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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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 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 Parent Score: 4

RE: It gets worse...
by renox on Mon 9th May 2011 08:55 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 Parent Score: 2