Friday, September 16, 2016

Computer Science–Because it is Magic

Seems like a number of people have been blogging  about computer science for everyone this week. This may well be related to this week’s Computer Science For All Summit at the White House and the announcement of the new CS For All Consortium. Or maybe coincidence. I don’t really know. What I do know is that today brought a post by Mehran Sahami (a really smart guy who teaches at Stanford) called Why Computer Science Education in K-12 Settings Is Becoming Increasingly Essential. It does a very good addressing some of the concerns about trying to teach CS to everyone. But there was one, in my opinion, money quote.

Arthur C. Clarke mused that “any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” Providing a CS education can potentially lead a child who wishes that magic really existed in the world to realize that maybe it does, and inspire them to use that magic for our common good.

Computer science is a lot like magic to a lot of people. I even hear students from time to time explain “It’s like magic” when their program works right. Yes, they do say that.  After all the years I have been writing code it still sometimes feels like magic.

But magic or science, computer science does have the power to change the world for the common good. That is sort of magical itself.

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