"Kids like (playing on) computers and want to learn (how to level up faster and use more cheats) about them."
Ha, I like this!
I don't really believe that everyone *needs* to learn how to program, but I think it's beneficial. Kinda like the whole "everyone should learn a foreign language" thing, it's not so much about "programming" itself as learning another way to think and interpret the world around you.
Best way to learn (in my experience) is come up with something you want to make, and then learn what you need to go do it.
This is an interesting discussion, and there are many points that I need to think about.
Just to chime in with my own ideas:
1. Regarding the "use" of computers (the confusion that comes with word use being graphically illustrated here ;), I agree with both of you. I think that it's not really necessary for every person to know how to code, but it's worth having a basic understanding of how a computer works. For example, there's a teacher at my school who came to me frantic because her iPad wasn't working with an app she often uses in her classroom. I:
Restarted the app
Checked that she'd signed in properly
Checked her app store to find that she had 87 pending updates, including several for the app in question
Downloaded the update and handed her the "fixed" iPad
That didn't require coding knowledge, but I think that's what the article is getting at: even if you can't code, you should be able to troubleshoot. It's the difference between being able to take apart a car engine (I can't) and pump your own gas, check your own oil, and know what all the buttons and dials on your dashboard do/indicate (I do, and if I don't, I look them up).
Digital literacy is becoming so important these days. In the MOOC I just finished at Coursera, they made a really neat observation about how students who use technology to further learning are usually the ones who have that modeled for them -- their parents use technology to learn or work, or their teachers do. The kids who use it "just for fun" are similarly the ones who have it modeled for them, usually by parents or friends.
So sadly, I think we have a cycle of technological illiteracy that will last until we start deliberately teaching this sort of problem solving/troubleshooting in school.
Don’t do work that just exists within your classroom... do work that changes the world. -Will Richardson
"they made a really neat observation about how students who use technology to further learning are usually the ones who have that modeled for them -- their parents use technology to learn or work, or their teachers do. The kids who use it "just for fun" are similarly the ones who have it modeled for them, usually by parents or friends."
I had never thought about this before, but it makes sense. Humans, and children especially, tend to imitate behaviors they see others do. (This is part of why tv/movies/games have so much power.)
I do try to model using technology for learning in my classes. If students ask a question that I don't know the answer to, I'll often Google it right there (or have the student Google it themselves). I've always believed that students are sensitive to these things, so I will usually try to model the behaviors and attitudes I want to see more of (can't say I'm 100% successful here...I have my off days from time to time). It's neat to see someone else make this point.