TED Conversations

This conversation is closed.

Should we teach kids how to make programs instead of how to use them?

For the last two decades, most developed countries have implemented computer literacy education in schools. For students born in the 80s or even the early 90s, this was really important. However, students now no longer need this. They are already computer fluent. They are, as some people say, digital natives. Give them any program and they'll be able to teach themselves to do simple--to-moderate tasks without anyone teaching them in a short while.

Most schools teach students how to first use word processors, presentation programs, and spreadsheets. This is no longer needed for two reasons: 1) students are computer fluent, and 2) programs are getting more user friendly every day. Students don't need to be taught to use the programs they normally use. They should, however, be taught how to use the programs they will later need in life like spreadsheets and databases.
Instead, I think they should be taught programming. Although many schools around the school already teach programming, they teach it usually in highschool or junior high; if they teach it in elementary school, they usually teach a simplified "kids" language which uses drag-and-drop blocks. I think students should start learning programming languages like visual basic and Java in 5th or 6th grade. The first country that does this will have a huge IT revolution.
Kids are creative. Teaching them programming will be giving them the ability to direct this creativity and keep it.

So what do you think?

Written by a 16 year old.


Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • thumb
    Oct 13 2011: :) you are not so small my friend....@16 you are old enough to write programs....but not all kids can keep up with that at 10 and 11 years of age....there are 100s of programs & applications that even i have never used...waiting for the need to arise...so what i'm saying is that explore as much as you can early....later you get enough knowledge to create your own...
    • Oct 13 2011: Of course there are thousands of programs and applications that an average 11 year old has never used. But there are also hundreds of other programs and applications that they have used. It really doesn't make a big difference. They've seen and used different programs. The only way knowing millions programs instead of a hundred is if they already know how to program (you get ideas for codes). Using different programs when they don't know how to program really doesn't make that much of a difference when they already use lots of programs already.

      Some programmers even made great programs back in the 80s, when there were much fewer programs and they were much less familiar with using computers.
      • thumb
        Oct 14 2011: What you say does make sense....i agree with most....the only reason i'm skeptical about writing programs at 10 is that i believe not all kids develop that intelligence to get along with it....try comparing yourself to the dumbest friend/person you may have ever met...and think if he/she would have been able to keep up....i know many of my friends would have failed ....they cant write programs even today at 21....that is a shame...i know...but its a fact...and i'm doing Computer Engineering...i'm talking about my class mates who take my help to write even simplest of programs....

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.