Is coding the new literacy?

Link to Full Article

Joe Morgan writes a piece for Slate titled . “I’m a Developer. I Won’t Teach My Kids to Code, and Neither Should You.”

The title is a bit strong.  I mean if they WANT to learn, why not.  I think the point is that the idea that all kids should learn to code or that it should be introduced early is misguided, which I would agree.

Joe has one of the best descriptions of what it’s like to be a professional programmer:

…Try something. See if it works. Try again. If a problem was straightforward, it would be automated or at least solved with some open-source code. All that’s left is the difficult task of creating something unique. There are no books that teach you how to solve a problem no one has seen before. This is why I don’t want my kids to learn syntax. I want them to learn to solve problems, to dive deep into an issue, to be creative. So how do we teach that?

Of course, getting something working is just the first step of building software. The next step is to make code clear, reusable, and neat. Once, early in my career, I wrote a feature and gave it to a senior developer for review. He took one look at my sloppy spacing, mismatched lines, and erratic naming conventions and just said, “Do it again.” It was working. The syntax was valid. It was still wrong. Good coders don’t just get something to work. They want it to be good.

The commenters on this article are pretty vicious and overwhelmingly disagree.  I’m curious what percent are programmers.

One of the better comments:

My thought: Teach your kids all of the skills you can – how to code, how to cook, how to sew, how to change a tire – but don’t pretend that any of it will create a magical path to wealth for them. Maybe they’ll become an internet billionaire or a great chef or an engineer…or, at worst, they’ll come to adulthood with enough skills to be self-sufficient. You can’t predict the future, but you can send your kids out with a decent set of tools.


Professionals without a Degree

At least in programming, I’ve always know this to be the case.  Companies, especially startups, are willing to look at candidates based on their experience and what they have demonstrated they can DO.  Degrees become important in the ABSENCE of experience or if companies plan to train young individuals and teach them what they need to know.

Good news for job-seekers without a degree

Hamrick points out that some of the industries that are doing the most hiring right now are those that focus more on the skills of an employee rather than their educational background. This means that job-seekers without a degree have an increased chance of finding employment in today’s market.

“Soft skills are often overlooked in the sense of how one prepares for employment,” he says. “But you should show that you have the ability to have a constructive conversation with others if its a customer-facing job. And you should show that you’re able to show up to work on time and do all the things that many people consider to be along the lines of someone who is a productive adult.”

Google, Apple and 12 other companies that no longer require employees to have a college degree

In 2017, IBM’s vice president of talent Joanna Daley told CNBC Make that about 15 percent of her company’s U.S. hires don’t have a four-year degree. She said that instead of looking exclusively at candidates who went to college, IBM now looks at candidates who have hands-on experience via a coding boot camp or an industry-related vocational class.



What Happened To Your Class Valedictorian?

“…They are reliable, consistent, and well-adjusted, and by all measures the majority have good lives. “

“In another interview Arnold said, “Valedictorians aren’t likely to be the future’s visionaries . . . they typically settle into the system instead of shaking it up.”

“Research shows that what makes students likely to be impressive in the classroom is the same thing that makes them less likely to be home-run hitters outside the classroom.”

“So why are the number ones in high school so rarely the number ones in real life? There are two reasons. First, schools reward students who consistently do what they are told. Academic grades correlate only loosely with intelligence (standardized tests are better at measuring IQ). Grades are, however, an excellent predictor of self-discipline, conscientiousness, and the ability to comply with rules.”

“In an interview, Arnold said, “Essentially, we are rewarding conformity and the willingness to go along with the system.” Many of the valedictorians admitted to not being the smartest kid in class, just the hardest worker. Others said that it was more an issue of giving teachers what they wanted than actually knowing the material better. Most of the subjects in the study were classified as “careerists”: they saw their job as getting good grades, not really as learning. The second reason is that schools reward being a generalist. There is little recognition of student passion or expertise. The real world, however, does the reverse. Arnold, talking about the valedictorians, said, “They’re extremely well rounded and successful, personally and professionally, but they’ve never been devoted to a single area in which they put all their passion. That is not usually a recipe for eminence.”

“Ironically, Arnold found that intellectual students who enjoy learning struggle in high school. They have passions they want to focus on, are more interested in achieving mastery, and find the structure of school stifling. Meanwhile, the valedictorians are intensely pragmatic. They follow the rules and prize A’s over skills and deep understanding.”

“School has clear rules. Life often doesn’t. When there’s no clear path to follow, academic high achievers break down. Shawn Achor’s research at Harvard shows that college grades aren’t any more predictive of subsequent life success than rolling dice. A study of over seven hundred American millionaires showed their average college GPA was 2.9.”

Click Here for Full Article


Wheels on the Bus

This is amazing. 80% of kids 10 and under know the answer immediately. Adults struggle with the correct answer:

Which direction is this bus moving?


Go HERE for the answer


The Overachievers

The Overchievers by Alexandra Robbins


High school isn’t what it used to be. With record numbers of students competing fiercely to get into college, schools are no longer primarily places of learning. They’re dog-eat-dog battlegrounds in which kids must set aside interests and passions in order to strategize over how to game the system. In this increasingly stressful environment, kids aren’t defined by their character or hunger for knowledge, but by often arbitrary scores and statistics.

Why Generation Y Yuppies are Unhappy

Click HERE to read article.

“Generation Y, the generation born between the late 1970s and the mid 1990s.”
Known as GYPSYs in this article.

“Sure,” GYPSY’s have been taught, “everyone will go and get themselves some fulfilling career, but I am unusually wonderful and as such, my career and life path will stand out amongst the crowd.” So on top of the generation as a whole having the bold goal of a flowery career lawn, each individual GYPSY thinks that he or she is destined for something even better —

Paul Harvey, a University of New Hampshire professor and GYPSY expert, has researched this, finding that Gen Y has “unrealistic expectations and a strong resistance toward accepting negative feedback,” and “an inflated view of oneself.” He says that “a great source of frustration for people with a strong sense of entitlement is unmet expectations. They often feel entitled to a level of respect and rewards that aren’t in line with their actual ability and effort levels, and so they might not get the level of respect and rewards they are expecting.”

Pressured Parents Phenomenon

Jessica writes a terrific article about “Pressured Parents Phenomenon“.  The article is only half of it.  Make sure you read the comments following the article.

Our schools and other institutions, such as organized sports, are set up as hierarchies with evaluation, social comparison, and “weeding out” as part of routine practice. (Labaree, 1997). Indeed, Labaree (1997) argued that the goals of education have moved from obtaining knowledge that will be useful for children in their futures to obtaining credentials that will give them an edge over the competition.

Humans, as opposed to other species—are high-investment parents. Some species lay eggs and walk away, but not us. We spend an enormous amount of energy raising our children to adulthood, and often beyond, and as I found out at parent-teacher night, much of that energy is toxic.

Building a Better School Day

From today’s Parade Magazine

1. Begin the Day with Breakfast

As a result of government policies like No Child Left Behind—which requires schools to improve on students’ standardized test performance year over year—educators are overwhelmed with testing and test prep. And that has contributed to an increasingly dysfunctional public school system,

2. Emphasize Learning, Not Testing
3. Teach 21st-Century Skills
4.  “Flip” the Class Work

What if, instead of spending algebra class listening to their teacher give a lecture, students were sent home with short video lectures, then spent class time having the concepts reinforced with interactive labs or discussions?

5. Say Yes to Recess
6. Get Creative
7. Go Longer-And Better