Thursday, 17 February 2011

Why aren't we teaching our kids how to code?

Interesting article in the Daily Telegraph.

1 comment:

  1. This is a very interesting article, primarily because it misses the point. We're obsessed with technology, but we don't understand it, and teaching children to program too early will do more harm than good.

    Why is it that for years the programming department at McAfee was populated primarily by history majors from Stanford? Why is it that the best programmer at a large IT training provider in Germany was a theologian? Why is it that a former head of programming at Silicon Graphics preferred to hire musicians and foreign-language students over mathematicians and engineers?

    The answer in each and every case was the same: because these people could think clearly and in structured ways. The point is that you don't have to study maths and computing and you don't need to learn programming to do this. What we need to be doing is teaching people how to think, instead we're filling their heads with subject-matter and this at the expense of other, perhaps more important things.

    In all the exuberance to train technologists, we never stop to ask ourselves if this is good for us? Asking about what is "good" is asking for a value judgment, but the baby we're throwing out with the bath water is not only the ability to think, but the ability to think critically, and ethically. These "skills" are fostered by engaging non-technology subjects such as literature, history, music, art, philosophy.

    It's time to look up from all that code and see what's beyond our own meagre plate.