遅れだったので役に立たなかった。 The computer was so outdated that it was good for nothing.

On Technorati: ,

Learning designers

In College Matters… Sometimes, Kathy Sierra writes:

Maybe there should be third-party “learning designers” who you pay to plan and choose the best options and put together a perfectly tailored custom program from a variety of learning vendors (instead of throwing all your learning eggs into one school basket) that still includes some general education, but in the way that makes the most sense for that particular student, and uses both online, distance, and *some* face-to-face learning.

Hmm. Now there’s a fun idea. I like tailoring things to fit people’s individual needs, and I’m crazy about teaching…

祖母が生きているうちに、電話もコンピューターも一般的なものとなった。 In my grandmother’s lifetime, both telephones and computers have become commonplace.

On Technorati: ,

Divergence

Knowing how I wanted to practice my Japanese, Mark Chignell told me
about a couple of Japanese-related events this weekend. (Isn’t it nice
to have a research supervisor who keeps track of your extracurricular
interests?)

The first event was a language exchange session held last Saturday, at
which I ran into no other than Baryon Posadas. Come to think of it, I
shouldn’t have been that surprised. Of course he’d be at a
Japanese-language event.

Everyone was heading off to Starbucks to chat over coffee. I wanted to
ask how he had been, but I needed to go to Clarkson Station to meet
Tita Sol. We tried to work out some other time to meet, but he had
promised to help someone move and he needed to find an apartment, and
a lot of other things. Technically, I think I’m supposed to e-mail him
if I want to meet him for coffee (or hot chocolate), but now that I
think about it, I don’t have much to chat with him about. Except
perhaps for general settling-in questions, like where’s a good place
to open a bank account or get a credit card, and I already sorta know
the answers to those questions.

Anyway, I went to the barbecue today because it meant a free lunch. I
didn’t get to practice my Japanese, though, as I didn’t feel up to
making small talk in a foreign language—not when there was a
perfectly good conversation to have with Mark about research plans and
what I should do while he’s off in Japan. (Yes, we were talking about
work. On a Sunday! During a long weekend!)

During a lull in the conversation, we wandered around in search for
non-MSG chips. Baryon was there at the table with the unflavored
chips, so I briefly introduced them to each other. Mark got drawn into
a conversation with a bunch of Japanese girls, so I was left on my
own. I asked them if I could sit there. I sat there for maybe a
minutes, idly munching on chips. Got bored, found it difficult to
break into a clique, eventually thought of a question to ask Mark and
left the table without a word.

Anyway, the entire thing prompted a reflection on divergence. I’d
borrowed a number of books from him before (speculative fiction,
mainly), and that was our common interest. Now my reading tastes have
changed (non-fiction and children’s lit) and our worlds are really
very different now.

Mark’s a pretty good judge of character, and he picked up on the
differences too. <laugh> In fact, he thought Baryon was strange.
I shrugged and said, “He’s from humanities.” (Nothing against the
humanities, of course. Hi Marcelle!)

I think that energy makes a big difference to me. Mark’s a positive,
high-energy kind of person, which is one of the reasons why I get
along with him very well. Baryon and a number of other people I know
don’t show that kind of energy often. They’re more reserved and
detached.

If you take a look at the people I love hanging out with (Hiya, Just
Geeks League! ;) ), they’ve all got positive energy. One of the things
I like about chatting with Dominique is the way his smile comes
through so well in his voice, and you know his face shows it too! Even
Sean’s deep and serious voice hides playfulness and wit. (You should
watch his Hulk impression… It’s hilarious!) Even though they have
problems like everyone else, their upbeat personalities make the tough
times easier to weather.

I don’t know if Baryon’s like that, and I somewhat remember that he
laughs and joke about some things. Although it would be nice to pick
his brains about stuff I need to know as an international student in
Toronto, I think it would be a fair bit of work to get to the point
where conversation’s comfortable. I’ll probably focus on developing
new contacts instead, at least for now.

もうすぐみんなが自分のコンピュータを持つだろう。 Everyone will have his own computer before long.

On Technorati: ,

Silk-screening workshop

Peach Berserk‘s
silk-screening workshop looks amazing. I love their dresses, but not
their prices! <laugh>

Let’s start out by silkscreening something small, and see
how much I can figure out by myself…