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Education Programming

Barbie Will Be Used To Teach Kids To Code (engadget.com) 200

Mattel and Tynker are teaming up to launch seven new Barbie-themed coding lessons this coming summer. "The curriculum, aimed at teaching girls about computer programming, will also expose them to potential careers like becoming a veterinarian, astronaut, or robotics engineer," reports Engadget. "The larger goal is to introduce coding to 10 million kids by 2020." From the report: The Barbie programming curriculum has been designed for beginners grades K and up. It puts learners in career roles alongside Barbie as it introduces concepts gradually. It's not all just Barbie, of course, with a few different initiatives coming in 2018, including a Mattel code-a-thon and teacher outreach program as well as involvement in the Hour of Code in December.

"For close to 75 years, Mattel has taken a visionary approach to advancing play for kids around the world, most recently promoting computer programming and other STEM skills alongside iconic brands like Barbie, Hot Wheels and Monster High," said Tynker's Krishna Vedati in a statement. "We are very excited by this expanded partnership and the ambitious -- but achievable -- goal of teaching 10 million kids to learn to code by 2020 using Mattel brands."

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Barbie Will Be Used To Teach Kids To Code

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  • by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) on Wednesday February 21, 2018 @03:17AM (#56162069) Journal

    The SJWs are out to spoil absolutely everything. I've never heard anything more ridiculous than using Barbie to teach kids to code. Everyone knows that He-Man is the only doll that should ever be used for teaching kids to code. Barbie is only to be used as a companion for He-Man so he can relax a little after a hard day of coding, as God intended.

    [Note: I only use "doll" above in the generic sense, since technically, He-Man is an action figure. Barbie is a doll. And several studies have shown that women lack the upper body strength to code. It's a biological fact. ]

    • Barbie is only to be used as a companion for He-Man so he can relax a little after a hard day of coding, as God intended.

      So they get together and hack together a couple Excel macros to take it easy? I'm good with that.

    • You're having as much fun with that straw man as you claim the geeks are having with He Men dolls.

      Also if geeks like He Men dolls they're probably more interested in having sex with Ken than they are with Barbie.

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      Ahem. Have you forgotten She-Ra, the classic Ms. Male Character counterpart of He-Man? I think she was his sister from another universe or something.

      And to be fair He-Man was the most powerful man in the universe. Technically he exists in the DC comic universe and has been shown to be stronger than even Superman, so no one can code as hard as that guy.

    • Don't be like that, Barbie has a place in the Testing Team!

  • by c6gunner ( 950153 ) on Wednesday February 21, 2018 @03:18AM (#56162075)

    Your demographics are changing ... better bring back the OMG Ponies! theme.

    • Has anyone else noticed that slashdot doesn't work so good these days?

      The site is frequently down - either completely or everything but the nginx reverse proxy. You click on your user page and you don't see the latest comments. It tells you you have messages, you click on them and it says it can't find them. The database is clearly inconsistent.

      It's like the people who knew how to get the abomination of Apache, Perl scripts, MySQL and nginx working again when it fell over have all left.

  • It's not a report. It's an article. A "reporter" may write the article, but unless it's a specially commissioned document and not one of many articles in a periodical publication, it isn't a "report."

    BeauHD and msmash have been hitting the copy-paste just about every story and calling TFA a "report" for the past week or so.
    • It's not a report. It's an article. A "reporter" may write the article, but unless it's a specially commissioned document and not one of many articles in a periodical publication, it isn't a "report."

      Pedantry at its finest. In the colloquial sense, their use of the word "report" is fine.

      OED:

      a spoken or written description of an event or situation, especially one intended for publication or broadcasting in the media:

      QED

  • Next up, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles teach boys how to knit.

  • H1B Barbie (Score:5, Funny)

    by Templer421 ( 4988421 ) on Wednesday February 21, 2018 @03:27AM (#56162107)

    California Barbie has to train H1B Barbie so she can take California Barbies job back to India.

  • Computers will code themselves before your kids have a chance to finish college.
    Hopefully it works out OK for you all, because coders like me will be retired and too burned out to fix the AI once we unleash it onto the world.

    • Computers will code themselves before your kids have a chance to finish college.

      They already do. Back in the 1950s someone invented the idea of an autocoder whch does the coding for you automatically. They became known as compilers.

      There's been an absolute hail of tools for computers to get computers to do more and more of programming over the last 70 years, and with a huge degree of success. It's certainly not retuced the number of programmers.

      AI has so far shown no mechanisms to replace the fundamentally

      • AI has so far shown no mechanisms to replace the fundamentally human part which is to figure out what the human comissioning the code actually wants and turning it into something formal.

        Yep.

        Sure, AI will code for us, sure. But ... we'll need some kind of symbolic language to issue precise instructions to the AI, to encode the logic we actually want to happen.

        Oh, wait ...

    • Yeah, right. There is no evidence of that happening, ever. You read too many press releases. We can barely create functional software to traditional way.
  • how about (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Tsolias ( 2813011 ) on Wednesday February 21, 2018 @03:54AM (#56162165)
    a barbie coal miner? plumber? garbage collector? mechanic? truck driver?
    not good argument?
    how about this: stop raising your children based on your inferiority complexes
    someone might say "Hey stupid, they are teaching kids something useful!" Well, they don't. Programming is a métier. It's the same as plumbing, wood crafting, smithing, e.t.c.. It's like teaching your kid to be an employee. Why don't they make barbie teach kids physics? math? astronomy? chemistry? literature? music? Because there's an inferiority complex and they feel that little girls' whole purpose from now on is to mimic/copy/compete nerd boys who suffer their whole life with their anti-social occupation and habits.
  • by houghi ( 78078 ) on Wednesday February 21, 2018 @04:10AM (#56162195)

    to make more money for Mattell.

    • That's what I was thinking. This is not about coding. It's about Barbie everywhere. This is just subsidized free advertisement.
  • by stair69 ( 680444 ) on Wednesday February 21, 2018 @05:15AM (#56162317)
    https://www.dailydot.com/parse... [dailydot.com] The "Barbie: I can be a computer engineer" book showed her having to ask the boys in her class to code a game for her because she wasn't able to! Not a great message for her fans.
    • I've always found it funny how nothing in the book has actually anything to do with computer engineering.
    • If you replace "computer engineer" with "software engineer", the premise isn't quite as stupid as it seems at first. The software engineer's role is to make high-level technical decisions and tell the programmers what to write. In many companies, though, programmers are given the title "software engineer" and the people doing the high-level engineering are given titles like "software architect".

      In that book, Barbie is the manager or lead engineer and the boys are the programmers. Whether or not Barbie is
      • If you replace "computer engineer" with "software engineer", the premise isn't quite as stupid as it seems at first. The software engineer's role is to make high-level technical decisions and tell the programmers what to write. In many companies, though, programmers are given the title "software engineer" and the people doing the high-level engineering are given titles like "software architect".

        That's a description of a very dysfunctional place to work. Rarely do we see such a dichotomy between a "software engineer" and a "programmer". That might have been the case when programming was more of a cowboy activity. A software engineer is expected to do programming, and we expect the act of programming to follow some basic principles of software engineering, starting at the most junior positions (entry level software engineer or software engineer associate, or intern.)

        More senior positions provide h

        • Damn you slashdot and your markup. https://static01.nyt.com/image... [nyt.com]
        • That's a description of a very dysfunctional place to work. Rarely do we see such a dichotomy between a "software engineer" and a "programmer". That might have been the case when programming was more of a cowboy activity. A software engineer is expected to do programming, and we expect the act of programming to follow some basic principles of software engineering, starting at the most junior positions (entry level software engineer or software engineer associate, or intern.)

          More senior positions provide high level guidance, but the software engineering process is carried out from the grounds up. When this is not the case, shit ensues.

          I thought I had written something about how many companies have the "software engineer" and the "programmer" be the same person, but I guess I removed it while editing. I strongly disagree that having them be separate people makes the team "very dysfunctional". In some companies, every person on the team is both a good software engineer and a good programmer. If that's what your team is like and it works for you, that's great. But having different people that are better at different parts of software develo

  • a decade ago...

    "Math is HARD! Let's go shopping!"

  • Math class is tough!

  • Apparently Mattel still thinks its OK to discriminate and only provide help and support based on gender.

  • i.e. acquiring The Learning Company

  • by holophrastic ( 221104 ) on Wednesday February 21, 2018 @11:18AM (#56163359)

    If you're trying to raise your child to be the next blue-collar peon, then by all means this is how to do it. You can teach "coding", and they'll get paid minimum-wage to "code".

    This is precisely the same as painting. You can teach your child to paint, and they'll be able to paint walls.

    But you can't teach creativity, creative innovation, nor artistic creative innovation -- that means problem solving.

    I don't think that you'll find an experienced programmer, successful and senior and making real money, who isn't mostly self-taught.

    Humans learn problem solving in the only manner than any living thing has ever learned problem solving skills -- by having problems and fighting with them until someone wins.

    If girls don't have the patience, or the dedication, or the motivation, or the self esteem to work a problem alone, until it's gone. . .if a person insists on direct hand-holding (as opposed to documentation or occasional guidance) to work out a solution to a problem affecting them. . .then this ain't a'gonna be their day-job, so to speak. This ain't their forte.

    In the past two weeks, I've watched girls take the "shallow side" of the mountain in slope-style, get lifted in skating, and basically do push-ups from their knees -- a.k.a. "girlie push-ups". I'm no athlete, I sit at a desk 80 hours a week, but when I go to the gym next to the jocks, I play the same game they do. There's a mutual respect in that. When I golf (I don't golf) I play from the same tees as the regular golfers (the ladies tees are in-front of the amateurs, by the way).

    Women don't deserve equal respect for playing a dumbed-down version, just like they wouldn't deserve equal pay for dumbed-down work.

    I've recently been convinced that all of this is engrained into girls at a young age -- that they aren't as good as men, aren't as strong as men, aren't as fast as men. I have no idea if that's true of gladiator men, or hockey playing men, but I promise you that most women are faster and stronger than I am.

    But I wasn't raised by Barbie. I was raised by Mr. Wizard. Maybe the hockey playing men were raised by G.I. Joe?

    I am impressed by Barbie today though. She's come a long way. You wouldn't expect coding from someone who used to think that "math is hard".

    • But you can't teach creativity, creative innovation, nor artistic creative innovation

      What?

    • But you can't teach creativity, creative innovation, nor artistic creative innovation -- that means problem solving.

      Sure you can. It's not learned the same way as math or history but exposure and practice definitely can improve those skills.They are not inherent, immutable, or absolute.

  • I experienced this first hand when my kid was young. The "Doctor" Barbie sets cost more than the McDonald's sets. I didn't really noticed it until it was pointed out to me by one of those SJW type sites, but it's one of those things you can't unsee when you see it. I haven't had to buy Barbie in years though and I wonder if the bad press made them stop doing it. Still annoyed the hell out of me (as did paying $200 for a cheap plastic doll house because I suck at wood work).
  • Numerous recent studies show that in the most gender equal countries, far fewer women pursue careers in science or mathematics. https://www.theatlantic.com/sc... [theatlantic.com] Given the choice, women prefer different things than men. Wow, what a revelation.... Now just waiting for the SJW's to counter this with more pseudoscience.
  • by iamhassi ( 659463 ) on Wednesday February 21, 2018 @01:50PM (#56164555) Journal
    Why this obsession with teaching EVERYONE how to code?
  • I'll believe Mattel is serious when half the 'Barbie' aisle looks like the 'Maker' department at a store like Fry's. Say, Barbie-themed RasPi & Arduino boards, cases, and tools, plus the usual components & accessories.

  • It's easy to laugh at this but I welcome anything from any direction that helps kids get exposed to programming, as I feel like there are probably a lot of people who would enjoy programming but never get a chance to know that.

    However the actual approach they are taking sounds maybe a bit muddled or over-ambitious. It sounds like they are trying to tech kids what a programming career is like, while at the same time introducing "programming concepts"... I'm not sure that sounds fun enough to draw people i

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