Reading, writing, arithmetic, and programming?

  • May 31, 2012
  • 0 Comments

I believe that basic programming should be a skill that most adults have. We don't all prove new theorems, but we can use math to solve problems that arise in daily life. We won't all publish novels, but we can compose an email. We won't all write an operating system or a new machine learning algorithm, but we should be able to program a basic application. Today, most programming is done by a small, unrepresentative sample of the population and I believe that this limits the kinds of technologies that we create as a society.

I stumbled on a news story a few years ago about the parents of a child with cerebral palsy who were attempting to help their daughter communicate. Like good parents, they explored the assistive technologies available to them, but none were really right for their daughter. In most families, this story would end with the family making due with the best of a less than ideal set of options. But, this child was born to a computer scientist. When the technologies available didn't address his daughter's needs, he wrote a program that did. At the time of the news story, that program was in use by thousands of other kids. Today, there are many stories about people whose needs aren't quite met by the technologies available to them. The fact that the story ended with a new software tool that helps many other kids with communication difficulties is remarkable.  Long term, the motivation behind Looking Glass is to make this story entirely unremarkable by raising a generation of kids that has basic programming skills.

Comments

  • No comments yet

Log In or Sign Up to leave a comment.