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Education Programming United Kingdom

Reading, Writing, Ruby? 292

itwbennett writes "A BBC article outlines a push to make software programming a basic course of study for British schoolchildren in hopes that Britain could become a major programming center for video games and special effects. Can earlier exposure to better technology courses reverse the declining enrollment in university computer science courses and make coding cool?"
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Reading, Writing, Ruby?

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  • Re:Needs Revision. (Score:4, Informative)

    by JoeMerchant ( 803320 ) on Monday November 28, 2011 @11:39PM (#38198486)

    Read the Pi schtick [] - they are all about changing computer instruction into something cool, and getting away from making everybody into electronic secretaries.

  • by Eric Green ( 627 ) on Tuesday November 29, 2011 @01:30AM (#38199184) Homepage

    I am wondering what in the world you are talking about. During the three years I was teaching, a) my highest salary was the munificent sum of $21,800 per year (roughly $40K/year in today's dollars), b) I paid 100% of my health insurance costs (NO district subsidy of the cost), and c) the retirement benefit was 40% of my ginormous salary if I managed to survive 30 years without stroking out, being knifed or shot by one of my students, or being thrown under the bus by a school administrator upset that I cared about whether my students learned or not (and note that I did NOT pay into Social Security and if I had managed to get Social Security via some other job, there's a "double dipper" penalty in the SS formula that would take most of that away from me). In the years since I switched to doing software engineering rather than teaching mathematics I've sometimes worked 60+-hour weeks and multiple all-nighters but never worked anywhere near as hard as I worked as a teacher and get paid more than three times as much money than a teacher. If you paid me the same six-figure salary I make as a senior-level engineer I still wouldn't go back, because the job is thankless, never-ending, and utterly exhausting both physically and intellectually if you're doing it right. My hats off to those teachers who stay on the job and do it well, year after year, because the fools who criticize such teachers have not a clue.

    BTW, once you get above 35 students in a classroom, it becomes simply impossible to manage in a way conducive to learning. Above 35 students learning starts dropping off rapidly, past 40 it's just baby-sitting and make-work. Teachers know this the hard way. The fact that politicians and parents talk about 40+ student classrooms as if that were some reasonable solution to the cost of running public schools tells me that either a) they don't care about education, they just want free babysitting to keep kids off the streets, or b) they're clueless cretins who need to be drummed about the head with a clue stick. That is all.

  • by TheRaven64 ( 641858 ) on Tuesday November 29, 2011 @07:45AM (#38200600) Journal
    The idea that a byte is 8 bits is actually fairly new. A byte is traditionally the smallest directly-accessible block of memory in which bit order is not exposed to the programmer (you care about the order of bytes in a word, but you can't see the order of bits in a byte). I'm aware of systems with a byte size of 4, 6, 8, 12, and 36 bits. The term 'octet' was used to describe groups of 8 bits in a generic context (and is still used in French and in some more formal contexts where the difference between a byte and an octet is actually important). It's only in the last 30 years or so when octet and byte have been equivalent in modern systems that people have started using the terms interchangeably.

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