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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RE[2]: Scope
by Brendan on Sun 8th May 2011 15:32 UTC in reply to "RE: Scope"
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"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

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