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Programming Is Heading Back To School

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the hook-'em-young dept.

Education 169

the agent man writes "Researchers at the University of Colorado at Boulder are exploring what it takes to systematically get programming back to public schools. They have created a game-design-based curriculum, called Scalable Game Design, using the AgentSheets computational thinking tool. Annual summer institutes train middle school teachers from around the USA to teach their students computational thinking through game design and computational science simulations. What's truly unique about this is that it is not an after-school program; it takes place during regular school courses. Entire school districts are participating with measurable impacts, increasing the participation of women in high school CS courses from 2% six years ago to 38-59% now. Educators would like to be able to ask students, 'Now that you can make Space Invaders, can you also make a science simulation?' To explore this difficult question of transfer, the researchers devised new mechanisms to compute computational thinking. They analyze every game submitted by students to extract computational thinking patterns and to see if students can transfer these skills to creating science simulations."

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To ask the question: (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36443420)

Why?

Programming should be a college-level course, for those who want to go into the field. If a high school wants to offer an AP class, swell. But I just don't see the need to waste nonprofessionals' time by teaching them perishable skills they will not use.

I simply can't explain why an average student needs to know this. Whatever they're taught, unlike English or math, will be obsolete inside a decade. I'd be thrilled if Mom knew that USB ports were pretty much interchangeable (thank you USB 2.0, 3.0, and high-power USB for wrecking that bit of simplicity, BTW). But she's scared to death that if she plugs something in wrong, hardware damage will result (thank you APC for making your "data port" [read: USB] connector the same as Ethernet instead of a USB B jack like God intended). And we're supposed to teach people like this programming? And expect it to stick? Give me a break.

Re:To ask the question: (5, Insightful)

Toksyuryel (1641337) | more than 3 years ago | (#36443460)

Everyone should learn how to program, because knowing how to program gives you total power over your computer. You can only say you truly control your computer when you can use programming to make it do anything you want it to do; otherwise you are at the mercy of software vendors that seek to take that control away from you.

Re:To ask the question: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36443996)

And everyone should learn architecture so that they can design their own buildings, otherwise you are at the mercy of architects who seek to take that control away from you.

Re:To ask the question: (4, Insightful)

Microlith (54737) | more than 3 years ago | (#36444096)

I lose nothing by having someone else build a house to my specifications. Architects don't tell me how I can use my building afterwards, either.

I lose a lot when a company comes along and says I can only do X, Y, and Z with something I bought, especially when they have a vested interest in restricting me.

Re:To ask the question: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36444196)

Your argument does not make any sense. Software developers do not say what you cannot do with your computer. Say you buy a computer with no software, it sits there and does nothing. So you buy software to make it do something. In this case you are choosing to buy (or otherwise acquire) specific software to accomplish some task.

The software is what actually does stuff, the computer is just a component. Software vendors are not stopping you from doing anything, they are providing a product that is capable of certain actions. If the software cannot do what you want, then use other software. Saying everyone should know how to program is just foolish, and is like saying I should know how to butcher a cow so I can have complete control over the type and cut of meat I get.

Should I learn carpentry so I can build chairs and tables to my exact specifications and desire? I mean, if I don't then I cannot fully use this wood that I bought.

Re:To ask the question: (2)

Microlith (54737) | more than 3 years ago | (#36444340)

Software developers do not say what you cannot do with your computer.

Apple does, by locking the device down. Sure you can jailbreak, but they're still telling you what you can do. Microsoft intends to, with the way they're setting up Windows Phone (and I wouldn't be surprised to see that extended into non-desktop versions of Windows 8.)

Say you buy a computer with no software

Show me a smartphone or other similar device you can buy without software.

Saying everyone should know how to program is just foolish, and is like saying I should know how to butcher a cow so I can have complete control over the type and cut of meat I get.

Some might say that knowing how to kill and dress an animal is a good thing, if only to understand where your food comes from.

I think your point falls into the pit of the ridiculous, since computers are so integral to our daily lives that being ignorant of how they work and how to make total use of them is bordering on being a plague as bad as the rampant ignorance in math and financial planning that causes so many problems today.

Re:To ask the question: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36444458)

Apple does, by locking the device down. Sure you can jailbreak, but they're still telling you what you can do. Microsoft intends to, with the way they're setting up Windows Phone (and I wouldn't be surprised to see that extended into non-desktop versions of Windows 8.)

If the device had no software, it would not be able to do anything. By adding software, it can do something. If you cannot add the software you want to a particular device, then that is a limitation of the device, and perhaps you shouldn't purchase it.

I do not think learning programming in High school is going to change what you can do with your iPhone. And I maintain that saying everyone should know programming is ridiculous.

I am not saying you should not know how to USE a computer, but that is a far cry from knowing how to program one. You can drive a car just fine without knowing how to build one (or, as a better analogy, modify the operation of one).

Re:To ask the question: (1)

chrismcb (983081) | more than 3 years ago | (#36445274)

Apple does, by locking the device down.

Since the phone is locked down, even knowing how to program helps. You have to either jail break the phone, or ask Apple for permission to develop your own software.
The OPs argument is invalid. He claims he can hire an architect to build what he wants. Well you can hire a programmer to build what you want as well. It just costs more money.
No, not everyone needs to know how to program. Just like not everyone needs to know how a car's engine works, or how to fix it. Shoot I took several years of auto mechanics in high school. Rebuilt several engines. AND I am a computer programmer. Yet I doubt I could fix today's modern car.
In today's advanced society you don't need to teach everyone to do everything (it is sort of the definition of civilization that people are able to specialize)
My job as a programmer is to make it easy for people to use a computer so they don't have to also learn to be a programmer.

Re:To ask the question: (2)

marcosdumay (620877) | more than 3 years ago | (#36444990)

If software were just a component, companies wouldn't be doing what the GP complained about. That the GP complaint is real and well documented means that software is not "just" a component.

And computers also aren't "just" another tool. It is the tool of informatics, that is the art that is currently revolutionizing ourselves. Computers are "just" a tool the same way that reading is "just" a skill and critical tought is "just" a capability.

Re:To ask the question: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36444674)

The comparison doesn't seem enlightening. You tell software company you need A, B, C, not X, Y, Z, and if they can't meet your specifications (as in the house example), you go to another software company. What would be different if the house company told you that you could only have a house with X, Y, Z specifications and you didn't like it?

Re:To ask the question: (3, Insightful)

icannotthinkofaname (1480543) | more than 3 years ago | (#36444514)

Everyone should learn how to program, because knowing how to program gives you total power over your computer.

Well, that's a stupid reason to learn programming. Do you also only think as far ahead as the next fiscal quarter? Do you only have plans to do work tomorrow, with no clue as to what your assignment in two days might be? Are you looking further ahead into the future of your living space than just next month's rent/mortgage payment? Or is programming the only thing about which you think in such small and short terms?

Sure, power over a set of hardware is a nice immediate benefit of learning computer programming. But computer programming is so much more than that. Anyone can throw a python script together. Anyone can leak memory like crazy in C. But to wield that control over hardware in a way that accomplishes a useful purpose requires a good deal of ingenuity and (occasionally) a touch of magic.

Teaching school-age children computer programming necessarily also entails teaching them to think differently. It teaches them to break a task down into its constituent steps. It teaches them to know exactly what they are doing and to know that they know exactly what they are doing. These are life skills that are useful to very nearly anybody, even if they don't use it to control their own hardware. The ones who want to learn it will learn to think as they must, and even the ones who memorize it for the exam will have to retain some of the skills that are necessary to write a program that does nothing more than start, do an arithmetic operation, and exit. The ones who do not learn this will simply fail the class.

This ideal is why programming should be taught in schools. There is so much more benefit than just bending a few digital logic gates to your will.

Re:To ask the question: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36445676)

The parent should be modded up. Specifically,
 

Teaching school-age children computer programming necessarily also entails teaching them to think differently. It teaches them to break a task down into its constituent steps. It teaches them to know exactly what they are doing and to know that they know exactly what they are doing. These are life skills that are useful to very nearly anybody, even if they don't use it to control their own hardware. The ones who want to learn it will learn to think as they must, and even the ones who memorize it for the exam will have to retain some of the skills that are necessary to write a program that does nothing more than start, do an arithmetic operation, and exit. The ones who do not learn this will simply fail the class.

is the only valid logical reason for teaching programming in school, and should be more than sufficient justification. Programming should be a full subject taught in every grade K-12.

Re:To ask the question: (2)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 3 years ago | (#36444792)

Yes, except they should be taught programming as it applies to them, not game programming. Start off with teaching them how to use Excel and basic functions (sum, avg) and move on to some VB Script. Then move on to Access, and some database design with SQL and VB Script. You could then take the same skills and expand on them as needing, moving outside the office suite, making your own GUI. Just think about how much more productive the office would be if everybody understood a little basic computer programming. People could use these skills at home too.

Re:To ask the question: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36445160)

Yes, except they should be taught programming as it applies to them, not game programming. Start off with teaching them how to use Excel and basic functions (sum, avg) and move on to some VB Script. Then move on to Access, and some database design with SQL and VB Script. You could then take the same skills and expand on them as needing, moving outside the office suite, making your own GUI. Just think about how much more productive the office would be if everybody understood a little basic computer programming. People could use these skills at home too.

I don't agree. Making games is so much more interesting to highschoolers than diving right into database design and all that dry stuff. I've taught students who've just came out of high school, and only after working on a game project together did they connect with the material. The cool thing is that games are much more interesting to the novice to start with, games can be as large as you want them to be and they still teach so many of the fundamental skills, as well as require the same kind of shift in thinking (thinking like an engineer if you will, breaking down problems into their smaller parts). If a student then wants to learn more about databases and these things they will have a good foundation to go from.

Re:To ask the question: (2)

chrismcb (983081) | more than 3 years ago | (#36445286)

I am pretty sure games apply to teenagers a LOT more then Excel and basic functions do.
This isn't about teaching them how to do something. It is about getting them excited to want to do it.

Re:To ask the question: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36445296)

If you show someone how to make a database, great... they know how to make a database. Boring - and also fairly useless unless you build an application around it.

If you show them how to make a game, they have to learn any number of different tricks and the result is something that actually works. And you can even include a database if you want (e.g. your rooms and enemies are randomly generated on-the-fly? great, let's try improving that by creating a complete map instead and storing it in some sort of simple database).

Re:To ask the question: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36445524)

As a counter point to this realise that eventually some of these people will end up as PHB types possessing enough knowledge to hack together an Excel document which then becomes mission critical and breaks and you (being the tech savvy one) gets to fix it. Think hardcoded variables and spaghetti code with all the trimmings. Joy.

Re:To ask the question: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36445856)

Yes, except they should be taught programming as it applies to perpetuating the MS monopoly, not game programming. Start off with teaching them how to use Microsoft(TM) Excel(TM) and basic functions (sum, avg) and move on to some Microsoft VB Script. Then move on to Microsoft Access, and some database design with SQL and Microsoft VB Script. You could then take the same skills and expand on them as needing, moving outside the office suite, making your own GUI. Just think about how much more productive the office would be if everybody understood a little basic computer programming. People could use these skills at home too.

Yeah, that's what we really need to do. Teach our kids how to be the next generation of click 'n' drool MS office drones. Fuck you, buddy.

Re:To ask the question: (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36445618)

"total power"?

Perhaps you mean "total power constrained by time, effort, documentation, infrastructure, etc."?

The reason you're at the mercy of software vendors isn't because you don't know how to program or don't have total control, it's because there simply isn't enough time in the day to bother and/or compete.

Re:To ask the question: (1)

bcrowell (177657) | more than 3 years ago | (#36445916)

Everyone should learn how to program, because knowing how to program gives you total power over your computer. You can only say you truly control your computer when you can use programming to make it do anything you want it to do; otherwise you are at the mercy of software vendors that seek to take that control away from you.

This is completely unrealistic. Many people don't even know how to *use* a computer, or even how to type on a qwerty keyboard.

It's also completely unnecessary. Programming skills have nothing to do with being at the mercy of Evil Software Vendors. When I install ubuntu on a new machine, here is the list of packages I install, all of them open source:

fluxbox fluxconf menu feh numlockx aterm mg bluefish gedit texlive-full tipa ispell tex4ht dvipng ssed inkscape gimp imagemagick pdftk xpdf autotrace potrace gs-common netpbm xscreensaver pax rzip tnef pmount apt-file make flex bison build-essential git-core subversion sox transcode faac faad vorbis-tools alsa-utils festival bplay soundstretch lame perl-tk libterm-readkey-perl libdigest-sha1-perl libdate-calc-perl libclone-perl libterm-readline-gnu-perl md5deep libxml-simple-perl libmail-sendmail-perl libjson-perl libgtk2-perl libunicode-maputf8-perl libpar-packer-perl libyaml-syck-perl python-dev libperl-dev automake g++ gnome-devel libpng12-dev libgc-dev libgtkmm-2.4-dev libgsl0-dev libboost-dev libcurses-perl libxerces-c-dev install libgcrypt11-dev libcurl4-openssl-dev libexpat1-dev apache2 apache2.2-common libdbi-perl libdbd-sqlite3-perl dvd+rw-tools curl xclip recode atop htop ruby eruby ocaml-core emacs23-bin-common pan sqlitebrowser lilypond audacity xmix gtick madplay poc-streamer libstdc++6 yacas clisp konqueror dh-make debhelper fakeroot ltris frozen-bubble liquidwar liquidwar-server moon-lander scummvm gnupg autoconf openjdk-6-jre openjdk-6-jdk gnuplot bittorrent bittorrent-gui

Suppose I had no programming skills -- how would that change this list? Suppose I had the programming skills of Donald Knuth -- how would that change this list? Suppose the authors of some of these programs make changes I don't like, or don't maintain the program as well as I'd like so it causes me hassles, or make changes that break backward compatibility. Wait, you don't have to suppose, because it's already happened in several cases: xpdf, perl-tk, sox, ruby, lilypond. Are you suggesting that because I have some programming skills, these problems aren't problems for me? That in the cases where they made changes I didn't like, I should just maintain my own fork? That in the cases where they did a bad job of maintenance, I should do it for them? That when they break backward compatibility, I should maintain my own fork?

Re:To ask the question: (5, Insightful)

Hatta (162192) | more than 3 years ago | (#36443476)

Learning to program isn't just about learning the language. It's about conceptualizing and problem solving. Those aren't perishable skills.

Re:To ask the question: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36443674)

No.
Fucking.
Shit.

It's not about becoming a computer programmer. It's about having a set of tools (instructions), knowing what exactly each of them does, and determining which ones and in what order they should be used to solve any particular problem.

That said, it's still fair to ask what makes computer programming such an ideal way to learn conceptualization and problem-solving. It does have several things going strongly for it, though: it's very likely that the kids will be (at the very least) using computers for the rest of their lives (if not programming them), and the school library already probably has a number of computers that are adequate to use to teach programming.

Re:To ask the question: (2)

khallow (566160) | more than 3 years ago | (#36443762)

That said, it's still fair to ask what makes computer programming such an ideal way to learn conceptualization and problem-solving.

There are two considerations. First, that some programming skill helps a lot in using spreadsheets. These are ways to monitor a family's finances or plan financial or life goals. Even for an average joe, this is a specialized skill that can pay off for anyone who saves money or makes loan payments.

Second, programming is unusual as being a remarkably cheap and powerful means of building something of value. In other words, programming has a low barrier to entry compared to other crafts. With a few hundred dollar laptop and an internet connection, you can build programs of significant value. You simply don't need that much to get started.

Re:To ask the question: (3, Interesting)

FlyingGuy (989135) | more than 3 years ago | (#36444052)

This year I turned my son's 4th grade class into a computer using nothing but the kids, baskets, 3x5 cards and a white board.

You should have seen their eyes light up when it hit home that a computer is nothing but a machine that follows simple instructions.

After one afternoon the kids were writing their own "programs"

This is an example of 9 and 10 year old's learning problem solving and conceptualization with about $15.00 bucks worth of materials.

Angry Birds is all the rage for 4th graders. After summer vacation and they move onto 5th grade we are going to "write" Angry Birds with the same 15 bucks worth of materials.

Re:To ask the question: (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 3 years ago | (#36445352)

I would like to see that demo. Do you have a youtube video or something?

Re:To ask the question: (1)

SomeKDEUser (1243392) | more than 3 years ago | (#36444904)

Well, this is one thing where I agree with you. I would never have believed it.

No, seriously, programming (and the practical understanding of logic that it comes with) is a basic life skill in the XXI st century.

I think it also makes you understand something very important: trade-offs are required. At some point, you need to decide between exact and fast, or perfect and complete. If only a bit translates to the "real life", this makes for better, more adult, citizens.

Re:To ask the question: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36444434)

Precision of instructions/understanding the power of proper grammar alone would be a huge boon. While diagramming sentences is painful, my generation (tail of X, start of Y) did not really learn proper grammar until taking foreign languages.

Re:To ask the question: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36444048)

Learning to program isn't just about learning the language. It's about conceptualizing and problem solving. Those aren't perishable skills.

Ignoring all the "programmers" I've interviewed and/or worked with who simply cannot design a program, but instead keep throwing code at things until it seems to work, then quit...

That's not where the student spends their time! They spend their time learning the arcana of whatever language is being taught, and this is enough material to completely obscure the conceptualization.

Not everyone's brain works like a Slashdotter's. Most people accomplish tasks by performing a series of steps they were taught in training. These people aren't going to be any good at designing a new procedure, for example, early on, but they will (eventually) be able to refine one. How many introductory programming courses have you had where the task was "here's the code, find the bug"? And yet that's what most programming is.

Re:To ask the question: (1)

chrismcb (983081) | more than 3 years ago | (#36445316)

Not everyone's brain works like a Slashdotter's.

Thank God!

Re:To ask the question: (3, Insightful)

RobDude (1123541) | more than 3 years ago | (#36444612)

I hear this argument a lot. X isn't just about X, it's about all this other stuff that it sorta kinda addresses too.

I think the question really needs to become, 'Does X teach other important stuff *better* than all of these other things we could cover?' I'm sure there are Shop teachers that would argue building a bird house or fixing a car teaches problem solving.

You can learn a lot playing Monopoly or Checkers or Chess or Dungeons and Dragons or watching TV or studying math or programming or working in a factory. I'm not sure that programming really does a better job of teaching 'problem solving' than many other things. Procedural programming, particularly at an introductory level, doesn't seem like it would do a good job. Algorithmic programming, sure, but to get to that point you need to cover the basics and then, most of the time, I think you could have the same educational experience focusing on the problem and math to solve it.

Re:To ask the question: (1)

jhoegl (638955) | more than 3 years ago | (#36443480)

Agreed,
If they wanted to focus on programming, there are two "basic" options... HTML with JavaScript and/or Visual Basic (HA, just kidding). I mean Access type databases (AP course for sure, not because of the easy programming and scripting, but because of the database concept).

Re:To ask the question: (3, Informative)

loufoque (1400831) | more than 3 years ago | (#36443510)

You seem to have a completely distorted idea of what programming is.
It has nothing to do with knowing the different kinds of USB plugs. It's knowing how to describe a calculation so that it can be automated by a machine.

It's essentially applied math.

Re:To ask the question: (2)

slimjim8094 (941042) | more than 3 years ago | (#36443990)

It's knowing how to describe a calculation so that it can be automated by a machine.

I'd go further. It's about understanding your problem well enough to figure out how to *always solve it*.

My example is Sudoku, mostly because a solver is the first nontrivial program I wrote. You need to understand the game on another level, and in an entirely different way, in order to find the answer to (effectively) all of them. "I know how to solve Sudoku puzzles" is not the same, and not nearly as powerful, as "I can solve *every* Sudoku puzzle". Making that leap from the specific to the general is what's important for people to be able to do.

Re:To ask the question: (1)

RussellSHarris (1385323) | more than 3 years ago | (#36444546)

I'd go further. It's about understanding your problem well enough to figure out how to *always solve it*.

That's well and good - if the problem is solvable. Some problems are not. In that case it might be understanding it well enough to figure out that it IS unsolvable. And in some cases you can't even efficiently determine whether or not the problem is solvable.

--
I find your sig to be amusingly pertinent.

Re:To ask the question: (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 3 years ago | (#36444528)

If you want to go into higher computer science and such then yes it's very much applied math, but the basics of it is not. For example, understanding program flow, basic object management (how do we copy/move/reference information), loading and saving information, network communication and that sort of thing. I'm fairly sure you could teach a lot of practical programming without ever going far beyond primary school math. You could at least make it to basic business app level, connect to a database, select a record, process it in some way, update it back. Append records, delete records, essentially the online equivalent of a filing cabinet. If you can make dialogs that look decent for input, pipe to reports that look decent for output... math? Not really.

It's all about logic and structure, That also tends to help you understand math, but it's not math that makes you able to program. Typically it's not the O(n) of the algorithm, it's that you're doing it wrong. Like for example I've rewritten some really horrid SQL, I'm sure both Microsoft and Oracle has put tons of work in optimizing microseconds off the execution time but when you write a crappy query that'll take an hour instead of a minute it's really all for naught. Maybe if you work for Google or anything else with a kazillion records you really have to think new but otherwise if the basic sort operation is killing you then you're doing it wrong. Thousands of objects in memory or a million rows in a database is now light load for a computer. Nothing you do with so little data should really be straining your performance.

Re:To ask the question: (1)

mario_grgic (515333) | more than 3 years ago | (#36444604)

This is a useful way to think of computing if you are a computer scientist or a mathematician. Most people however would be completely baffled if you asked them to give you a (informal) definition of computation. Most people would rarely mention something like finite state machines where computation is essentially "changing a state if you encounter a symbol", or even computation as symbol manipulation. Most have a rather narrow definition of computation as arithmetic, and would not recognize physical processes as computation.

So expecting people to understand programming as collapsing the uncertainty of natural language to precise formal language description that is realized as symbol manipulator (i.e. a computer executing a program) is a bit too much.

And this is probably not a useful way to think or to release the creative juices, since even most programmers don't view programming as such. Perhaps to some programmers, the process of programming is all about encoding/describing your problem solution discovery (i.e. knowledge) in a formal language, but there are others who don't think that way at all, and who concentrate more on different aspects of programming, esp. user experience, and human-machine interaction issues.

Re:To ask the question: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36443532)

We offer other vocational training (automotive maintenance, cosmetology, house construction), why is programming any different?

Re:To ask the question: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36444284)

You'll also note that nearly all of those vocations you mentioned are *not* taught in middle school. If you want to learn to work on cars, be an electrician, plumber, or whatever else, you can do it later-on. School should be for teaching core skills and concepts, not specialized vocations.

Re:To ask the question: (2)

MozeeToby (1163751) | more than 3 years ago | (#36443592)

The same reason the average persons should know that a toaster works by running current through some wire coils to heat up the bread. The same reason people should know how to do basic math without a calculator. Basic programming skills simply don't go out of date. Put a 70 year old FORTRAN programmer who's willing to learn in front of any modern language and they could be up to date in a matter of weeks. Knowing how your computer works, hell, just knowing that it isn't a magical box that is impossible to understand is a huge, huge deal.

High school should be about turning every kid into a little Renaissance Man, familiar with as many subjects as possible but experts in none. They don't have to know coming into graduation what they want to do with the rest of their life, but they should know where to start looking. That means a good base in all the essentials of modern society: language skills, math, science, computers, and yes, they should have some experience doing manual labor as well. At least then if they choose to enter the work force they'll know what they're getting themselves into.

Re:To ask the question: (1)

bored (40072) | more than 3 years ago | (#36445706)

That means a good base in all the essentials of modern society: language skills, math, science, computers, and yes, they should have some experience doing manual labor as well. At least then if they choose to enter the work force they'll know what they're getting themselves into.

Well that is the intent, but good luck finding an electronics class, car repair, shop, or any number of other real life classes in a modern HS. Much less a proper economics, statistics, etc class. It is all reading,ritting and rithmatic. With a little foreign language, history and science thrown in. Whats left, one or two electives and a few odd classes.

There are many things wrong with HS educations, but the push to smaller HS's (to increase graduation rates) also means that its harder to fill a AP calc class much less an AP comp-sci class. It seems to me that the only solutions are to radical to even be considered as possible alternatives with the current climate of cram-test-cram-test. You would think that all this focus on math/reading/etc would have boosted our international ranking on math, but it doesn't appear to have even done that.

I'm going to have a daughter in this mess in a few years, and I don't really know what to do about it. A friend of mine has concluded the only solutions is to use the school as a social club, and do all the teaching himself at night and on weekends. Frankly, it seems to be working pretty well. The off the cuff teaching at the park, in the car, etc has put his daughter way ahead of her classmates. It really makes you wonder what exactly the schools are doing.

Re:To ask the question: (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#36443682)

In elementary school I had a friend from South Korea, he came here for fourth grade, and he had already had some schooling in Basic. Granted that's a God awful language to start with, but he wasn't that smart, comparatively speaking, but it's something that was available to him in elementary school.

Re:To ask the question: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36444162)

Here in Pennsylvania I was doing BASIC and Logo in elementary school too. Hell by fourth or fifth grade I was moving on to C variants in my free time. Was probably doing some BASIC coding, in school, around 2nd grade. It wasn't something that _everyone_ did, but it was certainly available. More kids were doing Logo than BASIC though...for fairly obvious reasons I think.

Oh, and for a reference of when this was, I'm currently a college senior. So 4th grade for me would have been...around 1999. Main reason this wasn't something everyone did, I think, was because our main computer lab for the school was still using Apple IIs. So most of this was being done on the limited classroom PCs (1-3 in most rooms).

Re:To ask the question: (2)

khallow (566160) | more than 3 years ago | (#36443694)

But I just don't see the need to waste nonprofessionals' time by teaching them perishable skills they will not use.

As Hatta noted [slashdot.org] , these "perishable skills" include conceptualizing and problem solving.

I simply can't explain why an average student needs to know this.

Perhaps that is a symptom of how you view knowledge? Everything nontrivial we learn or do has some application outside the narrow confines of the knowledge or activity in question.

I'd be thrilled if Mom knew that USB ports were pretty much interchangeable (thank you USB 2.0, 3.0, and high-power USB for wrecking that bit of simplicity, BTW). But she's scared to death that if she plugs something in wrong, hardware damage will result (thank you APC for making your "data port" [read: USB] connector the same as Ethernet instead of a USB B jack like God intended). And we're supposed to teach people like this programming? And expect it to stick? Give me a break.

The obvious benefit is that if you succeed in this teaching, then they won't be "people like this." The number one lesson of technology is that you have to try stuff in order to learn how it works. Once you learn that, you might still be a technophobe in abstract, but you'll be a lot less scared of your routine, personal technology and more willing to try stuff out.

Re:To ask the question: (1)

misexistentialist (1537887) | more than 3 years ago | (#36444120)

Your mom is in high school? I can see why you'd be jaded with life already if you are reading slashdot at age 4.

Re:To ask the question: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36444280)

Actually, he's 12 and his mom is twice his age.

Re:To ask the question: (2)

DMFNR (1986182) | more than 3 years ago | (#36444246)

By your logic gym class should be an optional college course only for students who want to become professional athletes, shop class only for those who want to become carpenters, and Home Economics only for those who choose to become stay at home moms. The point of high school is to expose a student to a wide range of studies so maybe they can find their niche in life. How is a student going to know whether he's interested in computer programming as a career unless he's been exposed to it sometime previously. A kid who's family doesn't own a computer might become fascinated by the subject after being exposed to it in school and maybe he'll actually learn a useful skill other than how to take a bong rip and shotgun a beer.
 

Re:To ask the question: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36445764)

By your logic gym class should be an optional college course only for students who want to become professional athletes,

It should be. Physical education/health yes, but sports have no place in public education. None whatsoever.

Re:To ask the question: (2)

Alien Being (18488) | more than 3 years ago | (#36444286)

One in a million people need understand machine language.

One i one a thousand need to understand a high level language.

One in ten need to understand Excel macros.

Everyone needs to have some understanding of how computers "think".

One in ten get by with no knowledge.

One in a thousand pay someone to look after all their computing needs.

One in a million control the programs.

One in a ten million control the architecture.

Programming was a high-school level course as far back as the 1970s and, for many, it was at least as valuable as metal shop.

Re:To ask the question: (2)

VortexCortex (1117377) | more than 3 years ago | (#36444302)

Why?

Programming should be a college-level course, for those who want to go into the field.

Negative. I flipped an Apple IIe disk upside down on accident and began coding at the age of 8, in elementary school. Teacher was smart enough to find me a couple books on BASIC, and fortunately my step-father had a home computer -- MS DOS came with MS Quick BASIC, and a few simple games. Taking apart video games such as NIBBLES.BAS and GORILLAS.BAS jump started my programming career.

For Christmas I got an expensive Borland C complier (on 24 5.25" floppies) -- I was selling software (shareware) by the time I was 12 (2D Doom CAD programs -- SuperVGA! -- Level & Savegame editors). Wrote my own BBS software and ran it from 3 phone lines. PUT MYSELF THROUGH COLLEGE WITHOUT LOANS.

You, sir, sicken me. GTFO my Internet.

Re:To ask the question: (2)

RobDude (1123541) | more than 3 years ago | (#36444666)

I'm not really sure if it's fair to assume other people would have your experience.

I'm sure there is some rich, successful business man who has many millions of dollars who started his first lawn care business when he was 8. That doesn't mean the key to future generation's financial success is to make them all cut grass all day. There are plenty of entrepreneurial types who do what you've done, in other areas than computer software. And there are lots of people who study computer science and never make anything worth having.

There are plenty of people who never had to work a single day in their life because of their ability to play football or basketball. That doesn't mean we should emphasis sports in elementary school. There is only so much we can teach in schools if we add something we have to lose something. If we have 'x' hours in the day which material will be the most beneficial for the most students. Maybe CS should be included. Maybe it shouldn't be.

Re:To ask the question: (1)

the agent man (784483) | more than 3 years ago | (#36444422)

While programming is part of the picture the more general goal is to teach computational thinking. The skills acquired when designing games or building computational science simulations have little to do with current high school level AP CS course offerings. The real idea is to provide general 21 Century computing skills relevant to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) including: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Computational_science#Related_fields [wikipedia.org]

Re:To ask the question: (1)

syousef (465911) | more than 3 years ago | (#36444440)

Why?

. Whatever they're taught, unlike English or math, will be obsolete inside a decade. I'd be thrilled if Mom knew that USB ports were pretty much interchangeable

1. I hope your mom is out of middle school. She belongs to a different generation which did deal with equipment that broke easily if you experimented without knowing what you're doing. She is not the intended audience.

2. General programming and logic skills are no different to math and English. The underlying language with it's syntax and semantics may change, but the basic concepts of logical operators, iteration, conditional statements etc. apply to all procedural and object-oriented languages. Being able to follow through a logical set of steps is useful in just about any endeavor and profession - from baking a cake, to woodwork, to gardening to any trade or profession I can think of. Desk checking your code may not be quite the same as following a recipe but the ideas and discipline required are similar and that skill does transfer. Computing is a great way to get kids thinking about such things.

Re:To ask the question: (1)

grumbel (592662) | more than 3 years ago | (#36445016)

I simply can't explain why an average student needs to know this. Whatever they're taught, unlike English or math, will be obsolete inside a decade.

The fundamentals of programming a computer have essentially not changed at all in quite a few decades. The only real difference between now and 30 years ago is that today you have more memory and CPU to waste and languages that do a bit of the stuff automatically that you used to manage manual. The core programming concepts are essentially the same.

Re:To ask the question: (1)

crank-a-doodle (1973286) | more than 3 years ago | (#36445114)

exactly! it's the same as saying let's teach everyone about internal combustion engines since they are used in everyday life!

Re:To ask the question: (1)

izomiac (815208) | more than 3 years ago | (#36445432)

There are three main reasons why kids ought to be taught some simple programming. First, computers are part of everyday life and one should have a rough idea of how everyday tools work. Second, it teaches a person how to think in an exceedingly logical and literal manner, which can be useful outside of the computer. Third, it teaches people that computers are very good at doing mindless, repetitive work very quickly (e.g. learning to use mail merge VS spending three weeks writing 1,700 letters).

Let them.. (1)

intellitech (1912116) | more than 3 years ago | (#36443452)

Let K-5 and non-math-geniuses from 6-8 bring graphing calculators to school. Parents shouldn't care, since most kids will need one for later math classes anyway. The only people that would be bothered by this would be the teachers. Me and my friends would always play BASIC and ASM games on these devices during our free time in 7th grade algrebra. Later on, I eventually started reverse engineering games like phoenix, and, the amusingly-named, "pimp wars." It was good fun, and got me interested, which is really all you need these days.

Primary Point: Get kids interested, one way or another, and give them somebody/somewhere to direct their questions to.

Re:Let them.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36443548)

And, he is in no way advocating games like "pimp wars." Those games have naughty words, and give catholic kids nightmares.

Re:Let them.. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36443884)

...and who's going to be paying for that? The kids who can afford graphing calculators aren't the ones who need help here.

Hell, I'm a comp sci major, from a somewhat wealthy family, and I never owned a graphing calculator...nor has anybody I know. Sure, we used them in highschool...but we borrowed them from the school. Those things are _way_ overpriced, and far too expensive to expect even that even a miniscule percentage of kids would be bringing their own to school, even if it was encouraged. What the hell kind of parent is going to buy their K-5 kid a $100+ _calculator_???

Re:Let them.. (2)

im_thatoneguy (819432) | more than 3 years ago | (#36443890)

I had a friend in highschool who played "Drug wars" on his palm pilot. One day his mom was snooping on the palm pilot and found an itemized list of drugs, payments received, payments pending etc...

Confusion and hilarity ensued.

What about automechanics? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36443466)

Back 40 or 50 years ago working on cars was very popular and all school-age boys were building hot rods in their garage. There is less interest in building hot rods because it's harder to invent something in your garage which has not been done before without a team of people helping you. The same could be said with computers and programming.

Re:What about automechanics? (1)

Anonymus (2267354) | more than 3 years ago | (#36443570)

That's exactly the reason I went into programming. As a developer, it's possible for me to single-handedly create something revolutionary. Not just that, but I can do it with minimal resources, anywhere in the world. I may not ever do it, but at least it's possible. If I had gone into, for example, some sort of medical research, I would need to spend years working my way up through research positions, assuming it's even possible to find the positions anyway, and I'd be greatly limited by lab equipment supplied by employers, working as a small part of a team, etc. Not that there's anything wrong with that at all. In fact, I'd say it's better, and that's how most things are accomplished. It just wasn't for me.

Re:What about automechanics? (1)

slimjim8094 (941042) | more than 3 years ago | (#36444066)

Unfortunately, and ironically, computers are too prevalent in cars to really be able to do that nowadays. I knew two kids in HS a couple years back that were building hotrods, but they were building the same hotrods you were talking about - '70s Corvettes and GTOs and things. Modern cars are really too complex to take apart and fiddle with, unfortunately.

Re:What about automechanics? (1)

russotto (537200) | more than 3 years ago | (#36445500)

Unfortunately, and ironically, computers are too prevalent in cars to really be able to do that nowadays. I knew two kids in HS a couple years back that were building hotrods, but they were building the same hotrods you were talking about - '70s Corvettes and GTOs and things. Modern cars are really too complex to take apart and fiddle with, unfortunately.

It's not really the computers are the problem; you can get replacement engine computers that can be programmed to change the timing and fuel injection if you care to. It's that there's so much less untapped potential in modern cars. Car makers don't make cars with basically powerful engines but with crappy exhaust, strangled intake, very mild cams, etc. Nor is the casting and machining still so sloppy that hand-porting can get you massive gains (still some, just not as much).

Re:What about automechanics? (1)

bored (40072) | more than 3 years ago | (#36445796)

Modern cars are really too complex to take apart and fiddle with, unfortunately.

Bah, total BS. You can do plenty of fiddling on a modern car before you hit the electronics. Modern hot rod kids start by replacing headers, injectors, boost valves, etc. The computers all work around that, often to some advantage. Then you start buying alternate fuel/air maps, and other computer mods. There are even open source ECU mods and even open source ECU's. A quick google search like http://www.google.com/search?q=open+source+ECU [google.com] shows a few. The first hit is "RomRaider" which is a totally GUI application for tweaking the maps and doing real time data logging. You don't even need to know how to program. In fact, with a utility like that you don't really need much in the way of specialized tools to start "tuning" your car. A laptop a couple open source programs (ECUflash) and an OBDII cable and your on your way.
Course bricking your only car might suck...

How things have changed (1)

RogueWarrior65 (678876) | more than 3 years ago | (#36443528)

It's funny that back when I was in high school in the early 80s and we were one of the few schools that had a PDP-11/44, an IMSAI 8080, and some TRS-80s, the head of the computer program got all pissy if he saw us writing game programs let alone playing games and now game software is a multi-billion dollar industry.

Re:How things have changed (1)

marcosdumay (620877) | more than 3 years ago | (#36445006)

Multi-billion dollar industry or not, faculty members still get pissy if you use their computers to play games (unless it was the assignment).

A change of mind? (0)

WoollyMittens (1065278) | more than 3 years ago | (#36443602)

Wasn't the consensus to outsource the actual work to China and save the Americans for the difficult work of being middle manager morons and sales cretins?

Catering to the neo-serfs are they ? (3, Insightful)

Ex-MislTech (557759) | more than 3 years ago | (#36443604)

I taught myself BASIC at 13, and Assembler at 14.

I wanted to do it, but little else so college didn't work for me,
so I dropped out.

Later I saw that ti would shift to countries that can pay their
coders less, and US firms went for it a great deal and or
brought them to the US via one of the 73 different Visas.

So while I am glad to see them do something for those
with this desire, it came about 3 decades late for me.

Good Luck to all the neo-serfs under the new world order.

Re:Catering to the neo-serfs are they ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36443634)

Such the optimist ... conspiracy theory much?

DOE & Government is destroying everything. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36443912)

Seriously, both you and I had the same interests in learning BASIC and then Assembler (I was x86), but
then when you see these condemnable educators pushing to unbalance education into these specialized tasks then it will only destroy the economy in ways that other trades and skills will disappear to more fiscally-responsible countries. Who's business is it to demand a child need to know this? What ever happened to learning reading & writing, advanced mathematics, scientific method with minor chemistry and physics knowledge, and then the student persue their interests in thier own competivive leisure of bias from their family heritage?

It's as though government wants to run everyone's lives. It's getting verry pathetic that there are so many idiots that accept every failure in the economy as their own rather than the hard evidence that a government in mistrust is steering them into bad choices to ensure government expansion to supposedly resolve these failures.

I studied all these comuting sciences as an EXTRA-CURRICULAR activity because I learned enough of the basic ingredients of life to persue it, while others actually payed someone to get into my field of expertise: the government gave them the credentials, and despite I gaining the greater scope of knowledge I can't get hired as readily becaus government is intending more secure it's self-preservation by managing the employment process through a tiered system of Degrees.

All is the same with dictatorships: the drug cartels, the warlords, the monopolists, because they are intending to micro-manage everyone to be a fit example of their reign to demand of everyone devotion away from the common good but the image of their oppressors to which all are sedated from ever knowing the responsibility of their choices but to seasonally blame a foreign foe as the causes to invade and expand into those nearby countries.

Re:Catering to the neo-serfs are they ? (1)

Relayman (1068986) | more than 3 years ago | (#36445502)

I was going to put it as teaching this generation's coal miners but you put it better. At least you don't get black lung when you're an unemployed coder.

Re:Catering to the neo-serfs are they ? (1)

xaoslaad (590527) | more than 3 years ago | (#36445738)

Maybe you should go finish school. Tne ability to write proper sentences is usually considered a valuable skill regardless of your profession.

NCLB (1, Informative)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 3 years ago | (#36443628)

From what I've been told, most school districts have ditched whatever programming curriculum they once had because the standardized tests don't include it, so it's a distraction from "teach the test".

Re:NCLB (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#36443720)

You get what you test. You don't get what you don't test. It's a side effect of our deciding that we're way behind the rest of the world in general without actually bothering to do any investigation.

The other aspect of it is that as more stuff gets crammed into the curriculum, something is going to be left out and that thing is always one of the items that's not on the tests.

Re:NCLB (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36443756)

Wait they actually took it out? Damn didnt know that. That makes a lot more sense why there are so few getting into it. You are only going to end up with those who *REALLLLLY* want to do it.

If it hadnt been for my programming classes at that level I would have probably never done it. I never knew it was fun until I was doing it. I would have never even considered it.

Re:NCLB (1)

the agent man (784483) | more than 3 years ago | (#36444094)

Yes, if programming is an isolated activity done only in the computer class then this could be the result. But if one teaches more general notions such as computational thinking in a way that they become relevant to science, math and even art then computing education becomes a literacy relevant to many aspects of education. A crazy dream, you may comment, but for instance one of the school participating in the Scalable Game Design project has become THE US National Middle school of 2011 in part because they have shifted to this new model of integrating computing into their math and science courses very successfully. It can be done!

Ok... (1)

boast (1227952) | more than 3 years ago | (#36443800)

My highschool offered programming as an elective. You either took it because you were interested or you didn't. Are they going to jump straight to openGL?

Java? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36443804)

What the hell is with the java tag? It's using a home rolled graphical language similar to scratch.

Re:Java? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36444328)

What the hell is with the java tag? It's using a home rolled graphical language similar to scratch.

Correction: scratch is similar to AgentSheets (which preceded it by only 10 years) not the other way around!

Why the Java tag? AgentSheet compiles into .class files (one can look at the Java source) and one can write language plugins in Java

teach relational algegra instead (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36443822)

I'd be happy to see an increased emphasis on teaching algorithms and data structures. But I'd be happier if students learned relational algebra. Microsoft Access or similar would be a perfect vehicle for this, not too big, not too small, easy to relate DDL to their input and output representations (i.e. forms and reports). It's not Access or SQL per se that's important, but the relational database concepts which you must learn to use the effectively. I know a bajillion programmers, and almost none of them understand relational databases at all. So they re-invent the wheel badly, or they lean on the object serialization layer of some framework they like to figure everything out for them, and have no idea how to deal with anything the framework doesn't understand. If you know databases, but not programming, you can get real things done. If you know programming but not databases, you can create a big mess in a hurry.

Re:teach relational algegra instead (1)

the agent man (784483) | more than 3 years ago | (#36444378)

The objective of the project is to motivate middle school kids in computer science through game design. Have you stepped into a middle school recently? I think you would hold kid's attention for about 2 minutes with gripping stories of relational data bases.

Re:teach relational algegra instead (1)

layer3switch (783864) | more than 3 years ago | (#36445218)

I think you would hold kid's attention for about 2 minutes with gripping stories of relational data bases.

2 minutes of rapping and dancing to the beat of popular Hit Pop or obscure R&B rhythm, stories of relational databases will be told. Inspired by song and dance of relational databases, we'll all end up with American Idol rejects, crushing their hopes and dreams, forcing them into dire poverty and teaching them the lessons of importance in education. In the end, they will produce children, which is our ultimate goal, computer scientists.

Whoa! (1)

elsurexiste (1758620) | more than 3 years ago | (#36444256)

Until I read this article, I had totally forgotten that a teacher taught me Logo on primary school.

So many memories, like the time I learned to replace words from a text, first we had to write a story with certain highly-uncommon words, and then they would be replaced for their synonyms (hilarity ensued!). And the time I saw an implementation of Battleship and I thought "Gosh, I'll never do that, it's too hard..."!

It was easy to pass (we were six/seven years old after all), but it was my first contact with my current profession. They don't teach programming nowadays, and it's a shame (I'm 24 btw). It teaches you to be organised and to think on the purpose of what you're writing.

Thank you /. for bringing those memories back!

Agent Sheets 3: $99 per licence per kid !?! (2)

leftie (667677) | more than 3 years ago | (#36444312)

My dear old great-grandmother had this saying from the old country. It went something like this..
"$99 bucks per license per kid. Go Fuck Yourself!"

I had a cool great grandmother. Like she said, this is exact reason charter schools and privatization of public schools is nothing but legalization of theft of public property.

Ignorance (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 3 years ago | (#36445732)

"$99 bucks per license per kid. Go Fuck Yourself!"

I wonder then what she would say at the cost of "traditional" textbooks.

Keep it free... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36444646)

I don't understand, why not teach them python and how to run games on google app engine? It's free to host, google would be all over giving them publicity, and if it gets big enough that the kids need to pay for their game then they're likely making money off they're game already.

This will turn off some portion of students (2)

Bruce Perens (3872) | more than 3 years ago | (#36444676)

Had I been presented with an educational program based on games, I would have hated it.

The very first program I wrote did real work that I needed done. All programs that I've written since then have also done real work. In this, I was assisted in this by the fact that I was a communication arts major and could choose my own path in learning computer science without the interference of an instructor. I went on to work at Pixar and to be credited in their films, and to be one of the founders of the Open Source movement in software, etc.

I've never liked games very much, and to be able to do something real with the computer made it much more exciting.

Not everybody learns the same way.

Re:This will turn off some portion of students (1)

koreanbabykilla (305807) | more than 3 years ago | (#36445474)

agreed bruce. no one knows my name, but I enjoy solving real problems also. seems slashdot has gone to shit tho lol. the last few post i bothered to reply to have been yours.

It's how I got started. (1)

darkwing_bmf (178021) | more than 3 years ago | (#36444732)

Making up games in BASIC got me started on the path to a good career.

Does anyone else find this insulting? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36444858)

I would think the youth of today would find the attitude that we have to make games to get kids interested a little narrow and insulting. Especially now with people seeing iPhone and other computer applications directly affecting them. I think a better way to approach this is to encourage students to think about problems that need to be solved, or solved better than they currently are. I think that will make them better motivated.

I'm never really cared for gaming, I was always interested in something more connected with the physical world, I suspect I am not the only one.

Re:Does anyone else find this insulting? (1)

chrismcb (983081) | more than 3 years ago | (#36445386)

I'm never really cared for gaming, I was always interested in something more connected with the physical world, I suspect I am not the only one.

You might not be the only one, but you are in the minority.

Buzzword Alert (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36444920)

Computational thinking. Prepare to be hearing that a lot. For a while. Then, not so much.

Disappointed programmers (1)

cstdenis (1118589) | more than 3 years ago | (#36445060)

There will be a lot of disappointed programmers from this program when they get out into the real world and find 99% of the jobs are building programs to generate TPS reports.

Re:Disappointed programmers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36445530)

I LIKE generating TPS reports you insensitive clod.

Monads in the school (1)

german1981 (985181) | more than 3 years ago | (#36445062)

Many times when I see Haskell or Scala examples using some techniques from category theory I end with the same conclusions: the abstractions used in category theory are very very simple if we compare them with other disciplines, but the lack of exposure to them, and the related way of thinking, makes figure out how to use them very hard. Maybe with initiatives like this, the day comes that we can manage monads with the same ease as we do with simple algebra.

someone watched The Oxford Murders... (1)

layer3switch (783864) | more than 3 years ago | (#36445064)

Kalman will be proud. This is mad, I tell you, MAD!!!

Why? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36445172)

I'm a software developer, and have been for the last 12 years. It is a thankless job. Despite a graduate CS degree and an MBA from Duke, I cannot not be a programmer because the industry wants to hire people with a two week PMP bootcamp degree to run projects they know nothing about, at least in the US. The secret to advancing out of the industry when you're tired of learning some bastard's yet another new Java framework de jour, is to not have been a programmer ever. Otherwise, they'll push you deep under their thumb and never let you out.

Had I to do it over again, I'm not sure I would have wanted the tour in the first place, but if I did, I think I'd rather be a doctor, a lawyer, chemist or farmer. But definitely not another pissed on programmer. But then, maybe I'm a little bitter and biased.

Gamemaker (1)

rubberbando (784342) | more than 3 years ago | (#36445570)

They should consider using Gamemaker [yoyogames.com] instead as it's much more powerful and a lot cheaper (Free for Lite version and $40 for full version versus $120 for AgentSheets)

Re:Gamemaker (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36445956)

AgentSheets is made by the CU professor who's heading the program.

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