The value of typing code by John D. Cook.
John points to a blog post by Tommy Nicholas that reads in part:
When Hunter S. Thompson was working as a copy boy at Time Magazine in 1959, he spent his spare time typing out the entire Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald and A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway in order to better understand what it feels like to write a great book. To be able to feel the author’s turns in logic and storytelling weren’t possible from reading the books alone, you had to feel what it feels like to actually create the thing. And so I have found it to be with coding.
Thompson’s first book, Hell’s Angels: a strange and terrible saga was almost a bible to me in middle school, but I don’t know that he ever captured writing “a great book.” There or in subsequent books. Including the scene where he describes himself as clawing at the legs of Edmund Muskie before Muskie breaks down in tears. Funny, amusing, etc. but too period bound to be “great.”
On the other hand, as an instructional technique, what do you think about disabling cut-n-paste in a window so students have to re-type a topic map and perhaps add material to it at the same time?
Something beyond toy examples although with choices so students could pick one with enough interest for them to do the work.