We Can Code It

Tasneem Raja, Shut, Jun 22, 2014
Commentary by Stephen Downes

Intelligent and literate article on computer literacy and learning to program. The focus is on encouraging girls and minorities to join the crowd, but the real strength of this article is in the first half where the author describes the sort of literacy enabled by learning to program. It leads off with Boston's adoptahydrant.org, and then lists off some examples of digital literacy: sorting, abstraction, iteration, parallel processing. And it shows the strength of this way of looking at the world: when faced with a problem, the digitally literate can devise a method that solves it, rather than being overwhelmed. And this is what creates advantages for kids who learn to code. "Computational thinking opens doors." Via Doug Belshaw.

Another bit of computational thinking not mentioned in the article is following the links (and, believe me, this is definitely a programming skill, at least for debugging). I followed the adoptahydrant.org link to find several interesting sites: one is Boston Built, which promotes code created in that city (an idea to pass along to my colleagues here in Moncton); another is Code for America, which (again following links) is a whole set of open source civic government applications created by civic volunteers, things like Textizen, a text-based civic participation platform, and many many more. Digging into Doug Belshaw's page I found EduSpam, which I may contribute to, Mozilla Thimble, Remix, and this special link.

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