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The world needs programmers

Started by Tessa Gray 22 May 2013 10:54am () Replies (28)

Yesterday it was announced David Karp (26) as the creator of Tumblr, was selling the blogging platform to Yahoo for $1.1 billion. His mum says,

When he was a little boy, Karp showed an early fascination with electronics and liked to pull toys apart and reassemble them.

Not saying it’s all about the money, there's loads of potential in coding. As Trevor Bond says,

When I did coding as a young adult, it changed my thinking into a clear, concise, sequential and logical way. I was able to see options from each step and then make the appropriate choices. It’s the potential for rewiring the brain and for problem solving that makes computer programming so valuable. 

So what does Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, will.i.am and other famous ‘brains’ say about the value of computer programming or coding? WATCH THIS YOUTUBE CLIP:

I'd love to know more...

What is your school (primary/intermediate/secondary) doing to promote computer science/coding/programming?

Any e-tools or software applications you'd recommend for others to use?


  • Karen (View all users posts) 22 May 2013 11:47am ()

    Thanks for sharing this Tessa.  It's a very interesting YouTube clip and has really made me think, especially when reading the statements at the end.

  • Tessa Gray (View all users posts) 22 May 2013 12:13pm ()

    Thanks Karen, I found this all interesting too. I got me wondering if we play with the 'front end' of tools lots and could possibly expose students to the inner workings of the technology more? EG: the actual hardware (screws, panels, motherboard etc) as well as using software applications that promote using instructions to control the software.

    imagedavein2it posted to the wire that Scratch is up and running (makes games, animated stories, interactive art using programming) and I see MSWLogo is a logo-based programming environment that is also free to use.

    Would you recommend any others?

  • Karen (View all users posts) 22 May 2013 12:47pm ()

    I completely agree that maybe students aren't being exposed to the inner workings enough.  The possibility of that kind of learning at school almost makes me wish I was a student again!

    I don't have any experience myself in this area and am no longer teaching in a classroom, but it has made me realise what a huge learning area this could be for our kids in the hopefully not to distant future.

  • Ross Hampton (View all users posts) 22 May 2013 3:21pm ()

    Have used Logo for years in its various forms and now use Scratch to do Logo procedures. Great way to embed basic geometry as well as gain an understanding of basic programming. 

  • Monika Kern (View all users posts) 22 May 2013 3:32pm ()

    My oldest in Y9 is seriously into programming, at home he is using Minecraft features to do all sort of things (pressure plates to operate elevators to hidden rooms etc.). At school they have been using Small Basic - currently trying to create an Enigma Coding Machine - and according to his teacher he is now reaching the limit of this so we have just bought Codea on the iPad ($13.99). I saw this used at Ahuroa School, students can create apps for the iPad that they could even upload to the App Store and sell. He is self-motivated, so given a few pointers, he will just explore and teach himself or look for answers online. Just in case this is applicable for other young people like him :-)

  • Jacqueline Hill (View all users posts) 22 May 2013 3:41pm ()

    Thanks Monika - your comment makes me think...Wow! what young people will learn when you take a 'teacher' out of the picture!

  • Monika Kern (View all users posts) 22 May 2013 3:58pm ()

    That's exactly what Sugata Mitra says :-)

  • Heather Harper (View all users posts) 22 May 2013 4:23pm ()

    I have just put Scratch on to our network so that students can access it. I have absolutely no idea how to use it but kids get really into it. We also have had Alice over our network for a few years, its a bit clunky, but I noticed the other day during a media suite open session, a couple of boys working through the tutorials. I am thinking of starting up a group of students and opening up the suite during break times for them to come in and do projects. Minecraft is a possibility as well but I know nothing about it.

    Programmes like these are great "minus the teacher", as the students show real passion and drive to create in these programmes. 

  • Anne Sturgess (View all users posts) 22 May 2013 5:06pm ()

    Very topical. Robyn Boswell raised a question about this recently via the TKI Gifted and Talented Community mailing list and the general consensus seems to be that it is an area of great interest in its own right. I recall using Logo to teach basic programming at primary schools in the early 1980s (yes, I have been teaching that long). I believe it has been superseded by Scheme. My husband wrote tailored educational software in BASIC for my classes because there was little around then. Schools I worked in consequently were the beneficiaries of several programmes he produced to collate, analyse and compare assessment data (e.g. PATs). As the Fleet Manager for the Auckland Area Health Board, he wrote software to track car usage and fuel consumption, which was then adopted by BP for use when they introduced fuel cards so, yes, there are reasons to provide opportunities for this field of learning provided the tutors are current in their own knowledge and skills. Having said that, I spoke with a Year 13 student a few weeks ago who told me that he took the Computer Course at school as 'chill time' because he knew how to do most of the tasks before he entered secondary school. 

  • Craig Robinson (View all users posts) 22 May 2013 5:15pm ()

    It is interesting the amount of energy we spend on using/teaching software without actually teaching how to make it. We are an Intermediate school ad have just introduced a specialist programme/course called DigiTech. We are using Scratch, Lego NXT, Sketch Up currently and we are exploring using Codeavengers for HTML coding. We plan to do some electronics using Arduino or Picaxe to bring in a programming component. Students love it.

  • Anne Sturgess (View all users posts) 22 May 2013 5:25pm ()

    But wait, there's more... I just found this site in my inbox: https://www.edsurge.com/n/2013-05-14-what-coding-and-great-wine-have-in-common. Well, it was a link at the bottom of the actual link I found in my inbox which is: https://www.edsurge.com/guide/teaching-kids-to-code


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