Re: New Computer Merit Badge Requiremebts
Doug Hellmann (hellmann@USCEAST.CS.SCAROLINA.EDU)
Tue, 24 Aug 1993 17:56:28 -0400
>I could not agree more that the requirements and the textual material
>need a substantial re-write to be more up to date. But as a
>Ph. D. in computer science with > 20 years of experience in
>teaching, research and industrial applications, I disagree with
>some of the comments that have been made in this mail list.
I don't disagree with your statements, which basically say we should
not forget from whence we came. However, we should not ignore where
we are. I don't have them handy, but I believe that the requirements
talk about the history of computers? Perhaps this is where these
items (punch cards, etc) fit in?
>Some type of programming diagram (maybe not traditional flowcharts)
>should be included. Understanding the flow of excution through a
>program is frequently difficult for novice programmers. A graphical
>representation of the program structure can often help. This is especially
>true for students who are learning to program in languages like BASIC
>that are not naturaly structured.
I can agree with this. I suppose that the nature of the badge is not
to get the scout to write a major, object oriented, event driven
program. Just to do a little simple program in a simple language,
so they can see what it is like. Given that, flowcharting, or some
other method, is a good way to explain control flow.
I would defie you, however, to draw ONE flowchart which can explain
any one of the Motif programs I've written lately. I think flowcharting
is great, where it works. The point is, it doesn't always work,
and that is what the Scouts need to learn. There will always be
different tools for different jobs.
>> > 5. Do TWO of the following:
>> > b. Use a computer attached to a local area network or equipped with a
>> > modem to connect to a computer network or bulletin-board service
>> > such as Prodigy, CompuServe, or America Online. Send a message to
>> > someone on the network or download a program or file from the network
>> Too bad they don't mention the Internet and Usenet here. It seems that
>> it would be a good idea to talk about the new "information infrastructure"
>> and "data super-highway". :-)
>I agree in principle, but the term "data super-highway" is
>more of a political buzzword and will be dated very rapidly.
>This discussion suggests to me that the M.B. book is focused
>on the personal computer at home rather than in a professional
>setting. I can understand that this is most likely contact that
>scouts will have, but it does present a limited view of computing.
I'm sorry, I guess I should have used a more sarcastic smiley on that
last note: ;-) I don't know if the actual term will be dated or
not, but I'm sure the concept won't be for some time. And if it is
a current political buzzword, so what? Discuss current events at
the same time!
> Chartered Organization Representative, Troop and Pack 188
> BSA, Clinton Valley Council, Pontiac, Michigan, USA.
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