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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.


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  • Oct 16 2011: what i think is that kids should be taught to use programs rather than teaching them how to make them initially... Say if we have to give a presentation on any topic than its always better to use powerpoint application and make a slideshow containing slides representing our views on the topic than making a different program to design a different powerpoint sort of application and then make a slideshow because it would take a good amount of time to do so..
    Moreover it is necessary to learn using the presently available programs and softwares for making new ones because not all people (lets take an example here) know the meaning of the function of the commands include or include of C programming software or the meaning and functions of the commands DPTR, CJNE of microcontrollers or the meaning of commands of 'N' no. of other such programs and softwares and for developing sometihing new we need to know the advantages and disadvantages of presently available resources and that can be known only if you know how to use them "Efficiently"....
    • Oct 16 2011: BUT THEY ALREADY KNOW HOW TO USE PROGRAMS. I don't know a single 12-18 year old who doesn't know how to make a powerpoint presentation, regardless whether or not he was taught so in school. We're computer fluent. Of course I'm not suggesting that to make a presentation the student will have to program a presentation program. I'm only talking about what they should be taught in computer class in school, which is definitely not powerpoint and word processors.

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