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Programming Education

Excite Kids To Code By Focusing Less On Coding 207

Posted by Soulskill
from the or-by-bribing-them-with-candy dept.
the agent man writes "The Hour of Code event taking place December 9-15 has produced a number of tutorials with the goal to excite 10 millions kids to code. It's really interesting to contrast the different pedagogical approaches behind the roughly 30 tutorials. The University of Colorado's 'Make a 3D Game' tutorial wants to excite kids to code by focusing less on coding. This pedagogy is based on the idea that coding alone, without non-coding creativity, has a hard time attracting kids who are skeptical of computer science, including a high percentage of girls who think 'programming is hard and boring.' Instead, the 'Make a 3D Game' activity has the kids create sharable 3D shapes and 3D worlds in their browsers, which they then want to bring to life — through coding. There is evidence that this strategy works. The article talks about the research exploring how kids get excited through game design, and how they can later leverage coding skills acquired to make science simulations. You can try the activity by yourself or with your kids, if you're curious."
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Excite Kids To Code By Focusing Less On Coding

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  • Since when... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 07, 2013 @09:17PM (#45630013)

    Was programming ever not hard or boring?

    Me thinks some little kiddies are in for a rude awakening when they realize their favourite games are comprised of nothing but hundreds of thousands of lines of "code". The real world doesn't hide C or C++ behind a pretty sugar coated UI. If they're not interested in programming, then they're not interested in programming. I don't understand why there seems to be this excessive push to force programming on younglings these days. It's definitely not for everyone, and the last thing we need right now is more dis-interested programmers who write crummy code because they're just there for the cash.

  • by kervin (64171) on Saturday December 07, 2013 @09:22PM (#45630035) Homepage

    I love to code and have been ever since I owned my first computer, but the kids are right. Programming is hard and boring compared to a lot of things they could be doing. So may we can try to help them understand why this hard and boring task is still worth their time. Instead of try to put lipstick on that particular pig.

  • by ulatekh (775985) on Saturday December 07, 2013 @11:24PM (#45630555) Homepage Journal

    Kids can easily teach themselves to program well? Then why do a grand majority of programmers suck at it completely?

    In my experience, sucky programmers are the way they are because...they didn't learn to program as kids.

    I did, and was shocked when I entered college (late 1980s) to find that the vast majority of my peers in the CS program had never touched a computer before going to college. They majored in CS because they thought they could get a good job and make a whole lot of money. Love for the craft (or any actual aptitude for programming or engineering) was never part of it.

    The next problem is that, when they get out of college and enter the workforce, they bristle at the idea that there's anything else to learn. After all, they went to college, and they know everything. I'll never understand that...I have to learn constantly just to stay relevant. But most industry programmers developed lots of false confidence by bashing around toy problems in college, and try to be just as sloppy and short-sighted in their paid work.

    Finally...because bad code is not a life-or-death thing like bad work in other fields is. Can you imagine chemists as sloppy and incompetent as the average industry computer programmer? They'd either poison themselves, blow themselves up, or dissolve themselves before long. Oh, how I wished I had stayed with chemistry.

  • by mlts (1038732) * on Sunday December 08, 2013 @03:15AM (#45631185)

    When I was running through CS (graduated in 2008), the students knew they would have to fight tooth and nail for positions. They had to be better than the offshore coding houses, and/or the H-1Bs.

    So, a lot of them not just did well in class, but went off on internships, both paid and unpaid, as well as went and got their name on some OSS project.

    The people that went through CS were the die-hards... there were no illusions about getting some cushy ABAP job. Instead the students focused on trying to actually be usable pieces in a dev team puzzle. The people who were not that dedicated switched their majors to general business.

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