Re: BlindConfidential: Learning to Program for the Blind

  • From: "Jackie McBride" <abletec@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: programmingblind@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Wed, 14 Nov 2007 07:31:22 -0700

I resemble that remark, Chris.  Suck at math, fair musician, decent
programmer.  I've gotta say though that I've found my lack of
mathematical aptitude to be a handicap in certain aspects of
programming such as bitwise operators, conversion from binary to hex
to decimal, etc.

I think tests for blind people are often problematic because many
contain diagrams or other spatial stuff that cannot be adequately
translated in2 something tactile.  Most if not all have been designed
for sighted users &, since their validity on the blind population has
not generally been studied, tests need to be viewed w/a heaping
shakerful of salt.  Even such things as logic puzzles, which can be
done by blind people (I do them all the time & love them) are
generally going to take longer because we don't have those nice little
charts in which to be able to fill in our conclusions.  This was
brought home to me recently while playing a game of Sudoko.  I was
looking around the board for a single, e.g., a number that could have
no other value, when my sighted husband came up, looked at what I was
doing for a few seconds, then said, "a 9 goes in the 3rd box on the
7th row."  I asked him how he knew that & he said he could just see
it.  Having eyesight just allows one sometimes to get the bigger
picture quicker.  The longer you've been blind, the more it seems u
forget, until something like that hits u square in the face w/the
reality of it once again.  So I think that tests which are proven both
reliable & valid for sighted test-takers need to be studied on blind
populations to determine their reliability & validity or viewed
w/considerable skepticism if they have not.  Such, at least, is the
guidance I learned many years back in lord-knows-how-many courses in
psych testing & measurement.

On 11/14/07, Chris Hofstader <chris.hofstader@xxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
> I have also found that students who test poorly for an aptitude in
> mathematics often get directed away from programming but, at the same time,
> I know a lot of former musicians who program but never did well in math
> class.
> -----Original Message-----
> From: programmingblind-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
> [mailto:programmingblind-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of Bob J.
> Sent: Monday, November 12, 2007 5:31 PM
> To: programmingblind@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
> Subject: Re: BlindConfidential: Learning to Program for the Blind
> I agree with Jim that OO is far too demanding for simple programming
> projects.  I also believe that many people who could have become good
> programmers were disuaded from programming because they attempted to enter
> into it at too high a level.  Simple, procedural languages such as BASIC
> allow the novice to get exposure to the fundamental mechanics of programming
> and then, if they enjoy that, they can move on to more sophisticated
> languages and projects.  In short, jumping in at too high a level is a
> mistake!
> Bob
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: <james.homme@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
> To: <programmingblind@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
> Sent: Monday, November 12, 2007 10:28 AM
> Subject: Re: BlindConfidential: Learning to Program for the Blind
> Hi Vili,
> I come from a procedural background. I started with COBOL. I have made
> several fits and starts at other languages. I have not yet found a way to
> get over the OO learning curve. One reason is that I have not found a
> project that really interests me. The other is that the books I am reading
> teach the procedural side of languages like Python and then move into OO.
> It seems like I would need to come up with a relatively big project to make
> it worth doing in OO. I keep saying to myself that whatever I am thinking
> of doing at the time is easier to do procedurally. I never find a
> compelling enough reason to do OO. I read about how great it is in the
> programming material I look at, but some how, that never translates into my
> learning because I get intimidated by all the setting up of all the objects
> just to get something simple done. There has to be some middle ground in
> all of this somewhere.
> Finally, I don't know enough to be able to tell if whatever project I am
> thinking of doing is best to do in procedural or OO.
> And one more thing while I'm rambling. It seems like OO really doesn't
> model  the real world even though the OO material I have read to this point
> says it does. I should probably save that for another email though.
> Thanks.
> Jim
> James D Homme, , Usability Engineering, Highmark Inc.,
> james.homme@xxxxxxxxxxxx, 412-544-1810
> "Never doubt that a thoughtful group of committed citizens can change the
> world.  Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." -- Margaret Mead
>              "Veli-Pekka
>              Tätilä"
>              <vtatila@xxxxxxxx                                          To
>    >             programmingblind@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
>              Sent by:                                                   cc
>              programmingblind-
>              bounce@freelists.                                     Subject
>              org                       Re: BlindConfidential: Learning to
>                                        Program for the Blind
>              11/12/2007 09:14
>              AM
>              Please respond to
>              programmingblind@
> Hi Arnold,
> I'm not sure Java might be the best start, either, although it is widely
> popular. In our Uni in Finland Java is used mostly procedurally and
> there's a separate course on object oriented programming, also in Java.
> The authors of how to Think like a Computer Scientist, the PYthon
> edition. argue that one of the strong points of multi-paradigm langs is
> that you don't have to cover objects first. They clame it is hard to
> teach object first, since to really understand them one needs knowledge
> of variables and scope, functions, operators, parameters and all the OO
> jargon for relatively non-magical things. WIth a multi paradigm language
> hello world is just like:
> puts "hello world"
> Or something like that, and you can start with very simple procedural
> concepts, and cover functions, objects etc... when people are ready to
> tacle them. I still recall trying to understand OOp from a procedural
> background and all this talk of objects sending messages to each other
> and having contracts just threw me off. But statements like basic
> objects are just like structs with syntactic sugar for calling functions
> taking structs, and no direct access to struct members allowed, are
> closer to a procedural programmer mind set, and are more descriptive,
> too. There's even a book about object oriented programming in c, though
> I wouldn't start with C. Perl's object orientation heavily relies on
> procedural concepts and references, too, but Perl is a bit too
> specialized to start with I'd say e.g. no separate float, string and int
> handling, plus abnormally strong string processing in the core. I'd
> start out with a conventional, statically and strongly typed language at
> any case, since it is, in my view, easier to see some advantages of both
> static and dynamic typing, if you have learned static typing first. but
> that's just my experience, I'm just a student.
> --
> With kind regards Veli-Pekka Tätilä (vtatila@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx)
> Accessibility, game music, synthesizers and programming:
> Arnold Bailey wrote:
> >Hi all,
> >
> >Jared had my intentions right. I only meant to use it as a very basic tool
> >for interactive use to show a first time middle schooler what a program
> is.
> >It is the interactive use that is a plus. My scenario doesn't require
> >indentation, etc. After that first session I am using Java.
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Jackie McBride
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