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Talk:The Future of Programming - Andy Broomfield

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Hi Andy, I like the piece. I have a similar concern - for me, the most symbolic thing has become that a modern Windows OS discourages you to look at any of the things on your hard drive, because you might find something important there. I'm really interested in how this all relates to the way computers are taught in schools. I don't think there was probably ever a golden age when kids were getting taught proper computer skills - I remember futile exercises in databasing, and exams done on paper with surreal exercises like "write a letter that you might use a Word Processor to write" (if the school could afford enough PCs for you to be using one for this test).

But you've hit something crucial - computer systems where you can't program, mess with settings and so on because you might break something are computer systems where kids won't learn how to really take advantage of technology - all the GUI's in the world haven't changed the fact that sometimes you just need a nice little script! Maybe the question becomes how do we find a balance between powerful primary devices that people, in fairness, don't want to be able to break through a missing semi-colon, and actually letting people learn. I suspect that the answer is encouraging schools/parents to give any kid with an aptitude a cheap linux box to fuck about with, and a reinstallation CD!

Anyway, I guess I'd like the piece even more if it went that little bit further in pointing to your favoured solutions. Currently, you seem to identify a problem and then back up and say 'maybe it isn't actually so bad after all'!


Thanks for the feedback. It's a bit difficult as the Future we deserve pieces need to be quite short. I could go on quite a lot, so it's something I'm revising. What I'm trying to say is that essentially it is about providing an exposure point, in a world where the 'computing' device abstracts everything may be better from a usability point of view, where is the part that the spark of creativity can come from that shows people that actually they can command the computer to do something, just like I could with the commodore 64.

I like the idea of purchasing a Linux box, and it would be great if (uk) IT classes brought in more programing skills rather than concerntraing on learning MS office. Even when I was at school, GCSE IT (96/97) we where learning how to write some code (Pascal I think it was, though we where still learning COBOL). But this was in the transition phase as the next lot behind me where led onto a more 'learn the software route.' I like David Brin idea of buying his kid an old 80's computer to go through the excercises in Basic. Learning first principles of coding.

What i'm trying to get accross is what is that, given that device centric platforms are increasingly being locked down, where expousre points now, that will show people that it is possible to tell the computer to do something and spark the creativity that they too can do so. I think that online, this bastion of freedom is more pronounced, and that even now web code is still exposed. Is promting these exposure points as routes in to inspire the next generation to look for the tools. And once they can manipulate the web, they can work out how to manipulate their own computer?

Or maybe what I need to propose is a more general, give us our dev tools back. Or ways of exposing the underpinnings. It reminds me of the early days when I was first getting to know the Commodore 64 and realising that I could change the text in several programs by editing the print statements. It is those little things that sparked a form a curiosity to learn what else it could do.

It's something I have to have more of a thing about to put into words, with only a day or so left.... Andybroomfield 02:01, 14 September 2010 (UTC) andyB

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minor editing of typos & phrasing by catlupton 16.8.11