Linked by David Adams on Sun 8th May 2011 04:15 UTC
Hardware, Embedded Systems Well-known game developer David Braben is a little bit fed up with the state of computer science education these days, which seems to have shifted away from learning programming to some sort of computer-oriented "life skills" class. As the father of eleven and nine year-old boys, I can attest that so far, despite a massive investment on the part of their school in computer equipment, their computer education has consisted mostly of "play this math game" and "don't be victimized by cyber-perverts." Braben's idea to stem this tide: a very, very cheap computer that students can learn to program on.
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Learning Computers
by Priest on Sun 8th May 2011 05:03 UTC
Priest
Member since:
2006-05-12

My 10 year old son has had nearly 5 years of computer classes in elementary school and they use them for various other things as well. I was amazed that he has not learned things like how to search google, what some of the different web browsers are, how to save a file, basic file system layout, install an application, find an application in the start menu, ctrl+alt+del, how to end a task, fairly basic windows management, or even keyboard shortcuts for copy/paste etc.

All things you would cover with someone in a 2 hour computing 101 class.

He is an A student who is very talented in math/science and always likes to figure out how things work.

I asked him what they do with his time and all they do is type letters into MS word with the keyboard. What a waste of time. 20 years of technology and knowledge later and I probably learned more playing Oregon Trail.

Edited 2011-05-08 05:16 UTC

Reply Score: 14

RE: Learning Computers
by bert64 on Mon 9th May 2011 09:07 UTC in reply to "Learning Computers"
bert64 Member since:
2007-04-23

I asked him what they do with his time and all they do is type letters into MS word with the keyboard. What a waste of time. 20 years of technology and knowledge later and I probably learned more playing Oregon Trail.


That's how the classes are set up, and that's how MS want them set up...

If you teach them properly, then they will be more inquisitive and more adaptable... While one of the biggest things keeping MS marketshare up, is users who are afraid of even the slightest differences because they haven't been taught properly.

Reply Score: 5

RE[2]: Learning Computers
by Spiron on Mon 9th May 2011 10:04 UTC in reply to "RE: Learning Computers"
Spiron Member since:
2011-03-08

"I asked him what they do with his time and all they do is type letters into MS word with the keyboard. What a waste of time. 20 years of technology and knowledge later and I probably learned more playing Oregon Trail.


That's how the classes are set up, and that's how MS want them set up...

If you teach them properly, then they will be more inquisitive and more adaptable... While one of the biggest things keeping MS marketshare up, is users who are afraid of even the slightest differences because they haven't been taught properly.
"

You can't just blame everything on Microsoft or Apple, all they did was make computing easier for the masses. It's the governments and school boards that are responsible for the decrease in the effectiveness of the computing syllabus. All Microsoft or Apple have done is license their software for use in the education environment. The current situation would have happened even if they were using a linux distro such as Edubuntu

Reply Score: 2

RE: Learning Computers
by l3v1 on Mon 9th May 2011 11:16 UTC in reply to "Learning Computers"
l3v1 Member since:
2005-07-06

All things you would cover with someone in a 2 hour computing 101 class.


When topics like this pop up, I always end up talking about my memories of "computer" classes back in the days (non-US). We were always taught languages and programming (I was in math/sci/cs-majoring classes between ages 12-18), and getting to know applications, OS perks, etc. were only a side effect. E.g. my very first "official" computer class (I think I was ~12 years old) was about learning basic (then pascal, then c, then c++ by then I was ~15), and that process involved learning to use the computer, then algorithms, later including architecture, peripherals, apps, etc.

Granted, bottom-up approaches won't work for everyone, but all things considered, I still think it's the better approach, of course depending on the age of the pupil/student.

What and how they teach these days is a lot of people's fault, including schools who hire cs-teachers who are very sub-par regarding required knowledge, which doesn't always get noticed, since those who hire them also think computer=ie+word+outlook. And even then, I know from the experiences with my younger sister, she had a lot of generic computer-using classes, but still, I had to show and teach her a lot of things which would've been required for basic computer use but which were not even remotely covered in class.

And let me - and forgive me for it - steam out my overall frustration with idiot teachers whose main purpose is to just spend their class-hours somehow and don't give a rat's ass about the usefulness of what they do or do not teach the kids during that time.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Learning Computers
by CaptainN- on Mon 9th May 2011 17:00 UTC in reply to "Learning Computers"
CaptainN- Member since:
2005-07-07

The biggest contributing factor to this state of affairs - teachers don't know how to run computers. They are teachers, not technicians. And man, imagine what kind of disruption it would cause if the computer broke, or got a virus! Teachers already have enough to deal with with all the increased emphasis on state tests and the like, you want them to maintain a computer (or bunch of computers) that students can get in there and mess with?

Maybe with more of an emphasis on increasing effectiveness of public schools (and funding it in more appropriate ways) and less on cutting teaching roles and salaries - and other forms of irresponsible austerity. There is nothing in the current state of affairs that leads me to believe there is any chance of getting better technical instruction in public schools. America (in particular) is far down the wrong path, moving in the wrong direction.

Reply Score: 1

The new magic
by Elv13 on Sun 8th May 2011 05:34 UTC
Elv13
Member since:
2006-06-12

Priest used to use magic / god power to heal and control society. Rather than learning it, they were told to rely on it and have faith.

How could this have come down to the same thing with computer. We all hate the statement I just made, it look out of place, but it's not that much. For now over 99.9% of computer users (cell phone and digital life gadgets included), technology just work, how it work is some kind of sorcery, but it work! They have faith in that. They fear it and love it just as just as religious messengers teaches older generation to do. This is ridiculous. Who did this? Computer Guru? No. Steve Jobs may be responsible for the whole think different things and technology that doesn't get in the way, but he is not responsible for the decrease of interest in CS.

How do you expect teachers and education decision maker to teach student CS? They have blind faith in tech, they don't care how it work. So the end result is that they teach kids how not to care about it. It's their job: pass knowledge to younger generations. Not just basic language/science/math, but opening to social concepts too. I may be too young myself (22) to have lived the era when CS was an obscure science and the only one able to teach it were true geeks and "normal" teachers had no idea how to use it, but it is not the case anymore (if it ever was like that). When I was in elementary school (with DOS) it was already too late. The CS teacher was out everyday teacher and we had a menu based locked down frontend over the shell to launch those stupid and boring math games. I had to learn it by myself, first my dissecting Window95, getting to know -all- build in features along the way, then the internet came home, that was great (but off topic to this comment).

Its like the evolution theory, as soon as those who have the faith in something infiltrate the higher layers of decision, they make it easier for the other to go that way and it go on an on. It's how society work, how ideology gain traction. The new reality is that CS is not important anymore from their POV, they could "teach" it while being totally illiterate to the basic concepts. How to change this? Let's all register in college next month to become elementary school teachers!... Nobody is in? Too bad, so things wont change anytime soon.

Reply Score: 5

RE: The new magic
by Fergy on Sun 8th May 2011 06:24 UTC in reply to "The new magic"
Fergy Member since:
2006-04-10

Priest used to use magic / god power to heal and control society. Rather than learning it, they were told to rely on it and have faith.

In school you learn how to do things by learning how it works like math, grammar, reading, writing etc. As a teacher you should understand that learning basic computing is as important as learning how to use a pen and paper. You are creating a bunch of digital invalids.

Reply Score: 4

RE[2]: The new magic
by Elv13 on Sun 8th May 2011 08:27 UTC in reply to "RE: The new magic"
Elv13 Member since:
2006-06-12

They are digitals invalids in the first place and they lived fine until now in this "digital world". So, from their POV, if they never had to care, why would they teach other to care.

(Note, it's not my POV and I don't approve what I just said, I just looked at their arguments, or lack of)

Reply Score: 4

RE: The new magic - not just supply
by jabbotts on Sun 8th May 2011 20:25 UTC in reply to "The new magic"
jabbotts Member since:
2007-09-06

It's not just the supply of teachers that is the problem. most teachers won't actually teach there primary subject. Math teachers in front of music, french and art classes. Remembering back, one of my "computer" teachers was an english teacher another was an art teacher put in charge of computers and multi-media (mostly video). Sadly, just having more comp-sci backgrounds apply to teacher's college doesn't result in more of those comp-sci backgrounds being assigned to computer classes.

Schools are also run as factories to churn out office workers. They produce wage slaves not educated life long learners. The companies all want staff that can use Word and Excel so the schools teach Word and Excel instead of word processing and spreadsheet applications. The companies want staff that can use Windows because that's what companies have invested in already; schools produce staff that can use Windows but loose the ability to think if presented with any non-Microsoft branded GUI. (as if icons, windowed apps and mice suddenly work differently because of branding)

More comp-sci backgrounds applying to teacher's college wouldn't hurt but it also takes interest from parents to push the schools back to teaching the ability to learn rather than the ability to recognize a specific brand name tool. If a school claims to teach students "computes", make sure the students can actually use a computer regardless of what brand of major OS the boot screen presents. Parents need to take an interested in there children's education, meet with "educators" and demand better.

That's not to just leave the school systems hanging dry either. We can't demand better from schools while consistently reducing education budgets year over year. This is also a symptom of political problems. Army needs a new tank; cut education and redirect that money into killing gear. Provide schools with the financial support needed to teach more than reading, math and home-ec; nah.. we need that billion to buy more bombs to drop in foreign countries. If one lives in a country where political leaders are voted in and/or actually responsible to the constituents, one needs to stop voting lawyers into office and start earning the government they want not accepting the government resulting from campaign marketing scams and popularity contests. And lest we forget, an educated population is dangerous for politicians; don't think for yourselves, trust "our" policy just like Fox News tells you too.

(I'd love to see someone with an education background voted into office instead of another lawyer but wishful thinking and all that..)

It may all boil down like this even; well educated people are not attracted to the teaching profession because they can make more money elsewhere. The majority of those who choose the teaching profession do not get to teach the topic they are actually educated in. When we do finally get teachers, we expect them to constantly do more with dwindling budgets. The schools that can get third party support usually have to pander to them with special deals (MS will donate computer lab hardware and software but they'll probably ask that only MS technologies be taught, Coke will donate money but you'll have to agree not to sell Pepsi products along with agreeing to sell Coke products as if a coke machine has any business in a school in the first place).

Bah.. real education has become a privileged for those who can pay exorbitant tuition at private schools. Fk the general population and publicly funded education; we can't be putting money into that or we'll loose our minimum wage McDonald's staff.

Reply Score: 5

Neolander Member since:
2010-03-08

Fk the general population and publicly funded education; we can't be putting money into that or we'll loose our minimum wage McDonald's staff.

Don't worry. I live in a country where education is publicly funded and university costs ~€400/year, and we still have lots of staff left for McDonald's ;)

Reply Score: 4

jabbotts Member since:
2007-09-06

I do envy those countries where even university education is considered a right rather than a privileged. If I remember correctly, your down around France but I believe the folks from the Norse regions also enjoy that benefit.

Reply Score: 4

Elv13 Member since:
2006-06-12

In Quebec (French Canada) too, its about 200$ per class if you no access to full government funding (basically, if you can't pay, it's almost free). Even with those prices, less than 10% get there. But we have a strong professional college grade between true university grades and high school professional training. 3 years to learn about everything to be a good technician/programmer/health care (and 150+ other type of jobs) professional. That's totally free. Still, less than 50% get there.

It's not because education is free that people will take it. It's always disappointing to see the amount of people who don't want to be educated.

Reply Score: 4

Neolander Member since:
2010-03-08

I'd say it's a different philosophy. In most countries, you have to make a loan to buy a car, but that has never prevented anyone from buying one. In the US, you have to make a loan to educate yourself for the same reason : you cost a lot of money now, but will be able to reimburse later.

In a way, French education is a loan too : the state pays it, but taxes on companies and high salaries are higher in order to reimburse.

Reply Score: 2

jabbotts Member since:
2007-09-06

But, if the decision is a loan for a car or a loan for education, it'll usually be the car. The US is a country where people will give up there home and live in the car rather than give up the car and get that rent cheque cut.

(before someone jumps down my throat.. not everywhere in the US but it does seem more common then in other places.)

The Quebec commend on education; interesting. I didn't know that. In Ontario if one can make it through the University application process, they're likely looking at over 10,000 per year in fees. And if they can't get OSAP and FSAP assistance and/or burseries.. that figure goes up.

In the Toronto mega-area particularily, public schools can vary drastically dependong on the area one lives in. The Toronto French School and the gir's private school closer to down town are both better options for those who can afford tuition. The most interesting may be the catholic school board's self directed learning school for those who get accepted; self directed study schedual with the intent of developing life long learners - kids who will make self directed learning an ongoing hobby after the school years.

My own experience was a small town school where the guidance councelors did there best but lacked the knowledge to guid students. Any that didn't fit into a basic 50s template on the bubble sheet quize got the "uh.. no idea.. join the military maybe?" recommendation.

Reply Score: 3

bert64 Member since:
2007-04-23

Teaching computing is one area where ever decreasing budgets aren't as bad as they seem...

Old computers are perfectly adequate for teaching the general concepts, and are also far less likely to be stolen.
Similarly, pretty much all the software you need to educate people about the basic operation is available for free.

If you teach people how the basic concepts of things like a browser, word processor, spreadsheet etc work, then they can apply these skills to virtually any system they might come across.

It is extremely damaging to lock kids in to specific brands of application because there is no guarantee that software will still be in use by the time those kids leave school...
I learned wordperfect for dos when i was in school, what use is that now?... msoffice had a radical change of interface in 2007, how many kids were taught the earlier versions?

Reply Score: 5

RE: The new magic
by Nth_Man on Mon 9th May 2011 00:39 UTC in reply to "The new magic"
Nth_Man Member since:
2010-05-16

Rather than learning it, they were told to rely on it

Any of us do not really *know* how computers work. We only have a set of ideas. We have to rely on what others have written. To really *know* how computers work, we would have to know the inner work of operating systems, applications, etc, also electronics (transistors, etc), the complete behavior of electrons, matter, and so on. It was commented that a student could achieve much more just knowing something more about how computers work, and, of course, changing those "just type letters" classes :-( for "know more of it" classes.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: The new magic
by chmckay on Mon 9th May 2011 07:47 UTC in reply to "RE: The new magic"
chmckay Member since:
2010-05-03

Thankfully at the university I attended they required us to learn all of that. Just to get my degree I had to take linear algebra and discrete mathematics. I had to design and build a basic CPU. I also had to create my own OS (from scratch) and compiler. This is on top of the physics classes that dealt specifically with electrical design, particle flow and optics. Oh, and I just about forgot the networking class where we didn't just learn TCP/IP and UDP protocols. We learned how to design and build a network and create our own distributed computing software. And, finally, we had to make our projects work not on just Windows machines, but on Sun Sparc's and Linux boxes. And, these were just the required classes to graduate.

So, not all of comp-sci students are coming out with no knowledge of why things work the way they do. Some of us have learned how (and why) computers can do what they do. And this is being taught in the heart of Utah.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: The new magic
by WereCatf on Mon 9th May 2011 08:23 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: The new magic"
WereCatf Member since:
2006-02-15

Thankfully at the university I attended they required us to learn all of that. Just to get my degree I had to take linear algebra and discrete mathematics. I had to design and build a basic CPU. I also had to create my own OS (from scratch) and compiler. This is on top of the physics classes that dealt specifically with electrical design, particle flow and optics. Oh, and I just about forgot the networking class where we didn't just learn TCP/IP and UDP protocols. We learned how to design and build a network and create our own distributed computing software. And, finally, we had to make our projects work not on just Windows machines, but on Sun Sparc's and Linux boxes. And, these were just the required classes to graduate.


Damn. I would have seriously enjoyed myself there.

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: The new magic
by Nth_Man on Mon 9th May 2011 13:07 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: The new magic"
Nth_Man Member since:
2010-05-16

I was also given similar lectures ( not in Utah :-) ), with some differences, about computer knowledge and experiments but...

particle flow

You had to rely on a lot of things that you were told. For example, they told you a lot of things about the working of electrons, matter, etc and you believed them. If I really *knew* in each case how time, energy and matter works, a Nobel prize would be awarded for me :-). Things happen, but I can't say I know *how* :-(

I had to design and build a basic CPU

Let's notice that it doesn't mean that you and me really *know* how computers work, the CPUs that you and me are using... are not basic ones. The same happens with most of the software, etc. The lectures are helpful in every day problems and developments, but don't allow us to claim that we *know* how computers work.

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: The new magic
by chmckay on Mon 9th May 2011 20:04 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: The new magic"
chmckay Member since:
2010-05-03

OK, I'll concede your point. But, we're now talking mere technicalities as this is true of anything unless you personally perform the experiments yourself.

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: The new magic
by Nth_Man on Mon 9th May 2011 21:43 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: The new magic"
Nth_Man Member since:
2010-05-16

Yes, it's true of anything :-)

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: The new magic
by M.Onty on Tue 10th May 2011 10:50 UTC in reply to "RE: The new magic"
M.Onty Member since:
2009-10-23

"Rather than learning it, they were told to rely on it

Any of us do not really *know* how computers work. We only have a set of ideas.
"

If you know about logic gates and have a vague idea of how data is structured then you have quite a good understanding of computers in general. The rest is details not necessarily worth knowing unless you have a specific need.

Reply Score: 1

RE: The new magic
by j.dalrymple on Mon 9th May 2011 02:02 UTC in reply to "The new magic"
j.dalrymple Member since:
2011-03-29

Priest used to use magic / god power to heal and control society. Rather than learning it, they were told to rely on it and have faith.


Sure, maybe in some mythical/hypothetical society, they did. I don't think the same thing is going on here, though.

How could this have come down to the same thing with computer. We all hate the statement I just made, it look out of place, but it's not that much. For now over 99.9% of computer users (cell phone and digital life gadgets included), technology just work, how it work is some kind of sorcery, but it work! They have faith in that. They fear it and love it just as just as religious messengers teaches older generation to do. This is ridiculous. Who did this? Computer Guru? No. Steve Jobs may be responsible for the whole think different things and technology that doesn't get in the way, but he is not responsible for the decrease of interest in CS.


I'm more than happy when things "just work". I don't need to know the inner workings of every single piece of technology I use. Even in the field of computers, where I work, I don't need to know everything. But that doesn't mean I have some kind of blind, mystical faith in his Holiness Steve Jobs.

Reply Score: 2

Comment by bloodline
by bloodline on Sun 8th May 2011 06:23 UTC
bloodline
Member since:
2008-07-28

I would echo Braben's comment, my young half brother has been taking a "Computing Course" at school for the past few years and te most advanced thing he learnt was basic website design... Using a WYSIWYG editor ;)

I spent much of Christmas teaching him JavaScript and slowly introducing him to Objective-C (he wants to write games for his iPod Touch).

I would buy one of these computers for myself and one for my half brother the moment they come in sale!!!

Reply Score: 2

It gets worse...
by looncraz on Sun 8th May 2011 06:37 UTC
looncraz
Member since:
2005-07-24

When I was in High School, a good decade+ ago, Computer Science was learning the basics c & c++.

The following year, because only a few were able to understand that, it was diminished to html.

The year after that, it was typing in word, because teachers couldn't grasp the concepts well enough to be effective.

That is the core of the issue. Unskilled teachers.

Now, one issue at hand is that there aren't enough skilled individuals in these areas which are willing to teach - they would rather use their knowledge to make more money doing easier jobs.

Another issue is that of the lack of push from educators to see this situation change. This is one area where the teacher needs to possess special knowledge and a special understanding in order to teach the subject. It is also one of the very few subjects in which that knowledge is useful to earn a comfortable living.

Think about it. Very few other topics in school directly relate to a profession as well computer science.

English, Math, History, Intro to Business, P.E., Shop, etc....

All of that is a waste of time for what school is suppose to be ( preparation for survival in the U.S. & global economy ). But the stated goal of k-12 education in the U.S. is preparation for college. Seriously.

To make matters worse, this problem extends into college-level education as well. My g/f had a course in computer science in college and the course consisted mostly of using Word and Excel, with a small entrance into HTML by requiring the use of a program ( can't remember the name ) to create a web-site to host your homework - the site had to follow very specific rules.

The real issue was that the teacher used IE6 to view the sites, but the program's generated HTML was only compliant with non-IE browsers ( not even IE7 could do, and that is all M$ had ). Firefox, Opera, Safari were all fine.

I added a banner to her homework that told the professor to upgrade to a real browser :-)

Anyway, she made a 45 in the class. Thank god he graded on a curve. She passed with a high A. :-O

--The loon

Reply Score: 6

RE: It gets worse...
by phoenix on Mon 9th May 2011 03:47 UTC in reply to "It gets worse..."
phoenix Member since:
2005-07-11

All of that is a waste of time for what school is suppose to be ( preparation for survival in the U.S. & global economy ).


That attitude right there is what is wrong with the current education system. School should not be about pumping out workers. School should be about learning how to learn, such that you never stop learning, and never stop growing.

The K-12 education system should not be about pumping out office drones, trades drones, consumer drones. Period!

But the stated goal of k-12 education in the U.S. is preparation for college. Seriously.


And, the problem with that is ... ?

Reply Score: 4

RE: It gets worse...
by renox on Mon 9th May 2011 08:55 UTC in reply to "It gets worse..."
renox Member since:
2005-07-06

When I was in High School, a good decade+ ago, Computer Science was learning the basics c & c++. The following year, because only a few were able to understand that, it was diminished to html. The year after that, it was typing in word, because teachers couldn't grasp the concepts well enough to be effective. That is the core of the issue. Unskilled teachers.


For programming, I'm not so sure that it is only a teacher issue: once a (new) teacher asked me to do a test he was creating to see if the test was ok or not for the (first year) students.
I finished the test in 30 minutes (the examination was supposed to take 3h) so I thought that the test was ok, but it turned out that most of the student failed and he was criticized by other teachers because they thought that the test was too difficult..

Programming takes a special mindset, I'm not sure that it is for everybody.

Reply Score: 2

Comment by Spiron
by Spiron on Sun 8th May 2011 07:06 UTC
Spiron
Member since:
2011-03-08

I too have seen this, though probably closer than most of you. I am a school student in Australia, in my last year. I am in the 'programing' class and the language we are doing is VB.Net, which really isn't a difficult language at all, and yet there are still only 20 people in the class, which in a school of 1000 students isn't really that many, cause its considered 'too hard' by most of the school, and this is one of the smarter schools in my area. I was also going to an advanced web course but it got cut due to people saying that setting up and understanding a WAMP/LAMP configuration was 'very hard'.

Reply Score: 3

Scope
by Brendan on Sun 8th May 2011 07:07 UTC
Brendan
Member since:
2005-11-16

Hi,

Roughly the first 10 years of school (up until a child is about 15 years old) should be teaching general things that apply to a large number of different occupations, like maths, language (English or whatever), typing/word processing, web-browser (and search engine) usage, etc.

Any information that is only relevant to a small number of specific occupations is not "general" and should not be included in these years of school. This includes computer programming (and electronics, mechanical engineering, aerodynamics, accountancy, law, architecture, etc).

Complaining that an 11-year-old boy can't program is as stupid as complaining that the same 11-year-old isn't a qualified plumber, diesel mechanic, accountant or veterinarian. That's what tertiary education (universities, trade schools, etc) are for - to teach stuff that is only relevant to specific occupations.

- Brendan

Reply Score: 6

RE: Scope
by bloodline on Sun 8th May 2011 07:27 UTC in reply to "Scope"
bloodline Member since:
2008-07-28

Hi,

Roughly the first 10 years of school (up until a child is about 15 years old) should be teaching general things that apply to a large number of different occupations, like maths, language (English or whatever), typing/word processing, web-browser (and search engine) usage, etc.

Any information that is only relevant to a small number of specific occupations is not "general" and should not be included in these years of school. This includes computer programming (and electronics, mechanical engineering, aerodynamics, accountancy, law, architecture, etc).

Complaining that an 11-year-old boy can't program is as stupid as complaining that the same 11-year-old isn't a qualified plumber, diesel mechanic, accountant or veterinarian. That's what tertiary education (universities, trade schools, etc) are for - to teach stuff that is only relevant to specific occupations.

- Brendan


I disagree, very few job specs that I've had have required any form of computer programming as a skill... Yet I have been able to be significantly more productive and get better jobs because I have a programming skill.

Computers exist all around us and are used in all aspects of daily life... If one knows the language they speak, then that person is advantaged.

If would be like if we all had servants who could speak our language be we didn't know their language... It's a scary thought!

Reply Score: 3

RE: Scope
by Almafeta on Sun 8th May 2011 07:47 UTC in reply to "Scope"
Almafeta Member since:
2007-02-22

Any information that is only relevant to a small number of specific occupations is not "general" and should not be included in these years of school. This includes computer programming (and electronics, mechanical engineering, aerodynamics, accountancy, law, architecture, etc)


And here we have the reason the US's education quality has been steadily in decline.

I take specific offense at two of the topics you claim should not be taught. Without knowing accounting (staring from the 4th grade) and law (starting in middle school, 6th grade), not only would I have failed high school, I would not be as capable of a citizen as I am today; I would not know how to properly make and balance my budget, nor know the context in which the systems which govern me and my government came to being in. Those are already off the list of topics most students learn. And now, some right wing pundits and pulpit politicos are campaigning to have 'unessential' topics as US history and literature - supportedly to save 'taxpayer dollars'.

What is computer programming, but learning how to represent complex, abstract data in simple mentally-manipulatable terms, and how to break down huge abstract tasks into simple, completable tasks? Just like learning to use a word processor (even if just to 'type letters') helps us to learn English, learning to program teaches us the sort of abstraction, time management, and task breakdown skills that you need to be a complete and functional adult - even if you aspire to do nothing more than work at McDonald's.

Edited 2011-05-08 07:51 UTC

Reply Score: 7

RE[2]: Scope
by Brendan on Sun 8th May 2011 15:32 UTC in reply to "RE: Scope"
Brendan Member since:
2005-11-16

Hi,

"Any information that is only relevant to a small number of specific occupations is not "general" and should not be included in these years of school. This includes computer programming (and electronics, mechanical engineering, aerodynamics, accountancy, law, architecture, etc)


And here we have the reason the US's education quality has been steadily in decline.

I take specific offense at two of the topics you claim should not be taught. Without knowing accounting (staring from the 4th grade) and law (starting in middle school, 6th grade), not only would I have failed high school, I would not be as capable of a citizen as I am today; I would not know how to properly make and balance my budget, nor know the context in which the systems which govern me and my government came to being in.
"

So lets get this straight. Either:
a) by the time you left primary/middle school you were a qualified accountant and a qualified lawyer; and anyone doing a University course in accountancy or law are actually spending 4 years doing nothing because they already knew everything from 6th grade, or
b) they only taught you the basics - the "general knowledge" parts of accountancy and law, and people who want to become qualified accountants or lawyers need to spend 3 or 4 years to learn everything that school didn't teach.

I'm going to assume "option b".

Now apply that to programming. Maybe schools should teach children some of the "general knowledge" of programming - basic stuff like, um, algebra. Should they teach OOP, multi-threading/parallel programming, networking protocols, internationalisation, UML diagrams, SQL and languages like Java/C/C++? No.

If you were a dentist, you'd be complaining schools don't teach kids enough about local anesthetics and high speed drills. If you were a mechanic you'd be horrified that your child doesn't know how an automatic gearbox works. If you're an Olympic athlete you'll be appalled that your child can't do a triple somersault on a pair of skis. When your child grows up and tells you they want to be a chef, you'll get over it.

- Brendan

Reply Score: 6

RE[3]: Scope
by Almafeta on Sun 8th May 2011 16:39 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Scope"
Almafeta Member since:
2007-02-22

Now apply that to programming. Maybe schools should teach children some of the "general knowledge" of programming - basic stuff like, um, algebra. Should they teach OOP, multi-threading/parallel programming, networking protocols, internationalisation, UML diagrams, SQL and languages like Java/C/C++? No.


C++: 9th-12th grade language of choice. OOP: 9th grade. SQL: 12th grade elective. Networking protocols: 10th grade elective. Multithreading: 12th grade elective.

But that's just how it was taught at my public school.

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: Scope
by WorknMan on Sun 8th May 2011 18:26 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Scope"
WorknMan Member since:
2005-11-13

Now apply that to programming. Maybe schools should teach children some of the "general knowledge" of programming - basic stuff like, um, algebra.


You know, I've been out of high school for like 17 years now, and to my knowledge, I have never used any algebra that I was taught, nor do I remember any of it. So, just how useful was it anyway? I learned how frogs reproduce in high school, but I don't remember that either. There ARE things I wish I was taught in high school that I had to learn later on in life, such as:

- How to balance a checkbook
- How to fix a flat tire
- How to cook (sure, it was an elective, but I never took it)
- How to do laundry (if you throw in underwear with brand new, red shirts, you're going to end up with pink underwear)
- How to deal with a pain in the ass coworker
- How to lick pussy (they should have at least one course on this, cuz women seem to think we're supposed to pick this up through osmosis)
- etc etc

Edited 2011-05-08 18:28 UTC

Reply Score: 5

RE[4]: Scope
by WereCatf on Sun 8th May 2011 19:28 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Scope"
WereCatf Member since:
2006-02-15

- How to lick pussy (they should have at least one course on this, cuz women seem to think we're supposed to pick this up through osmosis)


*laughing out loud* ;)

It CAN'T be that hard, geesh! ;)

Reply Score: 3

RE[5]: Scope
by Thom_Holwerda on Sun 8th May 2011 19:33 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Scope"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

Oh god that had me rolling over the floor too ;) .

Reply Score: 0

RE[6]: Scope
by WereCatf on Sun 8th May 2011 19:40 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Scope"
WereCatf Member since:
2006-02-15

I dunno why but I see guys quite often complaining about how hard cunnilingus is and I just don't understand it o_o I mean, you DO know what parts are sensitive, don't you? It should be fairly obvious with even just tiny bit of imagination what you should do... and hell, if you still can't do it then.. well, ASK HER.

I am luckily well-talented in the.. uhh, fields of "oral satisfaction": I have a few very special tricks I use, some for girls, some for guys, never had a single complaint so far ;3

Reply Score: 3

RE[7]: Scope
by Thom_Holwerda on Sun 8th May 2011 20:09 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: Scope"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

Weeeeell I'm not going to take this discussion any further because I'm a massive prude (I'm not kidding). Have fun though ;) .

Reply Score: 1

RE[7]: Scope
by Neolander on Sun 8th May 2011 20:19 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: Scope"
Neolander Member since:
2010-03-08

I'd say it is complicated to learn for the very same reason why many modern cellphone keypads are so hard to use : absurdly tiny controls.

There's one big difference though : cellphone keypads do not have specific requirements nor get easily hurt through improper manipulation, making experimentation much easier.

Anyway... +1 to ask her. Admitting that contrary to popular myths, men do not come to life with in-depth knowledge of human sexuality solves many problem. But it isn't taught at school either =p

Edited 2011-05-08 20:27 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[7]: Scope
by WorknMan on Sun 8th May 2011 20:32 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: Scope"
WorknMan Member since:
2005-11-13

I am luckily well-talented in the.. uhh, fields of "oral satisfaction": I have a few very special tricks I use, some for girls, some for guys, never had a single complaint so far ;3


Of course, you've never had a complaint, and that's the whole point. While you think you're a cunning linguist, she's probably telling her mother, her sister, her coworkers, and her hair dresser how lousy you are at it. But will she tell you? Of course not! And for this reason, most guys don't have a clue ...

Anyway, I was lucky enough to learn from Sam Kinison to lick the alphabet (gotta love those capital T's), so I guess I'm doing alright ;) hehe

Reply Score: 3

RE: Scope
by Neolander on Sun 8th May 2011 10:49 UTC in reply to "Scope"
Neolander Member since:
2010-03-08

I disagree. Programming is a general topic, at least a part of it. Learning how to program when I was younger taught me the basic scientific workflow of our days (start from a problem, analyze it, slice it in tiny bits, work on those bits, put the pieces together), which in turn was very useful knowledge later. Computer are stupid machines, programming them involves putting vague, abstract thoughts in a precise form. And that knowledge is very useful.

Reply Score: 5

RE[2]: Scope
by WereCatf on Sun 8th May 2011 11:01 UTC in reply to "RE: Scope"
WereCatf Member since:
2006-02-15

I disagree. Programming is a general topic, at least a part of it. Learning how to program when I was younger taught me the basic scientific workflow of our days (start from a problem, analyze it, slice it in tiny bits, work on those bits, put the pieces together), which in turn was very useful knowledge later. Computer are stupid machines, programming them involves putting vague, abstract thoughts in a precise form. And that knowledge is very useful.


I agree. Programming itself might not be such a useful talent for many people, but learning how to handle complex problems and the workflow of picking a problem apart and putting it back together is always useful, no matter what field you're going to take in the future. And for learning that programming is a very logical choice, there's not many other fields where one can be taught such as easily.

Reply Score: 5

RE[3]: Scope
by Thom_Holwerda on Sun 8th May 2011 11:07 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Scope"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

I would've loved it if programming had been part of my education. I went to a rather prestigious high school, but we had none of that. I always wondered why nobody ever developed an education programme for teaching kids programming, starting in primary school, and carrying over into high school. I mean, I started learning English when I was 8 - basic courses programming could tie math in with language.

God knows how many excellent programmers never get to know they're excellent programmers simply because our education system doesn't cater to them.

Reply Score: 3

RE[4]: Scope
by WereCatf on Sun 8th May 2011 11:25 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Scope"
WereCatf Member since:
2006-02-15

Back when I was still in school we had some rudimentary programming lessons in C and HTML, but... well, the teacher was absolutely horrible. He didn't know anything about the topic himself, he was just following textbook, and if something didn't work the way it should he didn't know what to do, nor did he accept any other solutions to things than what were in the book. In the end no one really learned anything and all the students were just plain confused and frustrated, and the courses were dropped.

It's kind of sad. There were a few people who were genuinely interested, but their interest was totally killed by that teacher.

Oh well, my point is that even though being taught programming would be good for most people having a horrible teacher is worse than getting no education at all.

Reply Score: 4

RE[4]: Scope
by Neolander on Sun 8th May 2011 12:31 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Scope"
Neolander Member since:
2010-03-08

You and others on this thread make me feel guilty for not planning to teach programming to anyone else than my hypothetic kids in the future, even if I know I could w_w

Edited 2011-05-08 12:32 UTC

Reply Score: 1

RE[5]: Scope
by xiaokj on Sun 8th May 2011 14:08 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Scope"
xiaokj Member since:
2005-06-30

you'd bet ;-)

Anyway, we should really not look at things in such a small capacity. Computer science is actually finding out a lot of practical information about the structure and organisation of [s]operating systems[/s] <strike>dumb computers</strike> human work flows!

I mean, look at it: The computer is the ultimate dumb machine -- you have to specify every step in detail, but it never makes any mistake while it operates; the mistakes are yours truly. Sounds like a lot of rudimentary office jobs, doesn't it? Data entry, tabulation and processing, order processing and so on are things computers can replace humans well, and knowing how to design systems to do it in either side will carry over to the other side rather easily.

Similarly ideas exist everywhere. The structure and organisation of governments are one of the worst offenders in this area -- maybe it is really time for a computer savvy politician to get into power and show the world how it actually can be done without the pains they seem to always go through. Computer automation is a technology available for decades, and yet not exploited for the betterment of society. Clearly another case of blindly teaching facts without knowing how to expand the use cases. Woeful, indeed!

Edit: Strikes not working! Will some mod pretty please strike that? Thanks.

Edited 2011-05-08 14:09 UTC

Reply Score: 3

RE[4]: Scope
by lucas_maximus on Sun 8th May 2011 14:05 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Scope"
lucas_maximus Member since:
2009-08-18

When I was at School (late 90s), I could program a computer pretty well after doing some basic courses in middle school and secondary school.

The framework you are talking about had existed since the 80s.

LOGO and BBC BASIC

Both are simple enough that children and teachers that aren't programmers can grasp the basics, yet have enough features so you can do conditionals, loops and function/methods etc.

Edited 2011-05-08 14:06 UTC

Reply Score: 4

RE[5]: Scope
by umccullough on Mon 9th May 2011 18:28 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Scope"
umccullough Member since:
2006-01-26

LOGO and BBC BASIC


Our primary school had a lot of Apple II's - we learned LOGO in 1st/2nd grade - and I started to self-teach myself AppleSoft BASIC starting in 3rd grade. The Lab teacher encouraged me, and I spent plenty of lunch/recess time messing with that.

By 7th grade, I had discovered HyperCard - and when I entered highschool, they offered Pascal classes.

My children will be introduced to programming concepts if they show any interest, and at the very least they will have a good understanding of logic and math. I will make sure of this personally, if the school fails to do it ;)

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Scope
by Beta on Sun 8th May 2011 14:28 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Scope"
Beta Member since:
2005-07-06

I would've loved it if programming had been part of my education. I went to a rather prestigious high school, but we had none of that.


I visited a school outside München as part of an exchange programme at age 12. For people my age they had a programming lesson teaching C. My school back in the UK didnt have computers then! The most I'd done *in my spare time at home* had been BASIC and a small amount of Pascal. Anyhow, two years later they introduced an IT lesson that included doing spreadsheets and rudimentary typesetting on PCWs (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amstrad_PCW). They were out of date before they introduced them.
*sigh*

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Scope
by viton on Mon 9th May 2011 06:28 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Scope"
viton Member since:
2005-08-09

God knows how many excellent programmers never get to know they're excellent programmers simply because our education system doesn't cater to them.

Don't think so.
You either interested in the insides of "computer sorcery" or not.

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: Scope
by Spiron on Mon 9th May 2011 07:36 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Scope"
Spiron Member since:
2011-03-08

"God knows how many excellent programmers never get to know they're excellent programmers simply because our education system doesn't cater to them.

Don't think so.
You either interested in the insides of "computer sorcery" or not.
"

This shouldn't be a reason not to make the base level IT a more intelligently designed class. Students of all levels need to have a greater education within the realm of IT otherwise you get our current situation where 50% of computer users don't know what a browser is or does, what an OS is and don't know how to manage their computers

Reply Score: 2

RE: Scope
by M.Onty on Sun 8th May 2011 11:43 UTC in reply to "Scope"
M.Onty Member since:
2009-10-23


...
Any information that is only relevant to a small number of specific occupations is not "general" and should not be included in these years of school. This includes computer programming (and electronics, mechanical engineering, aerodynamics, accountancy, law, architecture, etc).
...
- Brendan


Teach only a specific language for a specific purpose, such as C# or Javascript for making 'apps', and that may well be the case. That would be occupational training like you say. But teaching some BASIC, LOGO, a dash of javascript, even some C++ and you are *not* just training pupils for an occupation. You are giving them an understanding of the logical foundations on which almost all our technologies, and an increasing portion of our society, are now based. How many people *really* needs to know about the Tudors? Or quadratic equations? Very few. However these subjects expand ones capacity to think. As does computer logic.

As an aside, the only one decent 'computer class' I had in ten years of IT (I'm 23, from England) was when we didn't touch a PC. We just played with chunky electronic logic gates, wiring them up to make simple patterns. *That* taught me what a computer is. It wasn't difficult, it just aknoledged that copmputers are more than secretarial tools.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Scope
by xiaokj on Sun 8th May 2011 12:16 UTC in reply to "Scope"
xiaokj Member since:
2005-06-30

Roughly the first 10 years of school (up until a child is about 15 years old) should be teaching general things that apply to a large number of different occupations

Sorry, but this is very much disagreeable. Especially in the current day and age, where there is increasingly less an unskilled person can do to survive (I'll expand upon this later in here), you might want to have a different viewpoint.

I mean, what is the point of an education that serves only to give the student "facts"? Facts are ridiculously easy to acquire if the basic structure is known. The real problem is how to teach people to be wise, and that is only imparted with a careful combination of facts and exemplary teaching. Seriously, nowadays, Wolfram Alpha and Google can replace many tables of data people would require to do stuff, and calculators are cheaply available. Tables of data are just that -- collection of facts. What we really need to know before we can even use them is "why are they true?" and "what caveats do they have?". These cannot be taught with just facts alone, or "general knowledge". Just in my course, there are a lot of people given tools they simply just cannot use, not for a lack of knowledge, but for a lack of understanding.

People, we need to teach people to think! There will be no future for those that do not! Increasingly, we don't need people to just man the workplace; we need people to push the frontiers!

Which brings me to the other point. Why must we teach people to man the workplace? If they cannot already do it by themselves, the society will eradicate them. It is already happening -- of the lower end jobs, the salaries are not increasing much faster than the inflation rate. And always, the locals are making it worse: always complaining about foreign workers upending their jobs, the locals quit when forced to take them up. A society cannot survive when a sizeable fraction is just made up of brats. This hypocrisy is so deep: the foreign workers, simply by manning those positions, actually make things much cheaper for the locals. Xenophobes are just that, a great big bunch of brats that are doomed to have no future.

There is nothing more general and common sense than Mathematics. Is the contemporary teaching of that any good? Really? Don't you know that Programming is nothing other than one aspect of logical Mathematics? Why is this branch outside of high school? Of the good part of current teaching, we still teach Geometry. I propose that, for any serious teacher of Geometry, to state clearly at the start of, and at the end of any module to say the following:

"Ladies and Gentlemen, it may seem that we may be dealing with lines, circles, figures and angles in Geometry. It has nothing to do with that. My main purpose is _not_ to impart in you these facts. Education needs to be much more than that. What is really happening is that, society has realised that in order to prepare you to be useful, to no one other than yourselves, not us, we need to teach people how to argue logically with the facts; in other words, how to be a complete and total pain in the liar's neck, and how to do it legally and irrefutably. That is the true reason why we want to teach Geometry -- to prepare you for your inevitable need to reason."

Reply Score: 3

RE: Scope
by mogwai82 on Sun 8th May 2011 12:37 UTC in reply to "Scope"
mogwai82 Member since:
2010-03-15

Hi all,

This is an interesting discussion Scope brings up and I had to ponder it myself a little too - as maybe I only think that programming should be taught in schools as I'm a coder myself.

But I think that programming, at least the basics of it, is a useful for people in this IT saturated world to understand how best to work with computers and that they are still just dumb machines! Also, planning algorithms and breaking down problems to basic steps should have some benifits in other fields - I'm sure that sometimes my analytical knowledge is useful in other domains (ok, maybe not always so helpful in other domains - relationship advice, etc!), or at least can bring another PoV into account.

Anyway, I was happy with my 80-90s Computing at school, we did a little BBC Basic programming at primary, some Turtle graphics and at secondary did some good stuff (loops, functions, conditional statements, working with files, etc...) with a Scotland only language called COMAL (just an advanced BASIC for DOS) and a little HTML. We did the word-processing, spreadsheet stuff too which I did find really dull! but we also did traversing DOS file-system and basics of the fetch-execute cycle which was great. Basically as I was doing hobbist stuff at home as well I found my BEng Computing degree a doddle in first year.

Cheers,
Chris.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Scope
by JAlexoid on Sun 8th May 2011 15:04 UTC in reply to "Scope"
JAlexoid Member since:
2009-05-19


Complaining that an 11-year-old boy can't program is as stupid as complaining that the same 11-year-old isn't a qualified plumber, diesel mechanic, accountant or veterinarian. That's what tertiary education (universities, trade schools, etc) are for - to teach stuff that is only relevant to specific occupations.

- Brendan


No. Programming might not be necessary for everyone, but understanding that a computer is not "magic"(trademark lawsuit be damned) is necessary. Software is programmed by people. And computers follow a very strict logic.
With computers being all around us, we all have to understand basics behind computers. We all have to understand what is computer software. Just like we all have to understand the basics behind combustion engine, how an atom looks like, chemistry and all other sciences that are all around us in daily lives.

150 years ago Greek and Latin were all around educated people, not today. Today English, mathematics, computers are all around us. If you can't search Google for information you are permanently disadvantaged these days. If you can't enter a formula in Excel you are disadvantaged in many other ways.

School is there to level out those disadvantages for all. But those have to levelled out to average, not lowest common denominator.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Scope - critical thinking
by jabbotts on Sun 8th May 2011 20:55 UTC in reply to "Scope"
jabbotts Member since:
2007-09-06

The entry level into programming is critical thinking which can indeed be taught to a ten year old and does apply to pretty much every occupation that child may go into. Math can be an aid in teaching critical thinking but there are better way's to approach logical thought.

Also, the complaint in the article was not that a ten year old child couldn't write professional grade C but that after a few years of "computer classes" at the school the student was still unable to grasp and perform basic computing tasks which could have been covered in a two hour tutorial. "Computer class" equates to playing a few math games and typing letters into Word while remaining unable to type letters into any other word processor? I'd be meeting with the principal if that was my child's school.

Reply Score: 3

What general purpose I/o?
by Hans Otten on Sun 8th May 2011 10:36 UTC
Hans Otten
Member since:
2009-12-24

I can not find anything on their website or the BBC interview about the 'General Purpose I/O' on the specs list. I do not see a network connector either (or perhaps via USB?).

Using this for social media, watching videos, twitter etc is a bit out of the educational scope of the designer. You can do that (better) on a smartphone or general purpose PC.


Its when adding homebuild hardware and programs when the true value of electronics and software combined will make sens to the young (or older!) engineer to be.
Its like playing with electronic kits in the 70ties or home computing with Basic on 8 bit computers in the 80ties. That has made many start a career in computing.

Edited 2011-05-08 10:43 UTC

Reply Score: 1

RE: What general purpose I/o?
by Hans Otten on Sun 8th May 2011 13:12 UTC in reply to "What general purpose I/o?"
Hans Otten Member since:
2009-12-24

Received an answer on my email asking about I/O: 10-20 buffered GPIO lines.

So this will be a fun device!

Reply Score: 2

jabbotts
Member since:
2007-09-06

Most folks would just grumble about the decline of education. This fellow instead chose to deliver a possible solution. It should be very interesting to see how this turns out even if it doesn't revolutionize comp-sci.

Reply Score: 2

Comment by akavel
by akavel on Mon 9th May 2011 11:16 UTC
akavel
Member since:
2009-10-27

Please do note the quote below, from the AFAIK original article at bbc.co.uk ( http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/rorycellanjones/2011/05/a_1... ) :


There's a lot of work for Raspberry Pi to do. The volunteer team has to produce a better working prototype, has to show that it really can be manufactured for around £15


I do sure also hope, that it's not going to follow the fate of the OLPC in this regard, but as of now, please mitigate the bold $25 claim in the article for what it's worth. Unless you do have some good sources to back up the claim that they have since succeeded in this area -- then I'd be more than happy to hear that.

Reply Score: 2

Mhm
by twitterfire on Mon 9th May 2011 13:18 UTC
twitterfire
Member since:
2008-09-11

They do teach kids in schools how to play WOW? If not, that's a big fail. I do hope they teach the kids at least how to use facebook and twitter and how to find cheap pr0n on teh internets.

Reply Score: 3

it can browse, huh, what ?
by Skai on Mon 9th May 2011 13:49 UTC
Skai
Member since:
2010-08-19

The article states this :

"it looks like Ubuntu may be the distro it ships with. That means it will handle web browsing"


Hmm, wait, beside the fact there's absolutely no relationship between ubuntu and browsing, can somebody tell be WHAT will be browsed without network connection ?

On the other hand the idea is incredibly good.

Young kids are taught how to use a device, not to "hack" into it. Mainly because teachers don't know better either.

Real computer science can come only after a first approach, (say, 1 year of "discovery") and can only be proposed by competent teachers, and to interested kids. Not all of them care about how things work, and again not half of these are interested in making things work the way they want.

Reply Score: 1

RE: it can browse, huh, what ?
by haakin on Mon 9th May 2011 18:14 UTC in reply to "it can browse, huh, what ?"
haakin Member since:
2008-12-18

The video in the linked article shows an ethernet-usb adapter.

Reply Score: 1

teaching reason
by Bounty on Mon 9th May 2011 17:11 UTC
Bounty
Member since:
2006-09-18

Most IT people I've met don't have a knack for teaching. People may not work the same way you do. Most of you were probably brilliant in those computer classes. Others, well they became doctors, janitors or a variety of things.

You can learn logic and following directions from a variety of sources. I'm not sure BASIC is the universal foundation you're looking for. Actually I would prefer that there was a separate "logic class" that was independant of specific fields. Maybe some cooking, mechanics, physics and BASIC all thrown into one. The goal of the class would be to teach reasoning, and should be an early core class.

Reply Score: 2

Braille
by M.Onty on Tue 10th May 2011 10:44 UTC
M.Onty
Member since:
2009-10-23

I'm working on an assistive device for blind computer users, especially children, called a cell display. The idea is to reduce the price by a factor of at least five. See www.bristolbrailletechnology.com. This PC device could well be just what is needed for these sorts of projects working to reduce the cost of currently expensive niche devices for education. Bundle this with a cheaper Braille cell display and you could see Braille literacy sky-rocket around the world. Bravo!

- Ed Rogers

Reply Score: 1