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Microsoft Wants Computer Science Taught In UK Primary Schools 168

Posted by Soulskill
from the reading,-'riting,-and-'rogramming dept.
Qedward writes "As the UK prepares to shake up the way computer science is taught in schools, Redmond is warning that the UK risks falling behind other countries in the race to develop and nurture computing talent, if 'we don't ensure that all children learn about computer science in primary schools.' With 100,000 unfilled IT jobs but only 30,500 computer science graduates in the UK last year, MS believes: 'By formally introducing children to computer science basics at primary school, we stand a far greater chance of increasing the numbers taking the subject through to degree level and ultimately the world of work.'"
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Microsoft Wants Computer Science Taught In UK Primary Schools

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  • by Missing.Matter (1845576) on Wednesday January 30, 2013 @06:01PM (#42743173)
    Logic and information theory. If, and, or, xor, union, intersection, and other set theory are some topics at the very heart of computer science that could easily be boiled down to M&M demonstrations for kindergarteners. I see no reason why a basis for logic and argument should not be planted at a young age.
  • by davecrusoe (861547) on Wednesday January 30, 2013 @06:01PM (#42743175) Homepage

    Readers,

    Before you go knocking Microsoft (ahem: first post), realize that this is really important. Education standards here in the United States are just now being revised (see: the Common Core [commoncore.org]. Math and English Language Arts, and soon, Science, will be released. Most states have, or will, adopt these measures.

    However, by looking through the coming standards, it's clear that while abilities such as critical thinking are addressed, skills and conceptual understanding of the many computational methods that we use daily (as knowledge workers) are left out.

    Computing in the Core [computinginthecore.org] is looking to make a significant change, but my contention is that we need to focus on more than only computing; we also need to focus on the various important literacy skills, including media, information, data, and network literacy. How many people in the United States actually understand basics about how the Internet works, or about how to make sense of, or read, datasets or visualizations? These are all essential and fundamental skills for a 21st century individual.

    Realize that recruiters and many others recognize these needs, and have asked your support - tacit or explicit - to bring expertise to bear in addressing the educational challenge.

    --Dave

  • by cowdung (702933) on Wednesday January 30, 2013 @06:58PM (#42743909)

    Maybe CS is a better way to teach mathematics. I never had any use for math till someone asked me how I could solve certain problems using a computer. Suddenly math became interesting.

    I think one of the big problems with Math is that kids (and most people) don't know where they are going with all these abstract constructs, whereas programming gives you an immediate use for abstractions.

    Also, kids struggle learning basic algorithms like long division but knowing about algorithms and being able to express them with some "language" then maybe they'll have an easier time learning them. Note for example that long division or square roots (or nth roots) are basically modified simple search algorithms.

    Most of what students "memorize" in math is odd algorithms but they fail to understand their purpose or source.. CS can do a lot to make things clearer.

I tell them to turn to the study of mathematics, for it is only there that they might escape the lusts of the flesh. -- Thomas Mann, "The Magic Mountain"

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