[Edu-sig] Programming in High School
macquigg at ece.arizona.edu
Mon Dec 8 20:26:51 CET 2008
At 08:22 AM 12/8/2008 -0800, kirby urner wrote:
>I think you're spot on about the "advantage over the poor" thing, as our stronger public schools have a parent base that will fund and support Linux labs,
I've also heard the argument that most kids will never be programmers ... missing the point that the important learning experience is a way of thinking, not the skill at a particular language. You never know when a poor kid might become somebody important.
>I guess my advice to the Obama team would be to avoid any "one size fits all" attempts to converge to some "national curriculum" like many do in Europe. Each of the 50 states needs breathing room and none of them need Washington DC to be bossing them around like they're slaves of some central know-it-all. We're a Federation, and this was never a monarchy.
I wonder if Obama has any ability in computer thinking. He will need it if he is going to referee all the experts he has swarming around him. I see some underlings in the Department of Homeland Security, frustrated after years of laissez-fair, have formed an Internet Security Alliance, and are pushing for major involvement by the Feds. This could be good if Obama understands what they are saying, or bad if he can't distinguish between good advice and glib nonsense. Let's hope Vint Cerf can keep him on the right track.
>On Mon, Dec 8, 2008 at 6:57 AM, David MacQuigg <<mailto:macquigg at ece.arizona.edu>macquigg at ece.arizona.edu> wrote:
>>This is very well written appeal, but in this mailing list, you may be preaching to the choir. What I would like to see is a discussion of *why* there is not more teaching of programming in high school. I can't seem to get an answer from the few high-school teachers and students I have asked. I suspect it has something to do with requiring all kids to have their own computers, not wanting the rich to have an advantage over the poor, etc. I've thought about teaching high school myself, but the bureaucracy seems overwhelming.
>>At 11:37 AM 12/6/2008 -0800, kirby urner wrote:
>>>As such a manager, I'm frustrated with the schooling around here, but rather than just whine and complain, I get access to classrooms and start showing off how it might really be done, were those of my breed allowed to interact with the kids (rarely happens, rules prevent -- even though I've been cleared at the state level to work with kids, with fingerprinting and everything, same as any union teacher).
>>>But among peers, fellow geeks, this is more just an excuse to tell some company war stories, share Python source, and enjoy the science fiction feeling of being in a culture that *we* had designed, rather than muggles, i.e. those who don't know what SQL means, even after enduring like four years of "mathematics" pre-college (not they're fault -- SQL doesn't make it past the relevance filters, gotta learn more about factoring polynomials, like you'll need on the job (snicker)).
>>>What if circus performers designed your gym class? It wouldn't be like it is. What if Pythonistas taught your junior how to program math objects, like vectors and polynomials. Why, he'd grow up employable, ready to rumble, ready for work, maybe without even going to college right away (that could come later, on the company's dime maybe). As a parent, you'd be pleased. Finally, junior is excited about hard fun, programs just for the love of it (pretty freakish).
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