March 28, 2014

Leave the kids alone

I watch with amusement many hopping on board the learn to code early” bandwagon.

I feel that once you mandate something, the joy of discovering something is gone. What is going to happen is that a large number of teachers (who may not be enthusiastic about programming) will be trained in a hurry and unleashed on kids.

Many of the enthusiastic programmers I have met have come to computing, trying to solve some other problem. They see programming as a tool and are not dogmatic when it comes to programming language or tools.

So what is my solution?

We should encourage spaces where local tech folks, artists, writers and musicians donate some of their time. If a dedicated building is not possible, then perhaps a local school can give some rooms on the weekends. Kids and everyone else in the community who is keen on these things can drop in and learn and teach whatever they are interested in — writing, coding or hardware. Kids must first wander, get curious about the world, and when they develop an interest in something, they should be able to have access to space and mentors. In many places in this world, the answers to some of the local problems are things like creating a community cleanup group. Code is just glue. When someone gets fired up to make something better, we should make sure that we have people they can turn to for guidance and suggestions.


Learning


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