[clug] [OT] Any LA or CLUG reaction to the new ALP Policy

Alex Satrapa grail at goldweb.com.au
Mon May 18 17:00:10 MDT 2015

> On 18 May 2015, at 23:09, George at Clug <Clug at goproject.info> wrote:
>    "Coding in schools" ?, 25 years ago I was speaking to a new
> teacher in the work force who told me that when he was at school the
> idea was to teach all the students how to program in machine code so
> they could be ready for the digital age. He remarked what a stupid
> idea that had been.
> The reality was;
> 1) machine code was rarely used by the time he left school.
> 2) the number of programming jobs that eventuated was highly over
> estimated.

3) The number of jobs where analytical thinking was required was much higher than expected.

People use Excel for problem solving, they need to understand how to design for maintainability, how to debug, and how to protect the program from dodgy inputs.

It doesn’t matter what “programming language” you use, the techniques are still required. It’s basically the scientific method applied to a specific field: Determine what the problem is, devise a possible solution, test that solution, review the results, which alters the definition of the problem.

I’d go further than just teaching programming, and integrate the courses through schools so that there’s a uniting project. One school might be working on solar racing cars, another might try rocketry (e.g.: with solid fuel or room-temperature liquid fuels with relatively low toxicity such as nitric/kerosene), another school might focus on small plot farming, and another might focus on high performance computing and physics simulations.

After all, one of the main concerns of young students through the years has been, “really, when am I ever going to use this knowledge?"

IMHO focussing on “what topics to teach” without thinking about “why to teach them” is a mistake.


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