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Microsoft Education Programming

Should Microsoft Give Kids Programmable Versions of Office? 226

Posted by samzenpus
from the won't-somebody-please-think-of-the-children? dept.
theodp (442580) writes "Over at Microsoft on the Issues, Microsoft continues to lament the computer programming skills gap of American kids, while simultaneously lobbying for more H-1B visas to fill that gap. Saying that states must do more to 'help students gain critical 21st century skills,' Microsoft credits itself and partner Code.org for getting 30,606,732 students to experience coding through the Hour of Code, claiming that K-12 kids have 'written 1,332,784,839 lines of code' (i.e., dragged-and-dropped puzzle pieces), So, if it's concerned about helping students gain programming skills, shouldn't Microsoft be donating fully-functional desktop versions of MS-Office to schools, which would allow kids to use Visual Basic for Applications (VBA)? While Microsoft's pledge to give 12 million copies of its Office software to schools was heralded by the White House and the press, a review of the 'fine print' at Microsoft suggests it's actually the online VBA-free version of Office 365 Education that the kids will be getting, unless their schools qualify for the Student Advantage program by purchasing Office for the faculty and staff. Since Microsoft supported President Obama's call for kids to 'Don't Just Play on Your Phone, Program It', shouldn't it give kids the chance to program MS-Office, too?"
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Should Microsoft Give Kids Programmable Versions of Office?

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  • "should" (Score:5, Informative)

    by Missing.Matter (1845576) on Monday April 07, 2014 @10:27AM (#46683417)
    There are a lot of articles about what Microsoft "Should" be doing recently. IMO Microsoft is already going above and beyond when it comes to providing students free developer tools: https://www.dreamspark.com/ [dreamspark.com]
  • Re:Microsoft (Score:5, Informative)

    by Missing.Matter (1845576) on Monday April 07, 2014 @10:29AM (#46683437)
    And what is coming out of Facebook that is so "innovative"? Hack? I mean, come on...
  • by Connie_Lingus (317691) on Monday April 07, 2014 @10:29AM (#46683445) Homepage

    ...why do people have the ridiculous assumptions that..

    1. coding is "fun" and it's something kids/adults would just love spending time doing "if we just exposed them to it"

    and

    2, that kids/adults want to spend their lives in semi-constant frustration of having to get these damn computers working and to learn and relearn skills every 4 years?

    my 12yo daughter encapsulated it perfectly a few months ago..

    "dad...you seem really smart...why in the world did you decide to be a programmer and sit behind a computer 10 hours a day instead of doing something cool?"

  • VBA ?!? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Knightman (142928) on Monday April 07, 2014 @10:38AM (#46683563)

    Learning kids to program using VBA is like learning to cycle using a pogo-stick.

  • by erp_consultant (2614861) on Monday April 07, 2014 @10:52AM (#46683717)

    If we want kids better prepared, with the skills that MS claims are lacking, maybe we should spend less money on sports and more money in the classroom?

  • by Missing.Matter (1845576) on Monday April 07, 2014 @11:00AM (#46683797)

    Microsoft does not want kids coding based on what they DO rather than on what they SAY. They used to supply a simple basic interpreter with every copy of MS-DOS that cost nothing and was simple to use. That is long gone and nothing has ever taken its place. If kids want to code now, the options are expensive, complicated, and are not included in the price of 'Windows.'

    Apparently, Slashdotters are truly ignorant about Dreamspark [dreamspark.com], as this is the third time I've had to post it. Let me spell it out for you. From the FAQ:

    What is DreamSpark?
    DreamSpark is a Microsoft Program that supports technical education by providing access to Microsoft software for learning, teaching and research purposes.
    DreamSpark is simple: it's all about giving students Microsoft professional-level developer and designer tools at no cost so that students can chase their dreams and create the next big breakthrough in technology - or just get a head start on their career.
    High schools, vocational and trade schools, community colleges and universities are all eligible to participate in the DreamSpark program. Simply put, any accredited school around the world is eligible.

    Emphasis mine. Here is a sampling of the software available:

    • Visual Studio Professional versions 2008 through 2013
    • Windows Embedded 8.1 Industry Pro
    • Microsoft Expression Studio 4 Ultimate
    • Kinect for Windows SDK
    • XNA Game Studio 4
    • Kodu Game Lab
    • Small Basic
    • Microsoft Mathematics 4
    • Microsoft Robotics Developer Studio
    • etc...

It is wrong always, everywhere and for everyone to believe anything upon insufficient evidence. - W. K. Clifford, British philosopher, circa 1876

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