Blog Post

"Hello world" and procedural literacy

On the topic of introductions, Matthew Kirschenbaum, director of MITH at the University of Maryland, wrote a facsinating article titled "Hello Worlds" reflecting on the simple introductory scripts of beginning programmers:

The first program most people learn to write in any computer language is called Hello World. Its sole function is to display those two words on the screen. But the act of writing and then running Hello World can raise some intriguing questions: Who, or what, exactly, is saying hello to the world?
http://chronicle.com/article/Hello-Worlds/5476

He argues for procedural literacy, and why humanities students should learn to program. Interestingly, he ended up using Perl for one of his PhD language requirements!

Personally, I find programming extremely difficult and frustrating. I doubt it will ever look beautiful to me. But at least I can look at code and have a basic sense of what it does, which may be as far as my own procedural literacy ever gets.

 

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2 comments

What a cool article, and what fun questions!

When I teach composition, I often find myself focusing on the students' thought processes as much as their products. I particularly like MK's observation that "[t]

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What a cool article, and what fun questions!

When I teach composition, I often find myself focusing on the students' thought processes as much as their products. I particularly like MK's observation that "[t]

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