Viral Education

A new goal for my educational efforts coalesced today: fostering viral education.

I've known for awhile that I could sometimes infect a student; get them working on a problem/project/idea, where they spend lots of time outside of class on this effort. It hadn't occurred to me till today that this notion could be generalized to one student infecting another student.

The culprit catalyst has a two word title: Project Euler.

My beginning C++ students wanted a group project as an end of the year effort. I helped the class self-select into groups of 2-4 students, who collectively would groupwise work through the first 10 project Euler problems, with each student taking the lead on a different problem. Project Euler has 266 simply stated word problems, insidiously requiring a growing mathematical and computer science knowledge and sophistication as the problem numbers increase. I too have ended up infecting myself, setting myself the goal of completing all the problems. I've realized that for the first time in a whole buncha years, I again am working on word problems that are pushing my limits. I love/hate it.

Viral Education is dangerous. Tomorrow, I am turning off all class computers so we can complete our discussion of inheritance, polymorphism, and virtual functions. I was not able to capture focus with any of my standard teaching/theatrical tricks. They know if we can get back on track, I will reward them with Tom Sawyerian delights. What a way to mend and paint educational fences and barriers.

Project Euler is my current best and only recommendation for new and experienced programmers to hone their skills. I have students navigating among C++, Scheme, and pencil/paper to wrest success from the chaos of imprecise reasoning. I am curious what you as a reader think of these problems. As Jimi pondered, "Are you experienced?"

Pour de plus amples informations sur les optimisations de compilation, consultez notre Avertissement concernant les optimisations.