The Reflective Educator

Education ∪ Math ∪ Technology

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Day: October 13, 2011

When should we introduce kids to programming?

I recommend listening to this interview of Douglas Rushkoff on CBC Spark by Norah Young.


Rushkoff’s recommendation is that children should learn a little bit of a taste of programming right after they learn long division. His reasoning is basically this; once students see an algorithm like long division, and they learn how to make a computer compute long division for them, they’ll see that computers are devices which compute algorithms, not places for them to visit.

I’d like to add that teaching a computer to program something like long division would be very empowering for children. Having been through this process of learning what is one of the most complicated sequences of steps they’ve likely been exposed to in their young lives, they can then conquer this algorithm and "teach" a computer how to do it. As a happy consequence of teaching the computer the algorithm, they’ll probably understand how it works better.

Learning Origami

Origami swan

I started learning origami again this past weekend. So far I’ve built a swan, and a couple of paper airplanes that are more advanced than what I usually make but none of it has been particularly complicated to make. I’ve often thought that origami would be a fun hobby, but that I wouldn’t find much use for it in my teaching.

Today, I watched a TED talk (thanks to @BobbycSmith for sharing it with me today) that definitely changed my mind. Origami is way up there now on my list of things I need to learn.