Dromey, R. Geoff, Before programming - on teaching introductory computing, Department of Computing Science, University of Wollongong, Working Paper 81-6, 1981, 11p.
In comparison with most other human intellectual activities, computing is in Its infancy despite the progress we seem to have made in such a short time. Consequently, there has been insufficient time for the evolution of "best ways" to transmit computing concepts and skills. It is therefore prudent to look to more mature disciplines for some guidelines on effective ways to introduce computing to beginners. In this respect the discipline of teaching people to read and write In a natural language is highly relevant. A fundamental characteristic of this latter discipline is that a substantial amount of time is devoted to teaching people to read long before they are asked to write stories, essays, etc. In teaching computing we seem to have overlooked or neglected what corresponds to the reading stage in the process of learning to read and write. In the discussion which follows we will look at ways of economically giving students the "computer-reading experience" and preparing them for the more difficult tasks of algorithm design and computer problem-solving.