This girl and her coworker are pairing together in this class. She said to the instructor pairing is pointless. Her partner in crime said its distracting and silly.
Someone e-mailed me this story suggesting it would make a good blog. I feel for both sides of the story here so I’m going to present an argument for both points of view. I bet the e-mailer didn’t see that coming!
Pair programming on a project
On an actual task, I think pair programming is great. It is faster, higher quality, both people know the code and provides a great way to learn from each other. In a $5,000 training class, I have mixed feelings.
Pros – why two students per computer in class rocks
I’ve never actually done this so it is more hypothetical.
- You get stuck less because there are two minds.
- You go down less dead ends completing the labs faster.
- Your partner can point out when you aren’t getting something or doing it the longer way.
- One person can explain to the other when it takes longer for one person to grasp a concept.
- You can learn tricks from the other person like how to use the IDE better.
- You don’t have to ask the instructor for help as often – which is a big benefit if a lot of people in the class have questions.
Cons – why two students per computer in class is a waste of time
- I want to make as many mistakes as humanly possible while in class so I don’t on the job.
- I want to get hands on experience *doing* each step rather than just watching. I’m a tactile learner and I’m going to retain more by doing.
- I want to gain experience with debugging/troubleshooting in a controlled setting where the instructor can bail me out as needed.
- I think faster than the average person and always finish labs very early. I want to use that time to explore the subject matter rather than have the whole lab take longer.
- Sometimes asking the instructor a question sparks a good discussion.
- Sometimes I want to try something that isn’t strictly covered in class so I can ask the instructor/expert when I get stuck. Can’t do this with a partner.
The ideal in my mind
Having one computer for each student and asking the person next to you when you have a question. Benefits:
- Frees up the instructor for the hard questions
- Lets you see the mistakes of two people rather than just your own
- Gain practice trying to explain things
What do you think? Do you prefer pairing with someone else in class? Ultimately, I think it depends on the learning style of both people. For my style, having my own computer is more conducive to learning a technology.