Is This Really Controversial?

From Rich Barlow writing at BU Today,

Should the three Rs be four Rs, as in reading, ’riting, ’rithmetic, and ’rogramming? That’s the argument made by Carnegie Mellon computer scientist Jeannette Wing and increasingly by academics from a broad spectrum of disciplines. They insist American education is shorting students, even those who’ll be poets and philosophers, by failing to equip them with the basics of “computational thinking,” the general ideas undergirding computing.

Please read the whole piece.
Everyone should experience the thought process that goes into programming. It’s part of a modern liberal education. We will not all be mathematicians, chemists, biologists, or physicists but knowing some mathematics, chemistry, biology, and physics is part of a modern liberal education. We will not all be historians, philosophers, or literary critics but knowing some history, philosophy, and literay criticism is part of a modern liberal education. The same is true of programing. It’s not just a vocational skill. It’s also thought process applicable to a wide range of things including the humanities.
As Barlow’s piece points out, there may be a practical payoff for humanists but, more importantly I think, there is a conceptual payoff. Learning to think in a new and highly disciplined fashion is a good thing.
Via Jack Sasson’s Agade List

One thought on “Is This Really Controversial?”

  1. I agree wholeheartedly. Programming, like math, accepts no excuses. It forces the reader to define exactly what he wants the computer to do, and once he has defined it precisely in the language the computer speaks, the problem is solved. To spend some time in a discipline where articulating a problem is solving it cannot help but be helpful. I spent a few months off and on with a few different programming languages, and though I don’t code in anything on any regular basis, I don’t regret the time invested for a minute.

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