Parenting and Teaching Programming

At what level of programming are we actually imparting the philosophy of human thought? Or, another way, a basic program that prints out a few numbers is truly trivially basic: it merely teaches some programming syntax. However, contrast your smartphone apps to your old DOS/Windows apps. A significan understanding of human haptics and intuition have been codified into the most basic of smart phone apps where your DOS applications might still be more closely related to punch-cards.

Episode 27 of Bad Voltage takes a fascinating turn in the middle of the episode where these parents stop discussing technology in terms of quantifiable capacities and start talking about the philisophical benefits to young programmers. Jono Bacon quotes a collegue:

Programming is smulating how we thing. Teaching programming is teaching a meta-level of how we [make decisions].

And then Bryan Lunduke chimes in with Scratch, a simple programming environment suitable for younger children.

Please teach your kids, especially your girls, how to code. I firmly believe that this is not just a job skill, but an introduction to logic and analysis that is more tangible than any calculus tought, ever. And don’t brag to me about how you used an interval to compute the average runoff from a forested watershed, you’re showing off. You thouch your phone 120 times a day and you’re entirely dependent on it. If you can boil water and put peanut butter on bread, you can program, so stop raising your hands about how difficult it is. Our children will lead lives where software will decide their salaries, their health insurance, their academic opportunities and how they are promoted and ultimately how they promote themselves through life.

Please listen to that episode and tell me why you are not introducing your kids to computer programming.

Advertisements