Bret Victor explains how he feels about code.org and translates the quotes that promote programming into what he thinks they really mean.
The reasons to learn how to code from a young age according to the interpretation are:
- Your country needs a lot of code for some reason. Also, college is vocational training.
- Simply learning to program will make you think better.
- You can be an informed citizen and understand the world around you.
- Programming will make you rich.
- Industry needs you to be a cog in the corporate machine.
- You can be a solider in our war against Eastasia. (We’ve always been at war with Eastasia).
My response is that there are many reasons to learn to code and while some of these reasons may not be appealing to Mr Victor or to me (we really don’t need anymore cogs in the corporate machine who ignore basic computer science and software engineering ideas), others may find one or more of these reasons appealing. I’m okay with someone wanting to learn to code because they think it will make them rich.
The code.org project has many partners who are industry leaders but it also has academic backing, it has the ACM (Association of Computing Machinery) as a partner which can bring much needed research to the project. There are many journals and articles and conferences that deal with introductory programming and with teaching children how to code. There’s no need to assume that code.org is interested in churning out code monkeys for the future, though that may be what Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates and others want.