Weekend newspaper coverage on computing for all, especially kids

April 2, 2012 at 10:25 am 3 comments

The NYTimes had an article on Saturday on “Computer Science for the Rest of Us” which was all about broad introductory computing classes at the college level.  I exchanged email with the author before the column came out, pointing out several sources and mentioning Media Computation. Randy felt that Georgia Tech’s experience with computing for everyone was less compelling, because Georgia Tech is an “engineering school.”  He said that he was more interested in programs that cater to humanities majors — which is what MediaComp is, because we developed it to reach Liberal Arts, Architecture, and Management majors.

More interesting is the whole section of The Guardian focused on computing education. I learned about it from Nick Falkner’s post on CS as a fundamental 21st century skill, and then from other readers who forwarded me the link — thanks!  I was most impressed by the open letter to the UK Secretary of State for Education, Michael Gove, “A manifesto for teaching computer science in the 21st century.”  John Naughton really gets why CS in K-12 matters, and understands (better than most programmers) that teaching computing is not about threatening the programmer elites.

[T]hey are not the most important justification, which is that in a world shaped and dependent on networking technology, an understanding of computing is essential for informed citizenship.

3. We believe every child should have the opportunity to learn computer science, from primary school up to and including further education. We teach elementary physics to every child, not primarily to train physicists but because each of them lives in a world governed by physical systems. In the same way, every child should learn some computer science from an early age because they live in a world in which computation is ubiquitous. A crucial minority will go on to become the engineers and entrepreneurs who drive the digital economy, so there is a complementary economic motivation for transforming the curriculum.

 

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Getting the level right in learning to be computationally literate What we don’t know about going to distance education, and the challenge of comparing apples to apples

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