Should we teach programming? I love this question. Yes! No!

January 20, 2014 — Leave a comment

Inspired by a blog post by Brandon Grasley, here are my current thoughts on whether or not to teach programming.  This is a comment I left on Brandon’s blog, but I had so much fun writing it, I wanted to have my own archive of my thinking.  Thoughts?  Be sure to check out his post too.

Yes! No! Yes, and . . .

I flip flop between 1 and 0 on whether programming should be taught.

Yes! Program or be programmed.

No! It’s akin to learning Latin a generation ago.

Yes! The Internet of things is increasingly present. Your oven will soon be connected to the web. Anything that is networked can be hacked both in good ways and not so good ways. (Restate: program or be programmed).

No! Increasingly you can do powerful things in the bit world without C+ to Ruby to Python and whatever program language you want to teach. Which raises the next issue: which programming language does one teach?

Yes, and . . {.where I think I really stand on this issue} . . .yes, we should be teaching/learning programming, *and* there should be an interplay between the bits and the atoms. In a word, MAKE. I think programming that is contextualized in making and the maker movement stands a better chance at democratizing the tools of creation, production, invention and general goodness. I think programming that blends on screen and face2face-in-my-hand creations satisfies our love for 1 and 0 and the reality of our flesh and bone atomic life.

So, why stop at programming? What people really need is a Fablab.

Yes! There are 10 kinds of people in this world. Those that understand binary and those who do not.

Michelle

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