Ruben Vereecken

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Ruben Vereecken
Posted over 2 years ago
Should we start teaching children in Primary and/or Secondary School "Coding"?
I like your idea to an extent. People use more than basis arithmetic without realizing it. Moreover, even basic math could get 'unlearned' by many if left unused for so long. Most parts of programming exist of basic mathematical concepts, and thus are rendered meaningless to those with no notion or feeling with these concepts. I'm talking about quite simple things, nothing extravagant. I think math gets people a feeling for these things. Take, for example, a loop. Loops are quite common in programming as things often have to be repeated. This came from summations and other loop constructs in maths. Here's a fun fact: Alan Turing (often called 'father of Computer Science') designed his 'Turing machines' (basis for computers) for mathematicians. They were constructs on paper that, by following a number of steps, would give some result with some input. This enabled mathematicians to automate some laborous work by simply following these simple steps. Math is just too big a part of computer science.
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Ruben Vereecken
Posted over 2 years ago
Should we start teaching children in Primary and/or Secondary School "Coding"?
Coding is about breaking down problems in the subproblems they consist of. This applies to computable problems but can be extended to include pretty much anything, yet still I find it hard to find examples as this happens mostly unconsciously. I guess what taught me most was what is nowadays known as 'Object Oriented Programming'. This means that one can tackle a problem by building blocks (Objects) that only contain information relevant to the problem and then make these blocks interact with eachother. One can easily see that this is a very intuitive approach and is adopted by most people quite naturally. This is basically what our brains do with everything around us: filter out the currently relevant information and apply this somehow. After having built these blocks myself, made them interact, I automatically began to think about my surroundings. Simple things mostly. Let's take a train station for example, as I take the train quite regularly. Trains could be objects, so could the station be and maybe the different railroads. You know there are other stations, which the trains can drive between. Maybe make a train driver an object that knows about it's destinations, etc. Using the approach one automatically builds a model of a train net bottom-up. For especially chaotic minds as mine this can be a blessing and helps understanding; where you don't know how something functions you insert a building block that you know interacts with it's surroundings in some way and using this approach maybe even deduce what it should be or how it might work. This exposition might seem a bit vague but it was actually astoundingly hard to think about the way I think almost naturally now.
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Ruben Vereecken
Posted over 2 years ago
Should we start teaching children in Primary and/or Secondary School "Coding"?
I'm an avid programmer myself so it may be that I can't speak for everyone but learning to code actually teaches people problem solving techniques and creates a wider understanding for a lot of things. You don't even have to learn anything too difficult to better grasp a lot of things around you, how they work and even why they work like they do. This concerns computer environments mostly, but is not limited to such. The most healthy thing to do seems to peak interests early on in a 'playful' environment. The ones that hunger for more should be given that opportunity while those that are sated with just the basics still learn enough to be of any use, be it only theoretical or insightful.