Teaching kids about computers...
ard at p850ug1.demon.co.uk
Thu Nov 22 17:09:27 CST 2007
> > That's why you should start at a suitable level of
> > *abstraction* if you will. Learn about the innards
> > from *a distance*.
> Learn about them *when you need to* and not before.
This depends _a lot_ on the person learning the stuff.
I find such abstractions to be a major hinderance to learning, it comes
under the 'oversimiplifcaiton' I mentioned last night. There are too many
books at the 'this processr, this memory, this smack on head' level, and
I have never been able to learn anything useful from a book that seems to
suggest these various units operate on some kind of deep magic that I'll
Worse still, IMHO, are those books that explain the basic logic gates and
the Eccles-Jordan circuit (SR flip-flop) and then jump to the 'processor
+ memory + I/O' level with no explanation of how you might wire up gates
to make a processor. ARCH!
There was one reasonable book put out by Radio Shack many years ago. I
forget the title, but IIRC it had a geeen cover and sprial binding along
the top edge. What made it intereting was that it contained a scehanmtic
for a very simple processor (I think it could address 16 4-bit memory
locations, nothing more), and gave simple programs to run on it. Totally
useless for any real work, it was certainly simple enough that you could
analyse the operation of said programs by hand.
Of course the fact that I grew up fiddling with transistors (and vlaves
for that matter) probably has something to do with the way I regard
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