[erlang-questions] Erlang for youngsters

Peer Stritzinger peerst@REDACTED
Fri Jun 20 09:22:10 CEST 2014

This thread would be much more interesting without all the unproven 
conjectures that Elixir is obviously the better choice to teach to 

I disagree.  Elixir is a much worse choice to teach to children, 
because its not a simple language anmore.  There have been several 
people teaching Prolog and also Erlang to children.  So far there is no 
experience teaching Elixir to the same group.

Elixir is mainly appealing to either people comming from Ruby or just 
for pop culture value (as is Ruby itself).

Why does anybody think this makes it mor suitable to teach to kids?  
Why talk about not corrupting them with OOP ideas when teaching them 
programming and at the same time corruping them with crufty Ruby like 
syntax i.e. the syntax of a OOP language?  

What advantage does metaprogramming have for teaching kids?

Having syntax for rebinding variables?

This is all cruft for teaching the actual things.

Just picked this one mention to Elixir as an example:

On 2014-06-16 12:29:32 +0000, Darach Ennis said:

> A good introductory language is scratch (http://scratch.mit.edu/)

I agree, so why not build something Scratch like on top of Erlang?

> followed by Python (from about 7 years of age depending on the child, 
> python works very well, the strict syntax is a benefit too).

Erlang has a strict syntax too so it would have the same advantage.

[... more stuff I agree with detelted]

> With a basic feel for logic, structure and feedback from programming 
> tools (with assistance) then Erlang would be a good next step. 

Still agree.

> Torben is probably right with respect to age group by setting it
> to mid high school level.

I think much too old but maybe its right

>  Elixir, also, would probably be an easier language to teach and to learn
> with fringe benefits (namely learning Elixir) for some of us...

And the argument goes off the rails completely for me:


This is contradictory to what you said before about Python.  Elixirs 
syntax is more barroque and why in the world is it easier to learn than 
Erlang syntax (except for Ruby programmers)??

Where is the proof?

Proofs by pop culture not accepted.

BTW what languages are *in* today won't matter for these kids because 
all pop culture languages will be *out* when those kids you teach them 
will be in their twenties.

> On Mon, Jun 16, 2014 at 1:36 PM, Mahesh Paolini-Subramanya 
> <mahesh@REDACTED> wrote:
> The most important thing here I believe is to have a nice collection of 
> simple tasks/problems that are appealing to the target audience and 
> best (easiest/nicest) solved in Erlang. 
> Amen!
> The least relevant part of teaching kids programming is the syntax, or 
> the choice of language - they don't, and won't, give a s**t about it.  
> As a simple thought experiment, just look at how you raised your kids 
> in a multi-lingual environment (yes my American brethren, this is hard. 
> Pretend :-)  )  Notice how they - fluidly - bounce across languages, 
> massacring every grammar rule ever, but quite happily making sure that 
> you understand that "I amn't going to eat pea, ನಾನು ತಿನ್ನಲ್ಲ, ನಾನು 
> ತಿನ್ನಲ್ಲ, odio odio odio la piselli, i don't wanna, where is my red 
> truck?"
> Mind you, they will pick up the rules over time, but the key here is 
> the importance of the problem at hand ("How To Avoid Eating Peas") - 
> the more immediately relevant it is to the young 'uns, the more rapidly 
> they will pick up the tools, the specifics of the language be damned.

100% agree!

And BTW this is the Erlang channel, why would we work on our own demise 
by teaching all these kids Elixir??  How would this help the problems 
Garett was mentioning?

-- Peer
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