In the late ’70s and ’80s, the arrival of personal computers like the Commodore 64 gave rise to the first generation of kids fluent in computation. They learned to program in Basic, to write software that they swapped excitedly with their peers. It was a playful renaissance that eerily parallels the embrace of Minecraft by today’s youth - Inside the Minecraft Generation.
Geekfilter: A series of video lectures on how Python works under the hood. (MLYT)
WYNC's Manoush Zomorodi investigates the gender gap in tech and computer science, and finds a number of people working towards bridging that gap, from childhood to university: completely restructuring a required computer science course to make it more welcoming to female university students, celebrating women in computing history (and recognizing that computer science wasn't so male-dominated, and making children's books and toys (even dollhouses!) for kids to explore programming concepts on their own. She also noticed that the majority of female computer science students in the US had grown up overseas - possibly because computer science isn't a common subject in American high schools. This is slated to change: a new AP Computer Science subject is in the works, with efforts to get 10,000 highly-trained computer science teachers in 10,000 high schools across the US. If you want to join Mindy Kaling in supporting young girls entering computer science, tech, and coding, there's a lot [more inside]
Kids In Vietnam Are Crazy Good At Programming - '11th graders in Vietnam are so good at programming that they could easily pass an interview at Google' (via)
Bret Victor: We often think of a programming environment or language in terms of its features -- this one "has code folding", that one "has type inference". This is like thinking about a book in terms of its words -- this book has a "fortuitous", that one has a "munificent". What matters is not individual words, but how the words together convey a message. Likewise, a well-designed programing system is not simply a bag of features. A good system is designed to encourage particular ways of thinking, with all features carefully and cohesively designed around that purpose.
More Universities Should Shut Down Their Computer Science Programs
Forty years of incredible programming from Ontario's public broadcaster now viewable on the Web at The TVO Public Archive. Samples include: Imprint 1993: Leonard Cohen talks about his poetry and music. The Education of Mike McManus 1977: Timothy Leary talks about what freedoms the drug culture wrought and reflects on his own role in bringing about these changes. Talking Film 1980: The Cinema Of John Huston offers anecdotes about Orson Welles, Humphrey Bogart, and Truman Capote. Allan Gregg in Conversation 2007: Carol Off/Alvin Toffler, authors of Bitter Chocolate and Future Shock. [more inside]
In this century, you may have dozens of programming languages lurking on your machine. But how to use them?? A fundamental secret! Well, no more. We cannot stand for that. Hackety Hack will not stand to have you in the dark! Now with 100% more MeFi.
How I lost my childhood: It may seem hopelessly lame to many, but as as child I, and many others of the same time period -- the first children of the microcomputer revolution -- spent many hours in front of our shiny new home computers reverently copying in BASIC programs from source printouts in books and magazines. For some, myself included, this was the launchpad into a sexy, exciting, fascinating career as a professional geek. Now, the book that was one of my sacred texts during this time period, David Ahl's BASIC Computer Games, is available, scanned, online. [via Boing Boing]
Guido van Rossum's Computer Programming for Everyone scheme is what we should be doing in our schools.