pop computing

American schools are teaching our kids how to code all wrong

Idit Harel CEO, Globaloria, May 25, 2016

The light and fluffy version of computer science—which is proliferating as a superficial response to the increased need for coders in the workplace—is a phenomenon I refer to as “pop computing.” While calling all policy makers and education leaders to consider “computer science education for all” is a good thing, the coding culture promoted by Code.org and its library of movie-branded coding apps provide quick experiences of drag-and-drop code entertainment.

playing with coding apps as compared to learning to design an app using code. Building an app takes time and requires multi-dimensional learning contexts, pathways and projects.

Computing and computer science is the equivalent of immersing in a thicker study of music—its origins, influences, aesthetics, applications, theories, composition, techniques, variations and meanings. In other words, the actual foundations and experiences that change an individual’s mindset.

As noted by MIT’s Marvin Minsky and Alan Kay, computational innovation and literacy have much in common with music literacy. Just as would-be musicians become proficient by listening improvising and composing, and not just by playing other people’s compositions, so would-be programmers become proficient by designing prototypes and models that work for solving real problems, doing critical thinking and analysis, and creative collaboration—none of which can be accomplished in one hour of coding. In other words, just as a kid playing Guitar Hero wouldn’t be considered a musician, someone playing with coding apps isn’t exactly a coder or computer scientist.

more on coding in this IMS blog:

http://blog.stcloudstate.edu/ims?s=coding

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