Archive for September 19, 2013

On Computing Education From a 14 year old’s Point of View: A role for livecoding

Articulate and interesting critique of the state of computing education.  This article is describing the UK, but the situations described are actually better than in most of the US (e.g., that everyone gets some computing education, and that everyone gets some Scratch, is light years ahead of the US where 80% have nothing at all).

The particular point quoted below is about the importance of teaching students enough that they can take pride in the result, and that they can see a path to do more.  I’m writing this while immersed in the Livecoding seminar at Dagstuhl, and I realize that this is a role for livecoding — showing students that they can make something realimmediately and quickly change it to make something new.

Again, we have the Windows Movie Maker problem. If a student cannot take pride in the work they produce, how can you expect them to take an interest in the subject?

From a student’s perspective, if it has taken four years to learn how to produce a program to add two numbers together, the gap to becoming a software developer creating useful applications looks enormous.

via On Computing Education – The Windows Movie Maker Problem – Ross Penman – Ross Penman.

September 19, 2013 at 1:44 pm 8 comments

The Brogrammer Effect: Women Are a Small (and Shrinking) Share of Computer Workers – Jordan Weissmann – The Atlantic

Good to see The Atlantic caring about this.  I don’t see much evidence offered that it’s a “Brogrammer” effect, though, other than the title.

So here’s why everybody, whether or not they’ve ever given a hint of thought to brogrammers and the social mores of Silicon Valley or Alley or Beach, should care. A large part of the pay gap between men and women boils down to the different careers they pursue. And STEM jobs, with their generally high salaries, are an especially important factor. Meanwhile, as the Census notes, computer fields make up about a half of STEM employment. So when you talk about women retreating from computer work, you’re talking about a defeat for their financial equality.

via The Brogrammer Effect: Women Are a Small (and Shrinking) Share of Computer Workers – Jordan Weissmann – The Atlantic.

September 19, 2013 at 1:24 am 2 comments

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