Posted by: Suzanne Wheeler
What are your children studying in school? Does the school provide a laptop for each child? Are they getting any programming experience?
This article, Where are all the programmers? from ZDNet.com makes me think about the difference in my education and what children receive today. In primary school I was programming a little triangle on the screen to draw shapes using LOGO. Summer school classes introduced me to BASIC programming. High school vocational programs offered the latest training in computerized graphic design and desktop publishing. What are children exposed to today?
My personal hero, a teacher in rural Arkansas, is navigating through the district-wide implementation of MacBooks for each student from elementary age through the higher grades. All PCs have been removed from the campus. Students are encouraged to make slide show presentations, podcasts, and iMovies as part of their learning. Homework is checked in and out from the teacher’s virtual lock box. Students are able to type notes but all textbooks are left at home even though a classroom set is not available. (Efforts are being made to provide online textbooks when available.) My hero gave a quiz about the previous day’s slide show presentations to evaluate the effectiveness of this new teaching model. The questions were: What was the name of your volcano, where was it located, and what was one of its effects? This was all presented the day before yet most of the students failed the quiz.
No part of this technology program involves teaching students how to program. They have learned how to read information off slide shows, download iTunes, and use MySpace so much the school had to block it. The business/computer department teaches office productivity software use and keyboarding. Where’s LOGO? Why aren’t we teaching visual programming? Can someone help me here?
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