Nathan over at Coderspiel has an interesting reaction to last week’s NYTime article about the gender gap in Computer Science. I resonate with this reaction to the call to deempasize “programming” in a field that should be devoted to programming:
Many academics have exploited the uncertainty of computer science’s boundaries, and the cultural mantra of inclusiveness, to encompass in the field any contribution to computing.
His solution is the right solution “teach it earlier” and “integrate it with other curriculum”:
If anyone is really interested in getting more girls (and boys) into computer science, the answer to teach it earlier in school. It doesn’t have to be “Java programming,” but it does to be programming. Start them off in the interpreter of a scripting language like Python and show the kids how easy it is to create something. Because that is what programming is all about: making things. Move on to pygame and animate some sprites. If students are to be taught Java, start with the hands-on, graphical Processing environment and make interactive art for art class.
And, he closes with this…
Shame on these no-talent hacks for telling girls that the only kind of computer scientists they can be are non-programming airbags—the world’s first programmer managed just fine as a woman.