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Programming Education Stats Stats: 507MM LOC, 6.8MM Kids, 2K YouTube Views 123

Posted by timothy
from the infinite-kids-writing-hamlet dept.
theodp writes "On the final day of Computer Science Education Week, the Hour of Code bravado continues. Around 12:30 a.m. Sunday (ET), was boasting that in just 6 days, students of its tutorials have "written" more than 10x the number of lines of code in Microsoft Windows. "Students of the tutorials have written 507,152,775 lines of code. Is this a lot? By comparison, the Microsoft Windows operating system has roughly 50 million lines of code." adds, "In total, 15,481,846 students have participated in the Hour of Code. Of this group, 6,872,757 of them used the tutorials by, and within the tutorial, they've written 507,152,775 lines of code." On YouTube, however, a playlist of the tutorial videos has distinctly lower numbers, with only 2,246 views of the Wrap Up video reported as of this writing. So, any thoughts on why the big disconnect, and how close the stats might reflect reality? does explain that an 'Hour of Code' is not necessarily an 'hour of code' ("Not everybody finishes an Hour of Code tutorial. Some students spend one hour. Some spend 10 minutes. Some spend days. Instead of counting how many students 'finish one hour'; or how much time they spent, this [LOC] is our simplest measure of progress"). So, with millions being spent on efforts to get into the nation's schools — New York and Chicago have already committed their 1.5 million K-12 students — is it important to get a better understanding of what the Hour of Code usage stats actually represent — and what their limitations might be — and not just accept as gospel reports like AllThingsD's 15 Million Students Learned to Program This Week, Thanks to Hour of Code ("every other school family in the U.S. has a child that has done the Hour of Code")?"
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  • Re:Worth it. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by gauauu (649169) on Sunday December 15, 2013 @10:56AM (#45694873)

    Thanks for this reasonable response (if I had mod points, I'd mod you up instead of replying).

    It's true that there's a lot of ridiculous hype and grandstanding about this, but either way, people are getting a chance to be introduced to programming in an interesting way, and possibly learning from it.

    No, those millions of lines of poorly-written "hello world" code aren't going to serve a useful purpose. But that's not the point. The point is that a lot of people engaged, at least to some extent, in learning programming.

    Now it's time for the angry hordes to come tell us why we're wrong and why this is horrible.

  • by xaxa (988988) on Sunday December 15, 2013 @11:56AM (#45695321)

    Is programming an actually useful skill for many people? Maybe. Most are not going to write code professionally.

    Even if they don't, it helps to have an understanding of what a computer program is, and the kinds of problems it might solve. Programming isn't the main function of most people's jobs, but a lot of people work using a computer and would benefit from being more aware of what it can do.

    For example, a colleague was manually reorganising a large set of JPG files based on their filenames. A few "mv" commands could have done 99% of the task in under a minute, but she didn't realise it was possible.

    Someone else needed to do some repetitive change on thousands of rows in an Excel spreadsheet. They spent the whole morning doing it, and then grumbled about it at lunchtime, and how it would probably take another whole day. It took me less than five minutes, and she's since written some macros herself, saving time and processing data in ways she didn't find practical before.

  • by JaredOfEuropa (526365) on Sunday December 15, 2013 @03:10PM (#45696945) Journal
    Doing this manually is prone to errors as well. Quite a bit, actually.

    The one thing that I have found IT depts. around the world to be consistently good at, is saying "no", "we can't", or "you shouldn't".

"If I do not want others to quote me, I do not speak." -- Phil Wayne