Archive for February 6, 2013

Berners-Lee calls for computer science education for children

The first part of what Berners-Lee says below makes sense to me. Students don’t really see computing until there’s breakdown. Interfaces carefully hide away the computing underneath. But it does not really make sense for children to check log files and re-write scripts when something breaks with Twitter or Facebook. I think he may be confounding two reasons for knowing about computing education: (a) to understand your world (“I think I have a clue why this broke, or even why it was working in the first place”) versus (b) to be able to construct in that world — to be a producer, as well as a consumer. Both are good reasons for learning about computing, but it’s not always the case that you can construct around every bug that comes up, especially with large social networks.

“A quarter of the planet uses the web,” he cautioned, “then within this quarter of people who may tweet and use social networks and so on, there’s a fairly small set of people who code. But when you look at those people, they have the ability to make a computer do whatever they can imagine.

“I think a lot of folks growing up today, when they open a computer, it’s like opening a refrigerator. It’s an appliance, it’s white goods, there’s some stuff in it, if it needs more in it you stock it, you put more music in it, you play it. And If it breaks it’s: ‘Mom, can I have a new one’.”

“It’s not actually ‘what went wrong there? Let me go in there, lets look at the log files, what crashed, why didn’t it have the right permissions, lets see if we can re-write that script so that it works in the new version of the operating system.’”

via Berners-Lee calls for computer science education at a younger age | VG247.

February 6, 2013 at 10:25 am 5 comments


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