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Re: teaching Perl

by Falkkin (Chaplain)
on Jan 31, 2004 at 15:07 UTC ( #325551=note: print w/ replies, xml ) Need Help??


in reply to teaching Perl
in thread Cases for teaching Perl

Of course, after that I have to ask if you've read "Diamond Age" by Neal Stephensen, both because it is one of my favorite books -- and because it does deal with the idea of a game/interactive book that teaches the reader (also a young girl) how to code (among other things.)

Yes, I have read it, though I wasn't thinking of it at all when I posted this. (Incidentally, I liked Cryptonomicon better.)

I think that a game would be fantastic -- except that it could be so much work, I wonder if I'd ever get around to building one.

Well, if it were organized into small, separate "challenges", you could learn the basics while, in the process, making some simple game. Wouldn't have to be an RPG, of course - I just think that it's fairly easy to develop something like an RPG or interactive storytelling without the use of flashy graphics.

I do think the spirit should be preserved though -- something interactive, something fun. I would like to point out that a girl -- as Falkkin and I are both -- is probably not that likely to be incentivized by "good combat mechanics and plotline."

Woah there -- I'm afraid I'm a male of our species :) That aside, I think that the importance of plotline in a game depends on how much of a reader/author the designer is.

By the way, are you aware of Alice or MooseCrossing? Both of these are programming languages designed to teach programming in a fun sort of way. Admittedly, they're fairly special-purpose languages, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. They're also designed by people who actually do research in teaching kids to program, who probably know more about the subject than I do. :)


Comment on Re: teaching Perl
Re: Re: teaching Perl
by techgirl (Beadle) on Jan 31, 2004 at 19:52 UTC
    (Incidentally, I liked Cryptonomicon better.)

    I liked Cryptonomicon, but I think I liked Diamond Age more, and Snow Crash the most.

    Well, if it were organized into small, separate "challenges", you could learn the basics while, in the process, making some simple game. Wouldn't have to be an RPG, of course - I just think that it's fairly easy to develop something like an RPG or interactive storytelling without the use of flashy graphics.

    Just to clarify, did you mean that a game would be created through the lessons or challenges, or that the game would be made up of them?

    Otherwise, I think this is the same idea that I had. The degree of interactivity or storytelling could vary... I created an interactive game to teach about internet security for a (policy-related) class I took ages ago.... it's a LOT of work :)

    I actually am a writer/designer, so those things aren't as difficult... for me the difficult part would be organizing the material and making sure it was interesting. That said, maybe with collaborators, it could be easier. Who knows!

    Given that, I think the first step would be identifying the puzzles/lessons, and perhaps an overall theme. It would be fairly easy to build a game around that.

    I was looking at the Quests section of this site, and wondering if asking people to suggest easy programming puzzles would be appropriate there. Since there are so many types of Perl programmers, possibly limiting it to say, web development or easy command line tools, might be valuable. Has no one ever done this before? I'm surprised. (Maybe because it is a lot of work, and the people who are willing to do that are mostly educators, not mortal Perl programmers like us.)

    By the way, are you aware of Alice or MooseCrossing?

    No, thanks. I will look into them...

      An idea has occurred to me: What about something like a scavenger hunt? It would involve downloading a set of files to the hard drive, to include a readme to get you started. The first thing you'd do is write a script according to the beginning set of instructions. Those instructions might direct you to, for instance, grab text from a set of text files and assemble them into your next set of instructions. That, in turn, might direct you to write an FTP program designed to get data from a specific directory on a given server, which would be the next set of instructions. That, then, might direct you to write a script that puts together an HTML file that draws data from a database accessible on the Web. Et cetera. It has the benefits of A) not requiring one to be particularly interested in hack-n-slash adventure games, B) providing quick, positive feedback, and C) providing tasks of increasing difficulty as one progresses, to match the learning curve. There are probably other benefits as well, such as the fact that there aren't any "right" and "wrong" answers to the exercises, per se — only "effective" and "ineffective", which allows for a great deal of flexibility and ingenuity on the part of the student of Perl.

      By the way, Snow Crash was an incredible read. It's all the Stephenson I've read so far, aside from a very long essay (more than 30k words, I think). I intend to read more of it in the future, thought.

      - apotheon
      CopyWrite Chad Perrin

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