Dr. Avi Cohen - Wisdom in the Palm of our Hand.


Dr. Avi Cohen, Inspector General, Computer Science, Israel Ministry of Education.




Wouldn't it be great if all kids in high school had the option of studying computer science? Wouldn't it be insanely great (pax, Mr. Jobs), if all students were required to at least get their feet wet, or their fingers dirty, as my esteemed co-host on Teach Parallel, Professor Tom Murphy, likes to say.

Sadly, in the US, and much of the world, this is rarely the case. Most students, will enter college with no formal experience in computer Science and thus will be less than likely to explore the discipline as a career. Perhaps more importantly, they will not have an chance to be demystified about how computer hardware and software systems work; for most people the computer, and the software which gives it utility, remains "a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma."

As Dr. Avi Cohen explained to Tom and I at SIGCSE 2011, the langauge of technology has become one of the fundamental structures describing our world. He elaborates this in the paper CHAMSA: five languages citizens of an increasingly technological world should acquire.

In Israel, exposure to computer science is a standard part of the high school curriculum, each student taking five credits towards graduation. Motivated students are given the opportunity to do more as part of a capstone project. Of course, it is easier to implement such a program in a small country like Israel than in other regions, still, I'd love to see that become part of our curriculum. How about where you live?

We would not tolerate our children graduating illiterate or language deficient from our schools, yet having them graduate without even a minimal exposure to the language of technology leaves them both uninformed and vulnerable. I think it is time for a change.

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