Monday, 2 April 2012

teach them to code

fascinating piece here tweeted by Jack of Kent, on computer education, saying that for the future children should be taught to code, and to understand the concepts that go with it.  Absolutely spot on.  Apparently if you are in your 30s you may well have been taught Logo programming at school - were you?  perhaps my children were.  No clue.  But schools gave that up and started training pupils to ouse Microsoft Word.  If I could learn to use that when I was pushing 40 then it does not seem to be a good use of schools' time,and from what I have seen of computer labs in schools they are expensive suites which teach children nothing.  It seems bizarre to me that you take the sophisticated games consoles many children have away from them at the door and sit them down in front of a big box and show them how to word-process.  I would like to learn code myself, but it would probably be beyond me.  I tried to do something with Unix command lines the other week, and it stumped me.

Whatever happens to the future education of our children in technology - -and we should all care about that - it seems to be vitally important that older people use technology too.  Skype and Face Time have made it begun to seem odd to have a telephone conversation with someone you can't see.  Yesterday I was talking to my sister, and she described some rather odd papier mache sculptures she had been given, and was able to show them to me at the same time.  I hope and believe that my generation will not back away from new developments and new communication technologies, though it is something that older people often do.  If my mother could see her great-grandchildren on Skype, and see family pictures on Facebook, she would get great joy from it.  But for now, at least, she cannot, and has set her face against it.  In recent years she has had a computer and used email, but she decided she couldn't cope with it any more because it was "too stressful", which was sad.  How to help older people get the undoubted benefits of technology, especially for the ones who can't easily travel or even leave home?  There must be some ideas out there.


Jonathan said...

I am round about that age, and I was taught Logo at school, then BBC Basic. Logo was just a couple of sessions, there isn't much to it; BBC Basic was what I spent most of my time on.

These days, if someone is starting out on programming, I would probably suggest Ruby as a good first language to learn.

Anonymous said...

The programming jobs that brought many of us to Reading and Berkshire have gone to India.