Not “absolutely nothing”, I just like inserting random lyrics into things 🙂 (this will begin to irritate my supervisors at some point…if it hasn’t already).
However! I am something of a sceptic on this issue. Last year I wrote a few posts on this. With the English Bac now scrapped the position of Computing as a qualification is now up for grabs again, so I thought I’d rehash some of my points from then.
In the first post on coding for kids I wondered what the supposed purpose was – economic, civil engagement/digital citizenship (something John Naughton really emphasises), problem solving capabilities or something else?
This matters because some aims are far more instrumental than others, and require rather different knowledge. In fact, I suggested that philosophy and computing share problem solving as a key issue and a problem with the current curriculum. If that’s the case, then sure emphasise it in computing (or ICT, or whatever) – but emphasise it across the curriculum and assessment regimes!
In my second post, I suggested we should avoid ‘coding for the usual suspects‘ – a view of coding which empowered those who already had power, while doing little for anyone else. Unfortunately as with mathematics, there seems to be a “oh I don’t think like that” or “oh THEY don’t think like that” view which is largely seen as acceptable with respect to computing. This is unfortunate, and to be avoided. Curriculum change is great, and one way to avoid specialised clubs, etc. which not everyone will engage with. I can see the value of this, and I do understand why we need more people who are competent in this area and the value of having a qualificatory pressure on that (which the EBAC provided). However again I’d suggest what we really need is cross-curricula change.
The final post worried about ‘coding for the innately able‘ basically this post followed up on the previous one, but discussed some evidence suggesting that we can split people into those who can, and those who cannot, code. Needless to say, I was pretty critical of this research.
It’s not that I don’t think coding and computing in general are important, and certainly ICT has been problematic (although some people are doing really brilliant things within what can be a very dull subject), but I’m not persuaded by some of the discussion, nor am I convinced it has all been well conceived (or, that the people putting it forward are all on the same page). I also think other subjects are very important, and diversifying and implementing a generally more critical curriculum (including ‘philosophical’ aspects) would be a rather important step, and I’m reluctant to separate out particular subjects as a ‘panacea’ to the wider curricula issues.