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Education Programming

Programming Education Making A Comeback In Primary Schools 138

New submitter kyrsjo (2420192) writes "The Economist has an article on how information technology — the real stuff, not just button-pushing — is making its way back to schools across the world. As the article argues: 'Digital technology is now so ubiquitous that many think a rounded education requires a grounding in this subject just as much as in biology, chemistry or physics.' In today's society, teaching computer science in schools is absolutely necessary, and that means getting a real understanding of computers and how they work. That requires working with algorithms and programming, not just learning which buttons to push in the program that the school happened to use."
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Programming Education Making A Comeback In Primary Schools

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  • by CRCulver ( 715279 ) <> on Monday April 28, 2014 @10:09PM (#46864931) Homepage

    Children are growing up with tablets now. By the time they get to school they will have become so used to simplistic touchscreen interfaces that teachers might find it challenging to turn their minds to the internals of the computers they use. Philip J. Guo's The Two Cultures of Computing [] essay (posted to Reddit under the amusing title "How Ya Gonna Get 'Em Down on UNIX After They've Seen Spotify?") is obviously the result of clumsy and unprepared teachers, but even better-trained educators might face the same challenge.

    I wonder if teaching CS basics might not be better with pen-and-paper exercises in the beginning, where students are less likely to compare what they are doing to the interfaces they are used to. I loved working with Friedman's The Little Schemer [] , which I discovered well into adulthood, that teaches one the Lisp philosophy of recursion without every needing to sit in front of a computer. Perhaps children would like such an approach as well, and then by the time you present them with e.g. an actual command line they've already internalized that kind of thinking.

  • by ArcadeMan ( 2766669 ) on Monday April 28, 2014 @11:16PM (#46865137)

    My point is that those subjects, which 99% of people never use again in their adult life, are mandatory. And yet computers, which most of us use daily since there's now microcontrollers everywhere, are still magical boxes for most people.

    If more people understood basic things like binary, base 2 vs base 10, basic CPU processing, memory, bandwidth, trojans vs viruses, we would have a lot less problems with stupid things like "Western Digital sold me a smaller hard drive than advertised" or "I'm going to upload this 30 megabytes, 12 megapixel photo to use as my avatar picture for that forum" or the ever-popular "I entered my account password so I could watch porn".

    Teaching real-world examples would be good, such as "Netflix stopped working, where is the problem coming from? My playback device? My wi-fi router? My ISP modem? My ISP? Netflix?"

    The answer to the last problem is, of course, "your iTunes account didn't have enough funds to renew your Netflix subscription".

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 28, 2014 @11:17PM (#46865139)

    They have tablets.

    Being able to write and run your code makes it fun.

    Forget tablets... give them LEGO Mindstorms and Raspberry Pis!

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