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Programming languages in schools - The Ex-Communicator

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January 22nd, 2012


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10:14 am - Programming languages in schools
I have just written a post on the new computing curriculum for schools. People might be interested in the list of suggested programming languages. This is not mandated, but I think it is interesting. It is found on page 13.
Every student should have repeated opportunities to design, write, run and debug an executable program. What an executable program means can range widely depending on the level of the student and the amount of time available. The following are included in programming:

  • Small domain-specific languages, such as instructions to a simple robot, or Logo-style turtle.

  • Visual languages such as Scratch BYOB or Kodu.

  • Text-based languages, such as C#, C++, Java, Pascal, PHP, Python, Visual Basic, and so on.

  • Scripting languages, such as shell scripts, Flash ActionScript, or JavaScript.

  • Spreadsheet formulae


I do not know how actual teachers will approach this issue. Teachers in general will be out of their depth here. If I were to get involved, let us say as a writer, I would probably use Javascript as the exemplar. I would be interested in the opinions of anyone who works in programming.

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[User Picture]
From:communicator
Date:January 22nd, 2012 07:00 pm (UTC)
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Yes, the issues are precisely those. The writers of this curriculum should be addressing those questions.

I think there's an argument that schools should teach concepts via a specialist teaching language like Logo or Pascal. However those are both extremely old fashioned now. But really a curriculum should begin by considering issues like that.

The curriculum is introduced with an endorsement by Microsoft and by Google, and this govt wants to involve commercial companies in the development of the computing curriculum. It is felt this will make content more relevant to employment, but as you say there is a problem with obsolescence, and a second problem of being too closely aligned to a particular company.

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