Bill MacKenty

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The four noble truths. Explained, part two.

Posted in Educational Tech Design Leadership on 21 - February 2011 at 07:12 PM (13 years ago). 242 views.

Original seed here

1. Engage, stop, turn off, reflect.
2. Program
3. Participate
4. Sift

I spoke about part one here.

Here’s part two.

Thou shalt program. This is the difference between being a consumer and producer. Computation is more than making a powerpoint presentation. 21st century learning is more than just using a website. It’s about understanding code. The numerical, clean, clear code.

Am I saying every kid needs to be a geek? No. Not everyone CAN be a geek. But they should know how to code. It is the next literacy. Really. Alice? Ok, if you must. Our kids need to learn to create programs. Not just use them.

I want to be clear here. I am not saying that kids should only program. I am not saying kids should exclude all the great “web 2.0 stuff” instead of programing, but I am saying that programming a computer is a necessary literacy.

As all my students will tell you, I prefer the command line. Use IDE’s, I really don’t care. But kids should know how to code. Even to know what code looks like, to program a computer, to “make a computer do stuff”. It is the center of things in 2011.

Ask, what if kids don’t know this? What if kids don’t know know how to program?
Many people drive cars without ANY IDEA how they actually work. I get it, I only have a passing familiarity with how cars work. I can change a tire, change oil, and I have a personal understanding of the horribleness of a CV joint that has failed. But if kids don’t have a passing familiarity with programming, and the act of creation, won’t they be a distinct disadvantage?

Math, science, even (gasp), the humanities, offer an opportunity to understand and learn programming. Schools should offer programming classes to all kids as part of the “normal curriculum”.