As a child of the 80s, BFTF has always had a soft spot for programming and laments the fact that todays PC's no longer boot up into a programming environment like the ZX Spectrums used to "back in the day".
Similar thoughts have clearly been going through the minds of others and one result of this has been the Raspberry Pi project, which aims to give kids a low cost computer that can handle video and is programmable, just like the they were in the 80s (well, apart from the "can handle video" bit). BFTF's spin off sciency blog www.nottinghamscience.blogspot.com has had the chance of interviewing Eben Upton, one of the Trustees of the Raspberry Pi foundation and you can read a transcript of all the best bits of the interview here
Following on from this, BFTF was talking to a secondary school teacher of ICT and suggesting that they look up the Raspberry Pi project. BFTF followed this up with a rather heartfelt email :
"I thought you might be interested in looking at the Raspberry Pi project, which will very soon be selling small, really cheap computers that give kids a chance to experiment in the same way I was able to back in the 80s :
www.raspberrypi.org.It pains me that students are not taught about programming, or the components of a PC, or data farms, or how a CD works, or logic gates, or what a transistor is, or the difference between machine code and a programming language.I cannot see how he can succeed in this field without this information.
It really breaks my heart.
"The work you are doing feels, to me, more like a social science course than anything about computing. During our discussion today I was waiting for the bit where you told me what he was learning about computers, as opposed to design or specific software packages, but it never came."
BFTF received a reply saying that the teacher would feed these comments to the heade of department and also supplied a link to where kids could learn some of these coding skills. The teacher pointed out that they were available during lunchitmes to provide addtional help and to answer questions.