Rohit Chatterjee

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Rohit Chatterjee
Posted over 2 years ago
Should we start teaching children in Primary and/or Secondary School "Coding"?
One issue that people have with math is that "there is one answer", and to find it you have to "check your work". And after checking their work five times they turn to the back of the book only to find a different answer. Eventually they start by looking at the back and then attempt to reverse-engineer. My niece has this problem right now. She does a calculation across several steps, none of which give her any idea of whether she is on the right path. At the end of it she may be right or she may be wrong, and the only ways to check are to stare at it or do it again. But programs are interactive! You can step through using a debugger and *watch* the variables getting updated. You can count how many times your for-loop executed, you can pepper your code with print-statements and "see" what's going on. For people who are getting their feet wet, this makes a huge difference. I guess I'm saying that the learning curve is a lot gentler with programming.
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Rohit Chatterjee
Posted over 2 years ago
Should we start teaching children in Primary and/or Secondary School "Coding"?
Sure, but I'm suggesting we don't even teach "math". Logic and precision can be learnt via computer science. We could teach students how to write code to evaluate a quadratic formula, but why bother? Why learn the quadratic formula at all? People gravitate towards what interests them. The people who would end up gravitating toward the quadratic formula would then learn about the geometry of conics and roots of polynomials. To them it would not be "an ugly formula" which they were forced to memorize with no desire to understand it.
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Rohit Chatterjee
Posted over 2 years ago
Should we start teaching children in Primary and/or Secondary School "Coding"?
I liked Hathaway Mann's comment about how it could be more useful than math. I'm not an anti-math person (I actually have a PhD. in the subject), but I do think that a lot of the math taught in school is completely lost on most people, leaving them with bad memories of stuff they "never use in real life". But I wouldn't want to remove the one subject which emphasizes precision, care, discipline and logic. So.. maybe programming should replace math! Math could become an "optional" subject after teaching basic arithmetic. Now there are different types of programming, which would develop different abilities in our kids and teens. I am only weighing in on the "algorithm-oriented" type of programming, other people will have opinions about scripting and other flavors.