Passion for Programming: Start At The Roots

We need to have a serious look at the way we teach computers to our students today. And by serious, I mean serious! It is unlike any other subject that is taught in the schools today. It is dynamic, unlimited and created by the users. This demands a total revamp and “on-its-head” approach to teaching the subject today.

For once, instead of teaching the students how to program, we can start by teaching them how to identify problems to solve and create solutions for them using programs. Secondly, we can show them the “cool stuff” todays young hackers are churning out and in turn, inspire them to use/upgrade their skills to create something even better.

What got me to this post were a couple of separate experiences in schools ranging from a computer teacher teaching 40 students power point on a single 12-inch monitor screen to the same old “reverse a string” problem being posed to 10th standard students in a major CBSE school.

The PPT introduction was being given as if it was another dry history subject! No context on what it is used for, where they would use it, PPT etiquette, creating the “different” kinds of PPTs etc. Just straight into animations (ha! of course, what else is the soul of a PPT!!!) and the “reverse a string” was “school as usual” problem from another uninspired computer teacher. Common, the world has moved on, isn’t it time for us to reframe our computer usage and education in schools???

I would love to hear your suggestions on how we can create more digitally savvy generation that is not just looking at computers to check email, facebook or twitter?

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2 Responses to “Passion for Programming: Start At The Roots”


  1. 1 Archit January 22, 2010 at 11:12 pm

    Well to be honest with you, I think the problem does not lie at the level of “what to do” or “what can be done” but rather as a matter of our views of what intelligence is.

    There is this T-shirt that I love. It reads “Talk is cheap. Show me code.” And i think in the end it comes down to that. We need to understand that intelligence is not in reproducing and repeating material but rather knowing how to use it. And that is independent of whatever subject you look at.

    • 2 Sreeja Iyer January 23, 2010 at 2:15 pm

      love the quote and cannot agree more! Application-oriented approach to education would solve a lot of our issues today. But the larger picture is you learn to apply only when you have to do it somewhere. In our approach to pedagogy, you don’t have to do, you only have to teach. When there is a need to do something, solutions and perspectives emerge automatically.


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