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Programming Education

More Students Learn CS In 3 Days Than Past 100 Years 287

Posted by Soulskill
from the go-forth-and-write-half-of-a-hangman-clone dept.
theodp writes ", backed by Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg, boasts in a blog post that thanks to this week's Hour of Code, which featured a Blockly tutorial narrated by Gates and Zuckerberg, 'More students have participated in computer science in U.S. schools in the last three days than in the last 100 years.' Taking note of the impressive numbers being put up on the Hour of Code Leaderboards ('12,522,015 students have done the Hour of Code and written 406,022,512 lines of code'), the Seattle Times adds that 'More African American and Hispanic kids learned about the subject in two days than in the entire history of computer science,' and reports that the cities of Chicago and New York have engaged to offer CS classes in their schools. So, isn't it a tad hyperbolic to get so excited over kids programming with blocks? 'Yes, we can all agree that this week's big Hour of Code initiative is a publicity stunt,' writes the Mercury News' Mike Cassidy, 'but you know what? A publicity stunt is exactly what we need.'"
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More Students Learn CS In 3 Days Than Past 100 Years

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 13, 2013 @11:14AM (#45680217)

    I got all the way to college without any interest in CS (1980-ish). My older sister insisted "you need to take a programming class" so I added it to my schedule. 30+ years later I'm still programming.
    Sometimes the most important thing making someone realize "I can DO that?" I like the idea that kids from "educational averse" cultures are being exposed to CS.

  • by necro81 (917438) on Friday December 13, 2013 @01:38PM (#45681953) Journal

    In very real ways programming is becoming ever less accessible to the average person or at least less open to the sorts of spontaneous discovery and experimentation that attract new people into the field. For example, it's difficult now to have the sort of VIC-20, Commodore-64 or Apple II experience that inspired well know programmers like Linus Torvalds and many others to become interested in computing and programming at an early age.

    Bollocks. There are still plenty of ways a person can tinker with general-purpose computing on their home PC, and what novices are able to do blows my mind. You can get free BASIC environments for all major computer platforms out there. There are browser-based IDEs for all kinds of languages. Hell, you can even get emulators for a C-64 or Apple II. Even better: pick up an Arduino for $25 and start coding an embedded system. Want more power, connectivity, and GUIs? Try RaspPI or BeagleBone. What makes the current age awesome for those that want to start learning and tinkering is that, unlike 30 years ago, everything you need - IDEs, libraries, reference docs, user communities, example projects with source code - are just an internet search away, and free.

A penny saved is a penny to squander. -- Ambrose Bierce