So How Far Out of Mind are We?

I just discovered something interesting, something that wasn’t really surprising, but still something those of us in the game of teaching programming should be aware of.

I was just now looking at the call for submissions page for a new, but clearly up and coming conference on technology and education. And I was stumped by a fairly low level problem – if I want to submit a session on programming, which category does it go in? Administrative Technologies? Nah… Equity & Accessibility? Clearly no. Digital Media? Hmmm, maybe. Standards-Based Instruction? Career Technical Education? In fact,  NONE of the categories mention programming as a possible topic. Programming isn’t mentioned at all.

So we have a conference on teaching technology and teaching with technology, and the thought of including programming seems not to have crossed anyone’s mind. Does anyone else see this as a bad thing? While I don’t want everyone to be a programmer (actually I can think of several students I would never want to be programmers 😉 ) I still do think that the process of writing simple programs is profoundly beneficial in several ways.

Writing a program teaches students problem solving and the critical thinking needed to break a problem down into its components and then iteratively build up a solution, not to mention imparting a sense of the problems and limitations, as well as the possibilities of software. And yet it seems that the mainstream of tech ed doesn’t even know we’re here.

To me that means those of us who teach programming have to keep pushing and promoting. And I guess I’ll have to just pick a category and submit anyway. Who knows? They might fall for it.


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