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The set of programmers: How math restricts us

Carol Smith

This presentation will open a discussion about how we are introducing new developers to programming. Most textbooks, tutorials, and trainings begin by introducing new developers to mathematics lessons within the language. Many courses on programming require math skills as prerequisites. However, math prowess is not usually an indicator of one's potential programming abilities. Those people who have been told from a young age that they aren't good at math or generally doubt their math skills often feel excluded from the world of programming unnecessarily.

I will pose questions about whether we can be using methods other than math skills to teach programming languages to adult beginners. I propose logic and reasoning skills are more important programming concepts to master to help new developers succeed. Let's change the way we're teaching programming and break down more artificial barriers to entry for becoming a developer.

Slides: https://media.libreplanet.org/u/libreplanet/m/the-set-of-programmers-how-math-restricts-us-slides-c5e1/

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2 years, 7 months ago

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video · lp2017 · LibrePlanet · LibrePlanet 2017 · LibrePlanet 2017 video

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LibrePlanet 2017 Videos (libreplanet)

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CC BY-SA 4.0

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This talk was presented at LibrePlanet.

libreplanet.org


LibrePlanet is the Free Software Foundation's annual conference. The FSF campaigns for free/libre software, meaning it respects users' freedom and community. We believe that users are entitled to this; all software should be free.

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We do not advocate "open source".

That term was coined to reject our views. It refers to similar practices, but usually presented solely as advantageous, without talking of right and wrong.

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Richard Stallman launched the free software movement in 1983 by announcing development of the free operating system, GNU. By 1992, GNU was nearly operational; one major essential component was lacking, the kernel.

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In 1992, Torvalds freed the kernel Linux, which filled the last gap in GNU. Since then, the combined GNU/Linux system has run in millions of computers. Nowadays you can buy a new computer with a totally free GNU/Linux system preinstalled.

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The views of the speaker may not represent the Free Software Foundation. The Foundation supports the free software cause and freedom to share, and basic freedoms in the digital domain, but has no position on other political issues.