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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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  • Python, etc? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 07, 2014 @10:18AM (#46683333)

    ... and that makes more sense than something like Python?

  • by bradgoodman (964302) on Monday April 07, 2014 @10:19AM (#46683335) Homepage
    Time was - companies like this would give this sort of stuff away to get [younger] people hooked on these technologies. Would Microsoft want to get kids hooked into nice wholesome activities like MS-SQL, C#, .net or VB - or let them pick up stuff like LAMP an Python from their friends on the street.

    Giving the stuff away is a way to groom the next up-and-coming generation into drinking your Kool-Aid. If they don't do this - they have only themselves to blame when the next generation grows up to be FOSS zellots...

  • by JoeyRox (2711699) on Monday April 07, 2014 @10:19AM (#46683337)
    How about we send Microsoft some books on how to design a user interface?
  • Bad figures (Score:4, Insightful)

    by chthon (580889) on Monday April 07, 2014 @10:21AM (#46683355) Homepage Journal

    Yeah, 1,000,000,000 lines of code. And it takes 9 women just 1 month to create 1 baby.

  • by OzPeter (195038) on Monday April 07, 2014 @10:32AM (#46683489)

    ... Would Microsoft want to get kids hooked into nice wholesome activities like MS-SQL, C#, .net or VB -

      If they don't do this - they have only themselves to blame when the next generation grows up to be FOSS zellots...

    Do you mean like all those free versions of Visual Studio and MS-SQL that they have been giving away for years and years?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 07, 2014 @10:33AM (#46683501)
    Yeah, some real choice UIs coming out of the open source world. Let's see what books the Unity and Gnome teams have been reading and send them over to MS.
  • by enigmatic (122657) on Monday April 07, 2014 @10:45AM (#46683637)

    Have you ever spent time writing VBA code?
    Did you enjoy it?

    If we want more people to take up coding, making them do VBA code is a great way to scare everyone away from ever programming again.

  • by dtjohnson (102237) on Monday April 07, 2014 @10:45AM (#46683641)
    ...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.' Moreover, Microsoft distributes sophisticated video games that suck up the time and creative energy of the very kids that would otherwise be likely to code in the first place. One might think that Microsoft would encourage high schools to offer coding curricula by distributing tools to high schools for free/low cost and providing training and guidance for teachers. Instead, Microsoft distributes Office for low cost and we are talking in TFA about what Office can do as a development tool. One has to conclude, based on its actions, that the very last thing Microsoft wants is for a lot of bright american kids to be actually writing powerful creative code for Windows.
  • by Viol8 (599362) on Monday April 07, 2014 @11:07AM (#46683879)

    Unless you were a roadie for Beyonce or Bieber she'd probably say the same about any job you did whether you were a top surgeon or an airline pilot.

You can do more with a kind word and a gun than with just a kind word. - Al Capone

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