Treating computing as a real literacy: If learning to code were like learning to write…
I like what Andy Ko is doing in this blog post. He imagines if computing literacy were integrated into our daily lives, how would we introduce computing to children, how would we talk about it to our children?
I don’t buy the focus in this post on tokenizing and textual languages. I would hope that children would talk about feedback, and iteration, and how to build conditionals that tested what you wanted (e.g., “How would you know if that was true?” — which might lead to some great discussions about truth and experiments and science, all by itself!). The point of a piece like Andy’s is to have these discussions, to talk about what we’d integrate and where.
I’m reminded of Mike Horn’s work on computational sticker books (see link here). Mike asks the question, “If computational literacy were integrated into our daily lives, how would parent and child do computation while reading a book at bedtime?” Mike’s answer is computational sticker books. Doesn’t matter whether you agree with Mike about sticker books, the point is to wonder what a future world of computational integration might be like.
If learning to code were like learning to write, we’d next teach children how to read short books, giving them programs to read, exposing them to all of the computational possibilities of the language they were learning. “Madison, what did you choose for your book project this month? Oh, an Instagram post indexing algorithm, interesting! Are you liking it? What’s your favorite idiom?”
If learning to code were like learning to write, we’d ask children to start writing sentences, creating simple statements that accomplish small tasks. “Daniel, we keep forgetting to turn the light off in the garage. Can you log into the IoT portal and write a rule that turns it off every night at 9 pm?”