Thursday 2016-10-06

Secret Coders by Gene Luen Yang, Mike Holmes

As a manga-style introduction to computational thinking (CT), this book needs much help. The book covers two topics: binary representation, and Logo.

Granted, every teacher can organize their material as they see fit. However, binary is a representation given constraints, and as such is an intermediate level topic along with a discussion about the power of choosing the apt representation.

An introduction to CT should cover simple representations (data structures) and their enumeration -- many quotidian computer tasks boil down to just this. Given a firm grasp of this, it's then possible to talk about different representations and why some are apt and some are forced.

Logo is a more defensible approach, the only problem is that it's a very narrow domain, so it's better used as an example. I.e. first we talk about breaking all kinds of everyday processes down into data structures and enumerations, and once we have a handle on that, then we look at the world of Logo, and work through increasing complex 2D plots.

Ultimately, this book comes across as more Totemic CT than anything else. It's like the target market is parents, who need to see "binary" in order to classify something as "Computer Science!".

#computationalthinking #firstpost