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 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 Parent Score: 5

RE[2]: Learning Computers
by Spiron on Mon 9th May 2011 10:04 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 Parent Score: 2

RE: Learning Computers
by l3v1 on Mon 9th May 2011 11:16 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 Parent Score: 2

RE: Learning Computers
by CaptainN- on Mon 9th May 2011 17:00 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 Parent Score: 1