Does Not Compute


I first learned programming skills in 1967 at a time-sharing terminal. Old school for certain: the programs were stored on perforated tape. For 2 years at Indiana University I worked on the design of tutor for geology students. When tasked with teaching elementary school math at Lewis & Clark I included examples of programming in Logo with children. I get it. coding makes you think.

But is it a universal skill that transfers to many other domains? I'm skeptical. Apparently, coding for all boosters are not. In the August, 2016 issue of Scientific American article "The Coding Revolution," interviews with pro-coders yielded statements such as "This is about teaching habits of mind that can be used to solving problems in any realm," and "These are skills that everyone can use, whether they're using a computer or not."

Clearly, the phrase "habits of mind" echoes the rhetoric of reform in science teaching. The "any realm" and "everyone can use" claims supposedly call for major revision of k-12 schooling--to include training in coding skills across grade levels. Are these claims supported by clear-eyed research? If you read this blog, you know what I think about the analogous claims in science education. What do you think?