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For the purposes of asking questions on Computer Science Educators, what is basic knowledge that would be taught to beginning programmers, and why for each part. (This is not a list question because I expect that there would be one short answer that is generally agreed.)

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I'm not sure I understand the question.

Questions about how or what to teach in a computer science classroom are site-topical, questions about site governance are meta-topical. To the extent that your question is about what should be taught, it is for the site. To the extent that it's about "asking questions on Computer Science Educators", it would be meta. There is not a huge amount of overlap between the topicality of the two sites.

Whether questions are about beginners or not is immaterial to topicality.

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  • $\begingroup$ I'm asking about what is on topic for asking questions. If I know what people consider on topic for questions about beginning teaching, then I can stay on topic. $\endgroup$
    – Scott Rowe
    Jan 22, 2022 at 3:49
  • $\begingroup$ [Im doing now what I find annoying when others do... complain about English...Hopefully its a venial sin!] You are using "extend" where (I would use) "extent". Given that @ScottRowe was protesting your moving aka extending -- his other question from here to main there is some actual ambiguity here $\endgroup$
    – Rushi
    Jan 24, 2022 at 6:50
  • $\begingroup$ @Rusi Ugh. I'm using Swype on my mobile keyboard, so I have to proofread carefully. What an embarrassing typo. Thanks for the catch! $\endgroup$
    – Ben I. Mod
    Jan 24, 2022 at 11:52
  • $\begingroup$ "Ugh"?? I can see some 5-10 typos/grammo-goofs in my below answer right now. After I correct them, more will magically appear 😇 $\endgroup$
    – Rushi
    Jan 24, 2022 at 14:18
  • $\begingroup$ @Rusi I often wonder why we create software that thinks it is smarter than the person using it. Or perhaps it is the programmer who created the software that either thinks they are smarter, or is not smart enough to anticipate how their software will be used. Which problem is worse? $\endgroup$
    – Scott Rowe
    Jan 24, 2022 at 23:24
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What's the connection between basic knowledge and asking questions? Ask anything about teaching CS, whether basic or not. I thought the recent question about programming assignments in theoretical CS was interesting, but it was surely not basic.

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  • $\begingroup$ Thank you. At the moment I am most concerned about basic introductory lessons. When I "ask anything" it does not tend to go well, because the first thing that happens is people question the basis and reason for the question, then they declare it too broad, unclear what I am asking and then finally, off topic for the site, and it is closed. Asking in meta doesn't always help because my attempt to get clarification is sometimes migrated to the main site or even another site entirely. Where it gets closed as being off topic. (Understandable because I didn't ask it there.) $\endgroup$
    – Scott Rowe
    Jan 22, 2022 at 13:31
  • $\begingroup$ Y'know, the only "anything" I've seen you ask about is your insistence of teaching architecture basics as a prerequisite for programming languages. If that works for you, more power to you, but a lot of people disagree with you on the necessity. Can we move on to a next topic? $\endgroup$ Jan 22, 2022 at 13:39
  • $\begingroup$ I have read that many students have difficulty with the concepts of variables, assignment and indirection. It seems to me that showing how these function in a very direct way would prevent that. If there is any specific knowledge that sets programming apart from other fields, I think these are the starting point, and are crucial. My experience of being a student and an educator over decades leads me to feel strongly about getting these facts clear at the beginning. I have been perplexed, and watched people fail needlessly. Should I stop being concerned, in your view? $\endgroup$
    – Scott Rowe
    Jan 22, 2022 at 16:22
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    $\begingroup$ @ScottRowe I agree with you that indirection is hard. It's the only time that I draw a picture of memory contents and addresses. But I don't see much problems with variables. (Of course I may very well teach at a higher level than you do. I teach undergrad students. You?) But other stuff about machine instructions handling I've never had a need for. $\endgroup$ Jan 22, 2022 at 17:50
  • $\begingroup$ Perhaps there is no need to teach the things I think make it obvious. I am wondering if there is an alternative way of introducing these concepts at the beginning which makes it equally clear, so that no one comes away not understanding. The ideas I have heard so far about labels instead of locations and so on do not seem to be working. A concrete picture, even if it is a "lie to children", might serve better than something more abstract and disconnected from a visual metaphor. $\endgroup$
    – Scott Rowe
    Jan 22, 2022 at 18:30
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My Grandpa-dear could:

  • Could hear a car in the distance and say Valves need adjusting
  • Diagnose the health of the clutch even sitting in the passenger seat
  • And as for carburetors .. Hoo boy! Not only did we ordinary muggles not know how to adjust a carburetor, we dont even know what exactly that is!!! Height of illiteracy (in his view)

Towards the end of his life he reluctantly admitted that though there was a thousand-fold increase in the cars-on-road in his lifetime, there was simultaneously a hundred-fold decrease in the number of people who know what a carb is.

The last time he looked into a bonnet (hood in some parts of the world) -- PCB where he expected a carb etc -- he sadly admitted: I dont know whats going on in these modern cars..."

He would see me hunched -- too hunched for my good! -- over a computer and expostulate: Whats so interesting about a typewriter?

It was sad: A man who was regarded as a genius about X (cars) was hopelessly clueless about Y (computers). Particularly sad because it was his genius itself that became his obstruction to the changing world,

Its not (chronological) age or even health that makes us old Scott! Its the our refusal to recognize changes.

I was seeing a comment on some SE site very kin to my gpa's carb: In earlier time the car instructions said how (and what not) to fill a battery with. Now the instructions say Dont drink the battery water!

Speaking of which:
Note 1: I think this commenter is also a bit past tense. Dunnno what exactly has changed about car-batteries but I dont see ppl worrying about the water at all as we used to.

Note 2: Progress means: Peanut packets contain :

Allergy Warning: Contains peanuts!

I wonder whether the message should be:

WARNING Species heading for IQ-extinction?

Which is to say I am very much in your boat Scott. Which is also to say the saddest thing I find about your going-on is not its wrongness but your inability to hear responses. I know very well how hard it is when 90% of it is <expletive-deleted>. Trouble is the 10% matters. And one loses by not paying attention. Note

I personally find this video soothing when I am in your frame of mind: To our sensibilities the cool Jan air of today and a year ago are about the same. In fact the world has shifted by about 8 billion km (5 billion miles if you prefer) may be worth remembering More precise numbers easy enough to work out from here

Even more mind-boggling is this simulation... Frankly I find it hard to even think that that bounce ... which a ping pong ball takes a millisecond to do takes a billion years for our galaxy.

Perhaps the atoms in the ping pong ball find it as hard to cognize how they are contributing to that bounce as we are to the changes we are witnessing...???

Because we are that bounce???

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  • $\begingroup$ I too can diagnose many car problems, decide how urgent they are and estimate the cost. I've even fixed some in dress clothes, so that I or someone else can get home. A car is an expensive piece of equipment. So, hon, I say that either you use technology or it (and they) use you. No one should be creating things for others to use without understanding. Too many bridges have failed lately killing many for me to be sanguine about vastly larger and more complex systems used by (and attacked by) far more people. Unacceptable, it has nothing to do with time, age or change. It is Professionalism. $\endgroup$
    – Scott Rowe
    Jan 24, 2022 at 23:35

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