June 10, 2016

Are we "...a generation of computer science educators, who want to bring all our children to existing technology, rather than change technology to more effectively engage with children and, for that matter, people"?

Quartz: Writing software today is eerily similar to what it was like in the late 1950s, when people sat at terminals and wrote COBOL programs. And like the late 1950s, the stereotype of the coder is largely unchanged: mostly white guys with deep math skills, and minimal extroversion. by David S. Bennahum

'...Learning coding is about moving away from computer languages, syntax, and academic exercises towards real world connections: game design and building projects that tie into other subjects like science and social studies.

'This Cambrian explosion of new coding techniques offers the promise of dramatically diversifying a coder monoculture of math-driven white men to include women, minorities, and those without advanced degrees in math. These are people who have long been underrepresented in science, math, and technology fields. From a humanist perspective, society benefits when diverse people can be creators of software instead of just consumer. It’s unacceptable that software creation remains so out of reach for so many.

'Pop computing is connected to real life. It’s where the Minecraft kids go when they’re done mining. And where those who never were into mining can find a place.

'In this new world, learning coding is about moving away from computer languages, syntax, and academic exercises towards real world connections: game design and building projects that tie into other subjects like science and social studies. This is a world of software as a form of self-expression. Computer science becomes a medium for storytelling, offering exciting pathways for kids to forge a personal identity and mastery of a powerful technology. This is the inverse of how computer science has been taught, as an impersonal, disconnected, abstracted, mathematical exercise.

'Instead of attempting to lure code-literate teachers away from Silicon Valley, we need to revolutionize the way coding is done. Rather than fit the person to the tool, let’s fit the tool to the person. Pop computing can help us get there, offering a gloriously diverse array of tools to match our gloriously diverse species.'

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