I fell in love with computer programming in a public junior high school 7th grade class back in 1975. (Read Me and Mr. Jones) By the time I was eighteen, I was hired to create one of the world’s first computer programming camp programming for kids (1982). (Read In the Beginning) In 1990, I led professional development at the first two “laptop schools” in which every child owned their own personal laptop and programmed across the curriculum. (Read The Year of the Laptop) Ever since, I have advocated for every child learning to program as a creative outlet, intellectual laboratory, and means to develop agency over an increasingly complex and technologically sophisticated world.
Computing was, is, and should be fun!– Gary Stager
One question I often ponder is, “Under what conditions could recreational computing return to the lives of children?”
I explore this question and make the case for computing in this video of a keynote I gave in June 2020. This was the closing keynote address at the Virtual MakerEd Unconference Online.
A few years before I ever touched a teletype connected to a timeframe system, three student teachers in Minnesota, including an old friend of mine, Don Rawitsch, created an “educational game” that is played and revered to this day, Oregon Trail.
A fabulous new documentary has suddenly appeared on the YouTube machine recounting the origin story of Oregon Trail.
Stager’s First Law of Technological Innovation suggests that any technology more than five years old can be created by school children or their teachers.
So, you know what to do…
- Here’s a boatload of resources for teaching programming to kids.
- Fall 2020 roundup of new programming environments for you and the kiddos.
- Podcast discussion: Does Everyone Need to Code?
- President Obama Discovers Coding – Yippee!
Veteran educator Gary Stager, Ph.D. is the author of Twenty Things to Do with a Computer – Forward 50, co-author of Invent To Learn — Making, Tinkering, and Engineering in the Classroom, publisher at Constructing Modern Knowledge Press, and the founder of the Constructing Modern Knowledge summer institute. He led professional development in the world’s first 1:1 laptop schools thirty years ago and designed one of the oldest online graduate school programs. Gary is also the curator of The Seymour Papert archives at DailyPapert.com. Learn more about Gary here.