with Leigh Ann Yoder
Follow the Instructions
Welcome back to CSU! After reviewing homework, we continued learning how to tell computers what to do. We briefly talked about what a programming language is and how it is interpreted by a compiler. An emphasis was placed on both the limited number of instructions available to the programmer and the fact that computers always obey instructions to the letter, even if they produce a crazy result.
This concept can be difficult for humans to grasp since our brains operate much differently from computers, and we interpret instructions both from verbal and visual clues. Our ability to ‘process’ our language goes way beyond the capabilities of any modern day computer.
As a programmer, one needs to learn to be very specific and clear when giving directions. The students acted both as programmers and computers today. First, they followed oral directions to create a simple drawing. We experimented with this concept in several ways. Sometimes they were allowed to ask questions, and sometimes they were not. We even tried verbal instructions without being able to see the instructor.
Next, we followed written instructions. All of the students quickly realized the importance of well-written, detailed instructions. They are now in the middle of developing their own instructions (programs) to be carried out by another student (computer). They had one trial round and then their programs went to another developer for code review and debugging.
They will continue working on their instructions for homework this week.