Uncommon Sense

May 16, 2014

Incredibly Stupid Questions

Filed under: Education — Steve Ruis @ 12:18 pm
Tags: , ,

Apparently my former profession (education) attracts the dumbest ideas. The latest is clearly defined in an on-line debate in the pages of the N.Y. Times. The debate question was “Should Young Children Learn Coding?”

What a purely idiotic idea. Move it into any other field: should children learn automotive mechanics before being allowed to drive? Should children learn how food is grown before being allowed to eat? Should children learn how to write computer code before being allowed to use computers?

Did we ask students to learn how typewriters work before allowing them to take typing? No, learning how to type comes first.

Dumb, dumb, dumb. A computer is a tool. Craftsmen learn how to use their tools. Later they might be interested in how they work, but that is a different sort of desire, an academic desire, from learning how to use them. The useful learning is in how to use the tool. The work a computer does is far removed from the coding. We tap keys and stuff happens on the screen. Learning what keys cause what to happen in what software package is useful learning. Learning to write code that will be totally useless in ten years is just stupid.

Plus, do you know what a job in computer coding pays? I’ll tell you: squadoosh, squat, zippety doo doo. Most of the coding jobs are low paying because they are tedious and repetitious. The ones who make money are the software designers and the software sales people.

The only thing a child could learn from learning how to code is that we can control what a computer does. I learned that by accidentally kicking the electrical plug out of its socket for a teletype terminal that was rattling off uncontrollably. They all stop when the plug is pulled. That’s real power, real control.

 

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