Magic
Posts: 5
Joined: Sat Jan 07, 2012 3:24 pm

Re: Suject entry age ?.

Sat Jan 07, 2012 3:41 pm

I am wondering what the perceived entry age is for children using Raspberry ?.

User avatar
liz
Raspberry Pi Foundation Employee & Forum Moderator
Raspberry Pi Foundation Employee & Forum Moderator
Posts: 5202
Joined: Thu Jul 28, 2011 7:22 pm
Contact: Website

Re: Suject entry age ?.

Sat Jan 07, 2012 3:55 pm

You can couch your questions as "What age should children start to learn about programming?" Opinions differ; I think that simple concepts can be introduced as soon as a kid can read; other people in the Foundation think around 7, when the mind is better able to deal with abstract reasoning, is a better age.

Software is available for pretty much every age group. We hope to see penetration of the device in all school years.
Director of Communications, Raspberry Pi

Magic
Posts: 5
Joined: Sat Jan 07, 2012 3:24 pm

Re: Suject entry age ?.

Sat Jan 07, 2012 4:34 pm

A school in my area also thinks seven is OK. It is possible to teach children to create working programs earlier, but since some lack keyboard and reading skills, they have to do it with their hands.

It will be very interesting to see how this works out.

nichobb
Posts: 82
Joined: Sat Nov 19, 2011 10:34 am

Re: Suject entry age ?.

Sat Jan 07, 2012 4:40 pm

I know some nurseries have children using computers as young as 3 to get them exposed. I guess it would be possible to start teaching principles from this age with appropriate software, teaching and time.

I didn"t learn computing at this age but by 4 I was a fluent chess player. Being on school chess team, I also taught other children who were aged 5. The difference is that in chess there is a hugh variety of situations that naturally occure between different games, I"d worry that a young child could become bored and view it as work they have to do, at this point you lost them.

User avatar
n3tw0rk5
Posts: 216
Joined: Fri Jan 06, 2012 6:04 pm

Re: Suject entry age ?.

Sat Jan 07, 2012 4:57 pm

It's something that really needs to be tailored to each child to an extent, at nursery my youngest son was creating ms media player music playlists each day on there pc as that's what he found interesting.

He's 8 now and he is still really into music on the PC and especially stage lighting systems. So apart from simple games i'm going to figure out how he can control led lights using the RasPI.

I think the same sort of flexibility needs to be used in schools, yes everyone needs to learn the same basics up to a point but each child should be able to also add there own influence and interests to what they are doing.

That way you keep them interested, whether it's practical or not with a class full of kids and limited time to teach is another thing.

Magic
Posts: 5
Joined: Sat Jan 07, 2012 3:24 pm

Re: Suject entry age ?.

Sat Jan 07, 2012 5:03 pm

I suppose games can be plated at any age, providing the child is equipped to inter-react with the computer. I amprimarily interested in the age a child can begin to produce working programs.  Some people think it crazy to expect a child to be able to program at an early stage ... but the question in my mind is how old will the child be when it is too late to capture their interest in STEM subjects. To be honest, I think the general case is that  it  is too late by the time they are eight.  It would be interesting to see what other people think about this ?.

Magic
Posts: 5
Joined: Sat Jan 07, 2012 3:24 pm

Re: Suject entry age ?.

Sat Jan 07, 2012 5:14 pm

Crossed postings. Yes I agree that flexibility is required in schools and after UNICEF's survey of 21 leading industrialised ntions effort in providing for children (of which we came bottom) perhaps the whole system needs looking at.

I have done a microcontroller course for children and it recognises that children progress at different rates and allows them to progress at their own rate, but using the advanced children to sometimes assist those falling behind.  It works with that subject because it is not actully taught by the teacher, who may have absolutely no knowledge of the subject and even if they had it would soon be out-stripped by the child.

It is my humble opinion the children are only as smart as we allow them to be ….

SeanD
Posts: 121
Joined: Wed Sep 21, 2011 12:25 am
Contact: Website

Re: Suject entry age ?.

Sat Jan 07, 2012 6:08 pm

This is an interesting subject.  I am no educationalist but I have observed my kids. From my reading there is consensus that somewhere around 7 is where most kids have the tools they need to be able to do what we define as programming.  However much younger kids demonstrate every day abilities that have very many of the capabilities that we need to program.  I look at things like cooking, organizational games, board games etc.

I did try to introduce both of my kids to the non user ends of a computer at a very young age and I learnt some very useful lessons.  A lot of programming is all about language semantics, however a small child may not chose to use the same language to describe something as a seasoned programmer, for my daughter a 'loop' was a 'go around', my son at age 8 got the concept of a class but for him an instance of that class was a 'thing' and not an 'object' (actually it still is).  There were also much more subtle cases where internally I would find myself getting a little frustrated because I think that because they are not using the correct words they do not actually understand, but they do.  My son still uses the term 'memory' for all storage in a computer. I have learnt to chill as he actually knows the difference between the type of memory that is consumed by the number of processes you have runnining and their associated data and 'things' and the type you free up by deleting files. Based on this if you knew what you were doing I think you could start kids with programming using things like Scratch at a very young age, it would just have to be a very tailored 1:1 exercise, and would require great patience.

Magic
Posts: 5
Joined: Sat Jan 07, 2012 3:24 pm

Re: Suject entry age ?.

Sat Jan 07, 2012 8:09 pm

Everything people have said makes sense, but I see a small problem.  As I understand it, Raspberry was created in order to solve the problem of an acute shortage of programmers. In fact i think we have an acute shortage of candidates for all STEM subjects and not a lot of time to come up with a solution.

Schools will fight against adding extra subjects to their workload, so perhaps the system has to work without them. After a lot of thought, we only require schools to be involved for one reason and that concerns hardware modules that might only be required for a single lesson, making it uneconomical for the student to purchase these. The use of the school library for this loan task could actually be taken up by the public librarys ... who now need additional tasks to justify their existence.

I am wondering what  the typical wastage rate is when a subject is taught but not taken up as a career. If we actually need  100,000 scientists we probably have to start off with ten million children. So any system we come up with has to be implemented in ALL schools in UK, in order to get the right number of scientists out at the other end of the system.  One can only assume that this is not already happening, because the establishment is incapable of doing it. For several reasons I do not think that money is an issue here ....

tufty
Posts: 1456
Joined: Sun Sep 11, 2011 2:32 pm

Re: Suject entry age ?.

Sat Jan 07, 2012 8:41 pm

Magic said:


I am wondering what  the typical wastage rate is when a subject is taught but not taken up as a career.


I don't think it's relevant.  Education is never "wasted"[1], even if it's not used directly (even in a non-career role).  For most kids, everything above elementary mathematics and a grounding in English is totally irrelevant at a career level, but that doesn't mean we should filter those kids out early (even if we could) and push them into totally vocational education from the start of secondary school.  It's the educational equivalent of "You'll never do any better than this, here's a spade, dig me a hole", and ICT is a reflection of exactly that attitude.  Don't teach the "why and how" of computing, teach the intricate mechanics of how to format a spreadsheet in this particular package.  It stinks.

History, geography, languages, art, technology, music, higher math, science, literature, computer science, these are all subjects that help to make rounded individuals, healthy members of society. Education shouldn't be about shitting out  an endless stream of nice compliant little worker bees, it should be about helping children to achieve their potential and make the transition from child to adult.

Simon

[1] Yes, I'm aware of the difference between "wastage" and "waste", but the use of the former implies to some extent that the time spent teaching (for example) science would be more usefully spent teaching (again, for example) better pickaxe and shovel technique.

tufty
Posts: 1456
Joined: Sun Sep 11, 2011 2:32 pm

Re: Suject entry age ?.

Sat Jan 07, 2012 8:44 pm

Alternatively, of course, we could just shove the snot-nosed little runts up chimneys where they belong from the age of 4.  It' would save on teacher salaries, too, so good for the hole in the public purse.  In fact, it's such an obvious solution, I can't imagine why Dave hasn't suggested it yet.

User avatar
johnbeetem
Posts: 945
Joined: Mon Oct 17, 2011 11:18 pm
Location: The Mountains
Contact: Website

Re: Suject entry age ?.

Sat Jan 07, 2012 9:16 pm

tufty said:


Magic said:


I am wondering what  the typical wastage rate is when a subject is taught but not taken up as a career.



History, geography, languages, art, technology, music, higher math, science, literature, computer science, these are all subjects that help to make rounded individuals, healthy members of society. 
Excellent comments.  There are subject which are very useful for developing parts of the brain which are needed for other things, even if the subject itself is deemed a "luxury".  For example, I have heard of studies which show that if you want to improve math scores, teach music -- especially classical music like Mozart or Bach.  Such music develops the centers of the brain which is also needed for math and computer science.  There is a high correlation between these abilities, my favorite example being that Donald Knuth has a pipe organ in his house.  Even though I don't actively play any instruments these days, I'm firmly convinced that in my case the problem-solving needed to work out keyboard and clarinet fingerings applied directly to things like microcoding.

The ancients felt that all nine muses were important.  Pythagoras made important contributions to both math and music, e.g., the whole concept of irrational numbers is related to perfect and imperfect chords on a lyre.  Going from the well-rounded "Renaissance Man" to the specialist is a recent phenomenon, and IMO is not a good thing.  The excuse given is that there is so much "information" now that a single person can no longer know "everything worth knowing" -- the last person to accomplish that was Goethe.  While that may be true, it's IMO hardly a good excuse not to be as rounded as one can be.

User avatar
Chromatix
Posts: 430
Joined: Mon Jan 02, 2012 7:00 pm
Location: Helsinki

Re: Suject entry age ?.

Mon Jan 09, 2012 8:46 pm

I started learning programming, with a BBC Micro, at about age 7.  That has to be taken in context - I had (and still have) a natural aptitude for it, which was almost certainly inherited.

It is reasonably well established, however, that children learn more easily and thoroughly than adults do.  Introducing good logical and algorithmic skills, and the concepts of how a computer really works, at as early an age as possible can only be a good thing.  Failing to introduce them until secondary/high school age would be a serious mistake.
The key to knowledge is not to rely on people to teach you it.

jamesh
Raspberry Pi Engineer & Forum Moderator
Raspberry Pi Engineer & Forum Moderator
Posts: 23883
Joined: Sat Jul 30, 2011 7:41 pm

Re: Suject entry age ?.

Mon Jan 09, 2012 8:54 pm

tufty said:


Alternatively, of course, we could just shove the snot-nosed little runts up chimneys where they belong from the age of 4.  It" would save on teacher salaries, too, so good for the hole in the public purse.  In fact, it"s such an obvious solution, I can"t imagine why Dave hasn"t suggested it yet.


Apparently, and this was news to me, this is no longer allowed in the UK. Also news was that you are not allowed to sell them for medical research either.

What's the point? if they are not going to earn their keep until they are, er, well, 35 in the current economic climate.
Principal Software Engineer at Raspberry Pi (Trading) Ltd.
Contrary to popular belief, humorous signatures are allowed. Here's an example...
“I think it’s wrong that only one company makes the game Monopoly.” – Steven Wright

nichobb
Posts: 82
Joined: Sat Nov 19, 2011 10:34 am

Re: Suject entry age ?.

Tue Jan 10, 2012 2:47 am

Some one in work has their 3 year old getting "daddy water" from the fridge, apparently wine bottles are too difficult so lost interest.

35? ha! my (work-shy gob shi … shy?) brother is 37 and still lives at home only having got a job 3 years ago (after second time round uni).

11+11 = doubles

User avatar
n3tw0rk5
Posts: 216
Joined: Fri Jan 06, 2012 6:04 pm

Re: Suject entry age ?.

Tue Jan 10, 2012 5:25 am

Well i let my youngest nipper have a go on the codeacademy site, which teaches Javascript.

Considering it was his first go at programming and there was plenty explaining what different words meant, he really liked getting a response from what he was typing in.

So hopefully in a year or two he can stop sweeping chimney's and code from home to earn a wage

pvgb
Posts: 51
Joined: Sat Oct 15, 2011 9:53 pm

Re: Suject entry age ?.

Tue Jan 10, 2012 11:27 pm

tufty said:


Alternatively, of course, we could just shove the snot-nosed little runts up chimneys where they belong from the age of 4.  It" would save on teacher salaries, too, so good for the hole in the public purse.  In fact, it"s such an obvious solution, I can"t imagine why Dave hasn"t suggested it yet.


Dave probably does not have chimneys, and I guess his pal George does not either.

( But I think we would all feel safer if you did not give them ideas )

OTOH it may be that you would have to pay more VAT on locally sourced urchins and it would be cheaper to fly them in from the Far East.

pvgb
Posts: 51
Joined: Sat Oct 15, 2011 9:53 pm

Re: Suject entry age ?.

Tue Jan 10, 2012 11:30 pm

This is where it gets complicated. My suspicion is that we should encourage children to start using computers as soon as possible. With the profusion of consoles, hand held games and phones that even young children have access to, I think that they already do this.

At what point do we get them to start programming ? Again, as young as possible, because part of the process is demystification - once you understand that everything a computer does has software behind it - and how that software is developed - you understand the computer a lot better than if it is powered by the Dark Arts.

Thereby lies a problem - who is going to pick up the teaching for this ?

Trevor
Posts: 21
Joined: Sun Sep 25, 2011 1:56 am

Re: Suject entry age ?.

Wed Jan 11, 2012 1:44 pm

My experience is stating that the younger the student the better they learn.  I have 6 year old students learning robotics and programming.

Jaseman
Posts: 302
Joined: Tue Jan 10, 2012 12:59 pm
Contact: Website

Re: Suject entry age ?.

Mon Jan 23, 2012 2:26 pm

The trick is to keep it interesting for them.

I was showing my 6 year old some stuff in Python.  He wasn't interested in the code side of it.  What did interest him was that I had drawn a stick figure of a man on the screen, and then got the head to fall off.  He found that very amusing.  Then I asked him 'What shall we make him do now?'

I think you need to promote the idea that they can be in control of something, and then help to show them how to do things.

Return to “Staffroom, classroom and projects”