|“But I don’t want to go among mad people," Alice remarked.|
"Oh, you can’t help that," said the Cat: "we’re all mad here. I’m mad. You’re mad."
"How do you know I’m mad?" said Alice.
"You must be," said the Cat, "or you wouldn’t have come here.”
Aside from coding (and more on that in a minute), pretty much everything about computers and their use impedes the spirit of the Next Generation Science Standards.
If the goal of the NGSS standards is to create scientific thinking in a child, then the child must be immersed in the natural world, swimming in the sea of sensations outside of our artificial universe of screens.
Everything on a screen is reduced to pixels and sampling, following algorithms--the foundation of reality in a machine is defined by humans.
The natural world cannot be captured intact by the models we create.
|An impossible being that visited me one evening.|
Coding for schoolchildren matters. It helps develop a working sense of logic and presents interesting challenges for young brains. I could say the same for solving Sudoku problems or learning to use a slide rule. All of these have value for similar reasons.
What separates coding from other exercises is the potential for a child to see the machine for what it is; to develop a feel the algorithms beneath the life we now impose on humans, to expose its artificiality.
If a child gets that, she just might see the cultural delusions that limit her ability to see the universe around her.
Still, in a world where we have become the gods, where artifice becomes reality, a child may never know what she's missing when she no longer notices the earth around her. And maybe that's the point--a child less distracted by reality will be that much more compliant when she's sitting in her corporate cubicle.
Science starts with the mud between a child's toes.