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: 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 Parent Score: 7

RE[2]: Scope
by Brendan on Sun 8th May 2011 15:32 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 Parent Score: 6

RE[3]: Scope
by Almafeta on Sun 8th May 2011 16:39 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 Parent Score: 1

RE[3]: Scope
by WorknMan on Sun 8th May 2011 18:26 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 Parent Score: 5