Simon Willison’s Weblog

10 items tagged “teaching”

2021

File not found: A generation that grew up with Google is forcing professors to rethink their lesson plans (via) This is fascinating: as-of 2017 university instructors have been increasingly encountering students who have absolutely no idea how files and folders on a computer work. The new generation has a completely different mental model of how applications work, where everything is found using search and data mostly lives inside the application that you use to manipulate it. # 23rd September 2021, 10:49 pm

No feigning surprise (via) Don’t feign surprise if someone doesn’t know something that you think they should know. Even better: even if you are surprised, don’t let them know! “When people feign surprise, it’s usually to make them feel better about themselves and others feel worse.” # 17th May 2021, 4:30 pm

When you know something it is almost impossible to imagine what it is like not to know that thing. This is the curse of knowledge, and it is the root of countless misunderstandings and inefficiencies. Smart people who are comfortable with complexity can be especially prone to it! If you don’t guard against the curse of knowledge it has the potential to obfuscate all forms of communication, including code. The more specialized your work, the greater the risk that you will communicate in ways that are incomprehensible to the uninitiated.

Joel Goldberg # 6th January 2021, 7:43 pm

2020

Weeknotes: software carpentry, compiling modules for SQLite

This week I completed the Software Carpentry instructor training course, added two foundational features to sqlite-utils and learned how to compile modules for SQLite.

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Weeknotes: Covid-19, First Python Notebook, more Dogsheep, Tailscale

My covid-19.datasettes.com project publishes information on COVID-19 cases around the world. The project started out using data from Johns Hopkins CSSE, but last week the New York Times started publishing high quality USA county- and state-level daily numbers to their own repository. Here’s the change that added the NY Times data.

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2018

Teaching Tech Together (via) A new free book compiled by Greg Wilson about teaching programming, based on the instructor training program developed for the Software Carpentry course over the past six years. This is fantastic—it’s filling in a whole load of holes in my understanding of effective teaching theory. # 17th July 2018, 6:18 pm

Imagine a Simon Says style game where I present an article found on the web on a projector. Students research for two to three minutes, then respond by standing or staying seated to signal if they believe the article is true or fake. My students absolutely loved the game. Some refused to go to recess until I gave them another chance to figure out the next article I had queued.

Scott Bedley # 3rd February 2018, 1:29 pm

2017

How to teach technical concepts with cartoons. Julia Evans: “This post is about a few patterns I use when illustrating ideas about computers. If you are interested in using drawings to teach people about your very favorite computer topics, hopefully this will help you!” # 28th October 2017, 2:55 pm

2008

Opera Web Standards Curriculum. Opera commissioned an impressive sequence of articles from a bunch of very talented people to help address the monstrous learning curve for modern client-side development. # 8th July 2008, 2:22 pm

2002

Girlfriend as a case study

I’ve been helping my girlfriend recreate her site using CSS and structural markup. She’s new to web design and has been taking to CSS like a duck to water—as a veteran of Microsoft Word globally defined styles come to her naturally and she took very little time to cotton on to the importance of seperating presentation from content. I’ve shown her tables as well but she isn’t really interested as she sees CSS as a much better solution for general presentation. I’m hoping to help run an HTML/XHTML/CSS training course at the University early next year with a heavy emphasis on structural markup, standards compliance and accessibility so it’s great to have a guinea pig to play with :)

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