Monday, December 9 2013

US education system hits bottom, digs

Lots of press about the “Hour of Code” campaign recently, which has the goal of briefly exposing children to computer programming. Money down the drain, since most school curriculums still don’t include Hour of Basic Logic, Hour of Problem-Solving, or Hour of You Are Not A Precious Snowflake.

[Update: a number of the discussions of this are linking to Jeff Atwood’s Please Don’t Learn to Code, and wow did that attract hundreds of comments from people who completely missed his point. I agree completely with Jeff, and a lot of the reason is that I remember exactly what it was like when we did this back in the Eighties: put a bunch of kids in a room and try to teach them to program, and 60% will pretend interest and parrot what they’re told, 30% will be too bored to pretend, 9% will be actively hostile, and 1% will be excited about the opportunity until the other kids bully them into doing all the work. Bottom line, if the school curriculum included critical thinking skills in all courses, an “hour of code” would be as necessary as giving floating lessons to ducks. No offense to any ducks among my readers…]

[12/13 Update: apparently the folks at code.org think being exposed to computer science is like being exposed to radiation: “More students have participated in computer science in U.S. schools in the last three days than in the last 100 years”. They are so completely full of shit that I’m surprised my browser didn’t turn brown.]