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 What do you think the future of Turing will be?
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 06, 2020 9:09 pm   Post subject: What do you think the future of Turing will be?

I really enjoyed learning how to program with Turing back in high school (and even as a kid in my case), and I still enjoy using it. I feel that if I had learned a language like Python instead, it would have been a rather different experience. Also, while Python is easy to learn, I don't believe it prepares programmers as well for languages like C and Java.

What do you think the future of Turing is? It seems like there are still schools that use it, but for how long? OpenTuring was a great development, but that does not seem to be going anywhere. There is also Turing+ for Mac and Unix, which is available to download from the Queens University website ( ), but there seem to be almost no resources for that. I wouldn't mind putting some time and effort into supporting the language, but as I did not end up completing my degree in computer science, I feel that anything I could do would be limited.

But enough of my opinions... what are your thoughts?

PostPosted: Wed Jan 29, 2020 7:22 pm   Post subject: Re: What do you think the future of Turing will be?

Turing+ that you link to is an interesting development. I was not aware it was still being updated (at least as of 2018).

If Queens is still updating it and using it, it might have some future. However, I think educational programming tools and languages and largely moved on from Turing.

It would be interesting if there were any studies in the effectiveness of using Turing v.s. modern approaches (e.g. Scratch or diving right into Python) to introduce programming concepts but all I can find form a quick search is one form 1996 on Turing v.s. Pascal [1] and a 1994 work by Holt on using it to teach OOP [2].

[1] Martin, Jacqueline L. "Is Turing a better language for teaching programming than Pascal." Honours Dissertation, University of Stirling, Department of Computer Science (1996).

[2] Holt, Richard C. "Introducing undergraduates to object orientation using the Turing language." Proceedings of the twenty-fifth SIGCSE symposium on Computer science education. 1994.
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 07, 2020 12:11 am   Post subject: RE:What do you think the future of Turing will be?

Yes, James Cordy (the one who made Turing with Ric Holt) works at Queen's university, and I think he's the one that has maintained Turing+ over these years.

There are certainly some high school teachers still using Turing, but it is impossible to know how many. Every time I meet someone in Ontario who studied programming in high school, all of them seem to have used Turing in one way or another.

I agree: It would be interesting to see studies which compare Turing with languages like Python. Personally, I think Turing would better prepare someone for languages like C and other languages influenced by C. Python is easier to learn, but it is also rather unique in its syntax and use of whitespace.

PostPosted: Mon Feb 10, 2020 2:30 am   Post subject: RE:What do you think the future of Turing will be?

i think the future of "learning" programming languages is going to be starter java using things like "BlueJay" and with the rapid development of everything going on in the world, for example the web languages, html5 and rails will probly hit big,

but i think the huge push on on learning wont be so language based more like a mash of using pre-existing engines such as unity or unreal4 engines.

thats my opinion tho. which is a shame, because understanding how to even get to that engine, is very important. but i dont think they'll be covering the roots to much in the future.

PostPosted: Tue Mar 03, 2020 4:12 pm   Post subject: RE:What do you think the future of Turing will be?

Everything I've seen around introductory programming lately focuses on Python or JavaScript. Given the vastly larger communities and plethora of learning resources available for both, it's debatable whether there's a need for niche "learning" languages. Keep in mind Turing was adopted by schools before the Internet had taken off, and good learning tools were not as widely available. A lot has changed.

I see more of a future in learning-oriented tools and IDEs built around languages like Python. There was some research around this at UofT when I studied there. Something in the vein of Ready to Program or DrScheme / DrRacket, better debugging tools, tailored libraries, etc.

PostPosted: Wed Mar 04, 2020 12:05 pm   Post subject: RE:What do you think the future of Turing will be?

The trend definitely is JavaScript and Python. Though this is more of a practical/industrial reason rather than teaching reasons.

Javascript blew up in the past decade with because of front end.

Python blew up because of data science and ML.

Plenty of bootcamps have popped up around these things. I think this is very short sighted, we can easily abandon JS and Python in any moment, these are temporary trends. It's more important to understand, so that you can adapt. Gotta stay trendy.

Overall, I don't think there is a future for Turing. It's not practical enough where there is a pay off in learning it (like js and python), and it doesn't introduce enough important concepts for teaching use.

I had Rick Holt as a prof back in the day, promoted concepts from Turing time to time.
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