Recently someone I really respect posted a recommendation against using Visual Basic saying “ I find most textbooks for Visual Basic to have boring assignments like temperature conversion. I also find little open-ended problem solving.” Ouch! As someone who has written a couple of Visual Basic textbooks and who liked the temperature conversion assignment I was crushed. Ok maybe not crushed but pushed out of my comfort zone at least.
I was feeling pretty good about my latest project – an application to keep score at golf and running track of who owes what to who in the Skins Game.
Now I am not so sure. What I liked about this project was that it was a step more beyond just adding a bunch of numbers. One has to keep track of ties and so the scoring is a little more complicated. But perhaps it’s not open-ended problem solving enough. Sure there are any number of ways this could be solved and there is room for creativity. But is that enough? And is Golf too “old people” a game for high school students?
So I am reevaluating how I look at projects. I also ordered a textbook by someone I am reasonably sure has projects that fit the less boring and more open ended problem solving nature. No names or review until I’ve read it.
Ultimately I am optimistic about the thinking I’m doing. I think we all tend to be challenged in our thinking from time to time. We need to stretch beyond the same sorts of projects we’ve been doing for years. Reading things from people who have different ideas, use different tools, and look at things from different directions is how we grow. It’s something I try hard to do. It’s why I read as many blogs as I can, I follow the discussions on the APCS forum and constantly look for new things on Twitter. Social media really helps me expand my horizons.
What do you or where do you go for new ideas?