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[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 Parent Score: 3

RE[4]: Scope
by WereCatf on Sun 8th May 2011 11:25 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 Parent Score: 4

RE[4]: Scope
by Neolander on Sun 8th May 2011 12:31 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 Parent Score: 1

RE[5]: Scope
by xiaokj on Sun 8th May 2011 14:08 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 Parent Score: 3

RE[4]: Scope
by lucas_maximus on Sun 8th May 2011 14:05 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 Parent Score: 4

RE[5]: Scope
by umccullough on Mon 9th May 2011 18:28 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 Parent Score: 2

RE[4]: Scope
by Beta on Sun 8th May 2011 14:28 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 M√ľnchen 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 Parent Score: 2

RE[4]: Scope
by viton on Mon 9th May 2011 06:28 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 Parent Score: 2

RE[5]: Scope
by Spiron on Mon 9th May 2011 07:36 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 Parent Score: 2