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#Google recently launched Project Bloks — a “platform” that will enable developers, educators and designers to work together in order to build “physical programming experiences” for children. This actually has the potential to be a great educational tool — but not in the way Google presents it (or at least not in the way it’s being written about). Our goal as a society should not be to create a generation of pre-teen coders. There’s a reason why, in the United States, for example, a college education still demands a level of proficiency in various topics, as well as offers a bulk of elective credits. Even at 20 years old, most people haven’t found enough intersectionality between what they enjoy and what they are good at to pick a career — so why are we having a serious conversation about grooming children to become software developers before they’ve even gone to middle school? The real benefit of something like Project Bloks is that it actually removes the code; it allows children to begin thinking programmatically, without the obstacle of syntax. And this is a tough distinction to make, because people often use “programming” and “coding” synonymously. But the fact of the matter is thinking programmatically needs to be divorced from writing code: the former offers large educational value to a broad range of students, while the latter offers very little. Jeannette M. Wing actually phrases it, “computational thinking” in her article on the subject, and writes that “Computational thinking is a fundamental skill for everyone, not just for computer scientists. To reading, writing, and arithmetic, we should add computational thinking to every child’s analytical ability.”

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