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Coding: 'suitable for exceptionally dull weirdos'

One of the reasons, why plans to introduce coding for all to the ICT curriculum in England and Wales, is 'stupid' - says Willard Foxton. Our article is here. Comments below!

This topic was created by Drewc .

Sorry, one more thing, "My Telegraph Blogs colleague Jack Rivlin is looking for a developer, and is frustrated because he can’t find one in Shoreditch" - much more a reflection on how much of a sham "Silicon Roundabout" is than a reflection of talent in the UK industry?

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I bet he's found plenty of developers, but his idiotic "I'm gonna be RIIIICH" plan will be ill thought out, with no way of monetizing, require a huge amount of development, for which he is willing to offer only sweat capital.

The funniest offer I got was when one of my cousins suggested that I act as his unpaid system architect and project manager, overseeing and directing a team of indian/chinese outsourced developers who would develop his "travel website". His "site" had no way of monetizing users apart from ads, and would be based around some magical algorithm for determining what you are after, which he hadn't yet come up with.

Er. No thanks.

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Coding's an essential life skill

Sounds unreasonable? Not so much. You can't understand how web pages work without at least a basic comprehension of JavaScript. You can't set up anything more than the most basic web site without PHP or Python. And without understanding some elementary programming principles, you can't do much more in Excel than your daily expenses.

Sure, if burger-flipping - or, apparently, writing clue-deprived op-ed pieces in the Torygraph - is your bag, that won't matter. But here's the thing: we teach our kids chemistry, geography, history, and much more like this. How many of them will become professional chemists, geologists or archaeologists? They're far more likely to end up doing some degree of coding at some point than any of these professions: programming is becoming a life skill. And yet - chemists need to create molecular simulations; geologists model stratigraphy for minerals discovery; archaeologists work with and understand geophysics plots, and process aerial images for suitable sites. If we don't train children to treat programming as a natural go-to skill (pun unintended) for solving problems, we tie one hand behind their back, and put a mitten on the other.

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Re: Coding's an essential life skill

" And without understanding some elementary programming principles, you can't do much more in Excel than your daily expenses."

I can't even do that in Excel. Life doesn't seem to have ground to a halt as a result.

What seems to be being missed in general here is the value of the division and specialisation of labour.

It's simply not necessary for everyone to know how to code (or program for those making the distinction) any more than it is for everyone to know how to mine for scandium or to write Telegraph OpEds.

We only need enough people to have these skills to supply the desires of everyone for those outputs.

I can see the value of people being exposed to all of these opportunities as children but on the strict understanding that those who burst into tears at the very thought of programming (or scandium or the Telegraph) don't have to do it anymore.

" You can't understand how web pages work without at least a basic comprehension of JavaScript. You can't set up anything more than the most basic web site without PHP or Python."

I have entirely no clue at all about any of those things: although I do know that the readership of this site contains many who do and thus I can go off and think about Sc and bemoan having been fired by the Telegraph.

And as to Excel: no, really, how do you do anything at all in that?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Coding's an essential life skill

>>You can't understand how web pages work without at least a basic comprehension of JavaScript.

Last I checked, web pages work perfectly well without Javascript. Just because it adds icing on top does not make it essential to the underlying http request/response model.

>>You can't set up anything more than the most basic web site without PHP or Python.

Really? So PHP and Python are the only languages that are used on web servers? That's news to me. Isn't Node.js written i Javascript? Can't web pages be written in ASP.net? What about JSP pages? What about Cold Fusion? What about Perl? What about [insert your favourite langauge here]?

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Re: Coding's an essential life skill

I don't need to know about JavaScript to use a web page full stop.

As for it not being needed... In this day and age I rather think you do.

.Net has a wonderful toolbox for developers to use to get sites working. And these have a level of JavaScript for things like client side validation, buttons, input masks etc. Try to make something user friendly without using some kind of client side script to make the static html page dynamic.

But still, you can use the site without knowing how it works.

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Re: Coding's an essential life skill

> .Net has a wonderful toolbox for developers to use to get sites working.

That is very deep in the Gravity Well of the Microsoft Dark Star. Stay away, you won't have enough delta-vee to ever get out again. It's for Volksgrenadiere not afraid to give up their soul, not for education.

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Coat

Re: Coding's an essential life skill

@Tim Worstal

" You can't understand how web pages work without at least a basic comprehension of JavaScript. You can't set up anything more than the most basic web site without PHP or Python."

Bah, script kiddies...

All you need is C and FastCGI - Link: fastcgi.com

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Re: Coding's an essential life skill

I think you mis understood me... I was referring to the fact that someone said you need to understand JavaScript to use a web page, and someone else said you don't even need JavaScript to build a full featured site.

I disagree with both statements.

I'm still of the opinion that before they start kids on any programming language they need to start with getting them to think (see my earlier comment).

As to what language to use in Schools? As many as possible! If you are going to be teaching programming then you also also teach them that the language is simply syntax (sure you need to know the underlying framework, but at this level I don't think that is the goal). Teach them to think about the language as a choice of tool for solving the problem they have been given.

When I was first taught programming I went through Pascal, Ansi C, Assembly, some strange uni only language that was a mixture of Pascal and C and Java. Since leaving Uni I've been through Magic, Java, VB, and now code in C#. Who knows what I will be using in the future. I use MS technologies now, but that doesn't mean to say I wouldn't use anything else in the future - and the same goes for the other developers (some are using various other languages in private projects at the moment). To be honest, any type of evangelism for any coding language scares me - Microsoft or not... It means you automatically close out what could be the best solution to your problem.

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Mushroom

That guy doesn't even know what an ID10T error is

I code,

I teach,

I even teach coding, if you must

I actually teach programming, which only needs coding the way a car designer needs to know the best shape for a wheel. Coding is a tool to turn algorithms into programs, or put differently, to turn your thoughts into actions. The real hard work is to crack a problem, to define exactly what must be done to solve it. This is a skill that everybody needs at some level. Turning the result of that analysis into code is comparatively easy (but also teaches a high degree of discipline in execution, which isn't a bad lesson either).

Regarding the idea of being an exceptionally boring weirdo:

I have been called exceptionally loud/weird/funny/smart/tiresome and a whole lot of other things

But never boring, never boring

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Re: That guy doesn't even know what an ID10T error is

"I have been called exceptionally loud/weird/funny/smart/tiresome and a whole lot of other things"

Being an introvert, I fall into the boring weirdo category, however I and my friends can be somewhat more lively with things in our sphere of interest. I've laughed and shared xkcd only to be met with blank stares.

People, note well, we geeks are not boring weirdos at all. We just appear that way because it is US that find YOU boring.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: That guy doesn't even know what an ID10T error is

Not a personal attack (I'm in a similar situation to you) but saying you are an adult who likes comics hardly pushes you in tot he cool category.

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To be fair to the aforementioned cockwomble - lots of computer programmers are dull weirdos (probably including me). Lots of journalists are absolute arsehats. It's even possible that there is some relationship between dull weirdo-ness, or arsehattery, and suitability for a one career or another.

However this seems to have no baring at all on whether or not it's a good idea to to teach kids some simple programming skills. This is self evidently a good idea - most of the kids will enjoy it, some of them will learn a bit about the workings of the tools that will be literally omnipresent throughout their lives, and a small percentage might find they want to take it further and learn some more. Some of those will be dull weirdos. At least they won't be wasting their time blogging for Torygraph

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programming vs coding

"Coding is a niche, mechanical skill, a bit like plumbing or car repair."

Foxton is right, although it's unclear if he's aware how right he is. People should generally learn programming which is similar to thinking, analysing, applying logic and common sense. But the actual coding is really closer to something mechanical as it's possible to create unbelievable skilful code without addressing the problem more effectively than many other solutions. Endless tinkering, self-indulgance, and so on are very common with car repairs as well code monkeys. Or somethings the code doesn't even need to be made at all. A limited exposure to coding is good but it's not the main thing you want the general populace to sink their baby teeth in.

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Re: programming vs coding

Coding and mechanics are perfectly good things to teach to primary school children. Not because they'll learn coding and mechanics (although some will go on to do one or the other) but because the subjects themselves can be used to teach other important life skills like problem solving, logic, critical thinking, and so on.

If Mr. Cockwomble can't see that, then that will all probability be a reflection of his own dullness, not that of computer programmers or mechanics (of which there are a great many dull people, me being amongst the first in the queue).

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Idiot

As I saw someone in the first few posts state that he'd learned to programming using turtle tiles in the 80s. I was in primary school in the 90s and I remember them giving us a robot that you could program (I believe it was based around the 80s turtle game) and see it wizz off everywhere.

Given the state of technology, smart phones, smart TVs, smart Watches, computers... well you get what I'm getting at, I think it would be completely stupid not to know a programming language, even if that language would be something like HTML. Even one language gives you a basic understanding on how stuff functions and allows you to become a little more independent. This guy is obv one of those tards which have to be told to turn his computer on and off, or check that its plugged in.

And yes he might be right, leave us alone and we'll talk to ourselves... just means we have enough intelligence to argue with ourselves, which helps us resolve issues about us.

Teach prisoners how to program, I hope someone digitally robs the guy... (I know there are already criminals out there that can program).

If I saw this man in the street I'd be likely to punch him.

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I might be a dumb coder but I've already figured out how to connect his car to his plumbing system

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What a tit!

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Don't teach a language, teach the logic.

Teach the kids how to think through a problem step by step. How to write this down, so that one of their classmates could undertand it.

Teach them how to create a Nassi-Shneidermann Diagram for example (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nassi%E2%80%93Shneiderman_diagram), and they will have a good building block for any kind of code later on.

Maybee even integrate Lego-technic into the classroom. Build a roboter and programm it to drive in a circle.

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1. If coding were a mechanical skill, it would be done by computers, not humans.

2. Since computer use is so pervasive, and getting more so, a basic understanding of coding could be considered as important as the traditional "3Rs". After all you don't just teach writing to writers, or arithmatic to mathematicians.

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Linux

"I'm all for people to learning to code" -- I'm all for people learning to read what they've written, but, as for everyone needing to learn to code, probably not necessary. Perhaps students could pick and mix modules for their Computing studies and tailor their course to suit their desired career paths, as there are many facets to the subject.

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Willard wasn't he in Eastenders?

What a plonker..

He's confusing education with vocational training.

It's funny how a rounded knowledge of the Humanities, Arts and Sport is regarded as essential to personal development, even though the vast majority of us will never have any vocational use for any of these subjects.

A common misconception in those with poor scientific or technological skills, particularly journalists, is that STEM subjects are not required to navigate daily life, often stated as a proud "I don't do maths".

In both cases it is the associated skills of iteracy, numeracy, logical thought,criticism,appreciation etc. required to understand these subjects that form the basic unit of a rounded education, wrapped in a working knowledge of the world and society you live in..

As for coding being a mechanical skill. Coding is as mechanical as stone masonry, weaving, cooking or any artisan trade, that wonderful combination of a core manual skill plus creative flair, some of which can only be truly appreciated by your peers..

BTW I claim copyright on 'HARTS' as an acronym for Humanities, Arts and Sports subjects.. to run alongside STEM subjects.

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Re: Willard wasn't he in Eastenders?

> BTW I claim copyright on 'HARTS' as an acronym for Humanities, Arts and Sports subjects.. to run

> alongside STEM subjects.

Copyright challenged: This is just an abreviation and lacks originality. Of course you can shut me up by granting me and any of my successors and associates a free worldwide license to do with the term whatever we want ...

> In both cases it is the associated skills of iteracy, numeracy, logical thought,criticism,appreciation etc.

> required to understand these subjects that form the basic unit of a rounded education, wrapped in a

> working knowledge of the world and society you live in..

Agreed. Add to that the right to vote in a democracy and you see that driving the STEM subjects from school is going to result in tears. The voter needs to have at least a basic understanding when he votes on energy supply, environmental issues, infrastructure etc.

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What are we doing leaving comments here?! We should be upvoting any comment with the term "cockwomble" in it over at the telegraph!

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Bwahahahaha.

My meme plan comes to fruition. (JamesH65)

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We should be upvoting any comment with the term "cockwomble" in it over at the telegraph!

Amusing as that would be, going to the article, repeatedly viewing the article, causing more ad impressions on the article page - these are all things which will recommend young Willard's story as an exceptional piece of work to his editor, who will reward him with more work.

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If more people had a grounding in basic code logic, TK-Maxx wouldn't get away with the slogan "Always up to 60% cheaper."

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Don't play the game

Journo writes provocative article to gain eyeballs. This is news?

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maybe economics instead

Mr. Rivlin would benefit more from an economics class that he might take than from any number of programming classes for the youth of Great Britain. Offer more money, Mr. Rivlin, and the problem will take care of itself.

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Devil

As a demolition expert/ tester, I quite like dev corner at the big software conflabs. They give amusing presentations, which reduce the boredom factor, and they don't try to sell me anything, or bore me insane with buzzspeak. They also know how to consume the shmoozables without acting like drunk schoolkids. Weird they may be, but I don't care too much for those glassy-eyed normals anyway.

Our education system is currently churning out halfwits who don't understand the concepts of critical thinking, or causality and the logical processes involved in determining how and why things break.. Sadly, they seem to gravitate to the public sector.

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I have a non-algebraic program for him:

10 take your ill informed self important idiotic opinion

20 shove it up your arse

30 goto 10

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Anonymous Coward

Wow, what a clueless douchebag.

He's right about one thing though, it is a niche skill. Few people can code, of which a small subset can code well. I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of people I've worked with over the years whose code I respect. Perhaps that's down to the sector I'm in.

It's the very opposite of mechanical though. Coding (at least the variety I've been involved with) requires a surprising amount of art if it's not to turn out to be bloated, bug-ridden garbage. Producing elegant code using appropriate technology is what differentiates good coders from bad.

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Don't teach it, just let it be available

Don't bother teaching it. If the young chaps wants to learn it, just make it available. Have some good books.

I started learning on a Commodore PET 2001N, before I was in high school. Nobody taught me a thing, I learned it all from reading books. Yes, books, those things with real paper. That's all that's needed, just the computer and books. The kids that want to learn it will learn it, despite the best efforts made to keep them from it.

Should programming be taught to all students in the general education curricula? No. There's no point to that. It's not a mechanical skill, it does take talent, and being educated in writing software doesn't mean that someone can actually do it. There are ever so many college graduates with a big fancy degree who can't write good code!!

The only thing that should be done is set up computers and let the kids who want to learn have a go at them. "Schooling" is factory teaching, placing people on an assembly line of so-called education. At the end, everybody is supposed to be equal. Sorry, real life and real people aren't like that. Writing software takes a special knack, and that's all there is to it.

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Re: Don't teach it, just let it be available

<There are ever so many college graduates with a big fancy degree who can't write good code!!>

And...

There are ever so many coders with-out a big fancy degree who can't write good code!!

Nor write good documentation either.

Nor produce good specifications from requirements documents.

Nor produce good designs from those specs.

Good code - a rigorous, logical platitude is that.

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Meh

OTOH Some say the best programmers can write equally well structured essays.

Or as one (Japanese) programmer put it "The 1st programming language any programmer needs to be able to write properly is Japanese."

So IDK, maybe a bit better teaching of English first? Perhaps one or two concepts of grammar maybe?

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Re: OTOH Some say the best programmers can write equally well structured essays.

I think that it was Dijkstra who said that mathematical maturity and the ability to express oneself clearly in one's native language were indispensable.

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Unhappy

Re: OTOH Some say the best programmers can write equally well structured essays.

"I think that it was Dijkstra who said that mathematical maturity and the ability to express oneself clearly in one's native language were indispensable."

My quote came from a book called "Peopleware."

But it seems almost no one has ever heard of it.

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Comment from the Cockwomble in question

Hey all,

I am the cockwomble who wrote the original piece. Just wanted to chip into the thread and give you all a bit of explanation. Yes - you're offended, I get it. I deliberately wrote the piece to get a reaction from the developer community, and raise awareness of the way the ICT curriculum is changing to making coding mandatory.

Yes, I use deliberately evocative and provocative language. I called you all "boring weirdos". As commenters have pointed out, as a fan of warhammer 40k, World of Warcraft, not to mention online dating, I'm a weirdo, and yes, I'm boring. If you're neither boring, nor a weirdo, then great. The reason that line was there was to draw people into the article. I knew the general reader would look at it and think "Stereotype, check", and the Dev community would be annoyed. I perhaps underestimated just *how* annoyed or offended... If you were personally offended, then I apologise.

Some people have commented that the article is deliberately written to be trolling clickbait to raise advertising revenue from page views; with only one ad per page, and people (especially developers) less likely to click on a banner ad than to summit Everest, I'm sure you can divine that's not the purpose. Even if it was, how many people go "I'M FURIOUS ABOUT THIS ARTICLE! Ooooh, a new Mazda is out!"? There's no premium on low traffic or high traffic writers at the Telegraph, so it wouldn't benefit me either way.

So why did I include the "boring weirdos" line? The article was intended to be challenging - offensive even - for the sole purpose of getting people to read it and think about whether or not kids should be taught to code. My personal opinion is that the new curriculum (it's here if you want to read it: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/consultation-on-i-the-order-for-replacing-ict-with-computing-and-ii-the-regulations-for-disapplying-aspects-of-the-existing-national-curriculum) is far too ambitious, and teaches the wrong skills. It's more likely to put kids off learning to code than bring them into it. I think it will be hard to train every primary teacher in the country in the two programming languages the curriculum requires.

Some have questioned whether there's really a crisis in ICT and IT teaching, as I claimed. In the last Ofsted figures, a fifth of ICT lessons were seen as poor, and barely half were rated good or better. (Source:http://t.co/MpwuihnZQI). if you're familiar with Ofsted, you'll know teaching has to practically negligent to rate as poor.

Speaking to people in the tech industry, and in University Computer science departments, they tell me they are worried about the people coming through the system. This year, only 4,000 people out of 300,000 took computing at A-level - less than 2%. Most people who go on to study at University are self-taught hobbyists (Source: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/9600921/Computer-programming-who-is-teaching-our-children-to-code.html).

In the background of a fifth of our schools failing their pupils in this area, you have to ask if Gove’s proposals are feasible - especially as they go much further than the current curriculum and require a legion of teachers to be retrained. There's a seeming tension between identifying a problem like this and saying "don't teach our kids to code". However the problem I see is that the current (relatively undemanding) IT curriculum is being badly taught across the board. I just don't see how the new, fantastically ambitious one, can be implemented successfully.

Yes, there are excellent teaching resources like Scratch, that teach the fundamentals in a more interesting and fun way, However, assuming that primary teachers can just make the time to fit learning these to a suitable standard to be able to teach them into their existing workload is arguably, just as insulting as my "boring weirdo" line both to those teachers (I don't know a single primary school teacher who would have the time to do that, and you can guarantee they won't be given any assistance in doing so - when teaching other languages was mooted for primary schools it was decided that teachers would be able to "pick it up to a suitable standard to teach" with a single half-day course) and to people who do programme (that their subject is so simple and uncomplicated that it can be picked up in no time at all, to a standard suitable for teaching, by pretty much anybody).

Yes, coding and programming are useful skills with applications in other areas, but there are only so many hours in the school day. How on earth you can write a coding syllabus that is teachable in multiple ability classrooms all over the UK, that won't be so out of date that what the students are being taught would have absolutely no relevance anyway.

Yes, general programming principles are (largely) transferable between computer languages but please don't underestimate the ability of students to be completely put off. A lot of commentators assume it's easy to transfer a skill (E.g., planning and writing a programme) from one language to another; in fact, for the large majority of the population (and particularly, though not exclusively, young people), that simply is not the case. Equally, while coding can be a good way of teaching skills like critical thinking and problem solving, it's neither the only, nor necessarily the best way of doing so.

So whilst I'm sure there are some students who would be able to benefit from such education, I also know that at least an equally large number would not, would not be interested in the slightest (no matter how the subject is presented), and that getting an already overworked primary school teacher to try and teach a completely unfamiliar subject to a class of 30 comprising both extremes of ability and interest is simply not going to work. At all. And worse, I suspect it will probably be counter-productive, potentially turning off any interest in the subject for some who might otherwise have benefited.

I think the better way to do it is through the existing volunteer architecture, through schemes like Code Club. Indeed, I fear that the excellent volunteer efforts will be choked off if it becomes a compulsory subject - as has happened to some extent with debating since it was included as a mandatory part of citizenship classes.

I considered, but eventually rejected the following paragraph (for reasons of length):

"The teaching skills gap is supposed to be filled by people coming in from industry, volunteering their time to teach teachers and pupils. The success of brilliant schemes like Code Club is held up as an example of how that can happen. However, Code Club is an outlier - there's a big difference between teaching a room full of motivated kids who want to be there, and teaching the average class on a wet Wednesday. Indeed, there's a big difference for the IT professional volunteering their time if they are greeted by an enthusiastic teacher-hobbyist, or a sour faced teaching unions reps in their mid-fifties, who think the whole thing is a Tory plot to take their jobs."

I sort of regret leaving that out - although I'm sure the extra insults to teachers wouldn't have helped my cause.

Several of the Code Club volunteers - notably @tef and @mattbee got in touch and called me out for calling them and their students "boring weirdos" - both wrote excellent pieces about why I'm wrong and a massive tool to boot. However, I honestly wrote the piece because I think what they are doing is infinitely better than what the Government has proposed. @Tef told me Code Club has 500 schools on the waiting list - if you hate me, and the article, and think kids *should* learn to code, and want to push back on the stereotypes I was perpetuating, then the best way of showing that is by signing up with them.

I set out to create a debate around the issue - by challenging what I saw as an orthodoxy around teaching ALL kids to code. I think it's a bad idea - and I made the point in a provocative way. I'm sorry if that fucked you off. I can guarantee more of the Dev community knows about the proposed curriculum after the article than before hand. If I get a @ mentions feed full of hate, and a dozen angry devs join Code Club, job done.

Obviously, I'd prefer not to have my house burned down (as someone threatened last night), but them's the lumps.

Regards, Willard

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Re: Comment from the Cockwomble in question

tl;dr

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Re: Comment from the Cockwomble in question

This might sound surprising to you, but it is actually possible to start a debate and get people to read an article without directly humiliating them. You might actually get somewhere positive by having some respect for your audience and they might be more inclined to have a rational discussion with you.

Yes.

REALLY.

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effectiveness of provocation

Willard, making your point in a provocative way may well be useful in creating a debate, but the debate will almost certainly be distracted, if not completely detoured, by the particular provocation itself. (Compare Femen: they make their point in a provocative way, but how much debate is focused on their point rather than on their provocation?) If you honestly desire to create a debate that will last beyond the shelf life of a newspaper issue, please stick to the boring weirdo method of focusing on relevant subjects, so that discussions will be concentrated on what matters, rather than on what doesn’t.

Sincerely,

Boring Weirdo several timezones west of Tunbridge Wells.

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Re: effectiveness of provocation

Cockwomble.

As other have said - you don't need to insult people to start a debate. That fact that you had to do so means, to me, that your journalistic skills are somewhat lacking.

There are many many people who could take your place if all it takes is a insult here or an insult there. So I would suggest that instead of writing to alienate, write to educate, although I fear that may be beyond you.

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Re: Comment from the Cockwomble in question

Willard, I appreciate your detailed post.

It would be so much easier to hide behind the newspaper and maybe censor comments you don't like.

I have gained more respect for you, throwing yourself to the wolves like this.

You also make some very good points, but as others have pointed out, the insults and stereotypes seemed like trolling - however, your point is noted -- would this Register article even be here otherwise?

Cheers,

Jamie

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Re: Comment from the Cockwomble in question

"This year, only 4,000 people out of 300,000 took computing at A-level - less than 2%."

So only 2% of the school population wasted their time on that particular non-academic subject. I would recommend that the best A levels for Computer science or any other branch of engineering or physics, is 2 maths and one physics. Michael Gove should ensure that schools are able to teach those properly and leave it at that.

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Re: Comment from the Cockwomble in question

> I deliberately wrote the piece to get a reaction from the developer community

The real *knack* of getting the reaction you want from any community is not to be an arrogant twat whose ignorance of the subject in question cannot be measured owing to a world-wide shortage of numbers that big...

Vic.

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Re: Comment from the Cockwomble in question

All kids need to be taught to read and write. They also all need basic maths skills.

I actually think every primary-school child should also be taught the basics of cooking, sewing, first aid, drawing, woodworking, electronics, and coding. All this stuff is very practical and hands-on, fun, and variable to interest. A basis like this in primary would lead to a better serving of STEAM subjects in high school.

And the future really is STEAM. The kind of jobs schools traditionally prepared people for are going fast. Engineers, artists, scientists, etc will be the only real industry left. Coding is used across the STEAM spectrum.

Coding is where literacy was not so long ago. Only the rich and powerful could afford to do it, and the masses were ripped off by churches and governments. (Okay, they're still doing it, but at least we know that now!) Coding should not be allowed to remain with that elite status.

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Re: Comment from the Cockwomble in question

@Tom 38: "tl;dr"

Yes, you'd think a newspaper hack would have learnt how to summarise.

Here's my executive summary of his excuses explanation, paraphrased: "It wasn't click-bait. Honest. I was just being deliberately provocative in order to get people to read my propaganda article."

Erm...

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Pirate

Re: Comment from the Cockwomble in question

Ah, right. So you wanted to generate a debate, and figured doing so by insulting people was the best way?

Given you are a professional writer, I'm *astonished* that no-one has ever told you that cheap insults are lazy writing. But then, looking at the quality of your writing, perhaps I'm not that astonished, after all.

For the record, having been in the industry for thirty years, I'm proud and humbled by just how many extraordinary people I have met who work alongside me keeping the 21st century on track.

GJC

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Re: John 156

>> the best A levels for Computer science or any other branch of engineering or physics, is 2 maths and one physics <<

I strongly disagree. I've been working in software development for over 25 years and I've never needed anything that I was taught in A level maths. To try and restrict software engineers to those that are good at advanced maths is a terrible idea, you would exclude a lot of people who would make good programmers. That's why a specific coding exam would be worthwhile (I'm not saying there is currently such an exam, but it's not 2 maths A levels and one phsyics!)

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Re: Comment from the Cockwomble in question

"However the problem I see is that the current (relatively undemanding) IT curriculum is being badly taught across the board. I just don't see how the new, fantastically ambitious one, can be implemented successfully."

This is spot-on. It's not so much a matter of "what's the ideal?" as "what's achievable?". i'm all for setting high standards and targets, but without overreaching.

Also as an aside, I think that changing the curriculum as an answer to the current curriculum being poorly implemented is a very "governmental-style" solution, akin to introducing new laws as a solution to current laws not being enforced.

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