[FoRK] Why Johnny Can't Code

Andy Armstrong < andy at hexten.net > on > Thu Sep 14 02:05:28 PDT 2006

On 14 Sep 2006, at 06:05, Simon Wistow wrote:

> This is something I've felt strongly about for a few years now.
>> From http://www.salon.com/tech/feature/2006/09/14/basic/
> Why Johnny can't code
> BASIC used to be on every computer a child touched -- but today  
> there's
> no easy way for kids to get hooked on programming.

I just recently tracked down a couple of copies of Mindstorms (the  
book by Seymour Papert rather than the eponymous Lego robot kit).  
Reading it I found his optimism - and the memory of my optimism from  
the same era - almost unbearable. Remember when we talking about  
computers enabling and empowering kids?

My Sister-in-law works in a school where computers are primarily an  
instrument of tyranny. She has a computerised register which takes  
three times as long to complete as a paper register - and she must do  
the paper register too as a backup. They can try to use the internet  
but it's a bit hard when all the good bits are censored - so what  
they mainly do is run a Microsoft Office indoctrination program.  
That'll enable the kids to use computers in the same impoverished way  
most adults do - as a replacement for the typewriter, calculator and  
memo pad.

I can't talk about this stuff for long - it makes me too sad and too  

Andy Armstrong, hexten.net

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