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Learn to how to program computers in an hour
just seen on TV

 1:47 am on Feb 6, 2014 (gmt 0)

Slighly embarrassing for us in the UK.

BBC Newsnight programme had Lottie Dexter from the new UK "Year of Code" Government scheme on tonight. A scheme to teach school kids programming, which is a good idea.

Asked "how long will it take to train the teachers" She replied "ONE DAY" !

Smirk from the interviewer Jeremy Paxman.

One day - take longer than that, or I have been getting everything wrong all these years...

What's beats me is
1. the woman is running the scheme ( who also said she cannot code )
2. It's costing the taxpayer 500,000
3. I wonder if anyone asked the teachers.
4. Where do they find these people !

My guess they will just do it in London and get max PR. I would give the link to the website but um... it doesn't work !
runs away and hides in corner


brotherhood of LAN

 1:49 am on Feb 6, 2014 (gmt 0)

pseudo code will get them a long way

print "write a program anyway\n"


 2:07 am on Feb 6, 2014 (gmt 0)

@ brotherhood of LAN
I don't think they would get the \n bit :)

brotherhood of LAN

 2:18 am on Feb 6, 2014 (gmt 0)

I thought so too, but after getting sick of a lack of new lines they can search how to.

Read something not too long ago about 'how good a programmer are you' and what removing an internet connection or search engine would do to coding productivity. For me, I'd do OK but would hit a roadblock here and there and would likely invest in a book or two.

Just enlightening kids about the how's and why's of programming might give them enough interest to go down the rabbit hole. I was taught the basics of chess at school but didn't really develop my skills until playing other people and figuring it out for myself. I don't think many schools will be open at 3am and be serving coffee to keep the programmers going so maybe it'll have to be extra-curricular for those who it interests :o)


 2:20 am on Feb 6, 2014 (gmt 0)

Where do they find these people

Lottie Dexter (now 24) was previously the communications co-ordinator of Iain Duncan Smith's think-tank the Centre for Social Justice.

Hope this helps.



 3:02 am on Feb 6, 2014 (gmt 0)

Thanks - just looked her up. In 2013 she started as scheme called millionjobs to help young unemployed. Obviously that went well then ! She went to Queen Mary College, University of London
When selecting my University I had an interview scheduled at Queen Mary College .. I overslept and couldn't be bothered....


 3:14 am on Feb 6, 2014 (gmt 0)

In 2013 she started as scheme called millionjobs to help young unemployed.

If it helped only one young person it would surely have been worth it.

Especially if that person's name was Lottie.



 8:58 am on Feb 6, 2014 (gmt 0)

For many years my various day jobs included responsibility for specialist training including SQL and structured analysis techniques. My experience is that essential prerequisites are simple algebra and a command of basic grammar.

The first point struck me when I had a trainee who really didn't understand why 1+(2*3) and (1+2)*3 gave different results

The latter point hit me very hard when asked to kick start a project stuck in requirements gathering - learning how to describe the underlying business processes effectively was the problem.


 9:13 am on Feb 6, 2014 (gmt 0)

Government initiatives require researched before investment is undertaken. That's fine, of course. We wouldn't want 'them' spending money without the research, would we!

Where it goes wrong is who they consult over the research.

I did see a report recently about kids using Raspberry Pi to program and make things do stuff. I thought this was a really good idea, and the kids gained valuable experience, in addition to having fun and wanting to do more.
I'm not sure how that scheme was funded as I didn't catch the complete report, but it did seem as if there were some good initiatives.


 9:58 am on Feb 6, 2014 (gmt 0)

I was also surprised when Lottie confessed to Paxman that she couldn't code.

But that might not be entirely a bad thing.

She's wearing the same boots as those to whom she is setting her challenge. So she is going to find out very quickly what is and what isn't realistic.

FWIW I think a "Year of Code" initiative is a fantastic idea. It won't appeal to everyone (of course), but it might help a few schoolkids (and teachers) discover an unexpected new interest.


 7:15 pm on Feb 6, 2014 (gmt 0)

A couple of questions

1. How long is she going to go to jail for/? oh wait, she's making a half million pounds

2. Anyone remember that COBOL was originally sold as a language so simple that you could take any secretary off the floor and make them a coder?

3. At least she isn't trying to teach kids how to be aeronautical or flight engineers by training them with a person with one day of engineering training


 8:51 pm on Feb 6, 2014 (gmt 0)

she's making a half million pounds

I think you are mistaken.

Money from the 500,000 fund will be offered to businesses, hoping to attract industry experts who are willing to match the funding and train teachers to help them to teach children in primary and secondary education how to code.

But Lottie doubtless benefits in other ways.


brotherhood of LAN

 6:05 am on Feb 7, 2014 (gmt 0)

I wonder if she came into this fully aware that her name's an anagram for 'text editor'.


 8:23 am on Feb 7, 2014 (gmt 0)

I found a great quote in an article show wrote for the Guardian:

Learning code, the language used to instruct computers

I have a nasty feeling this is going to end up with kids spending a day learning some basic HTML and that will be taken to mean they know how to "code"


 9:04 pm on Feb 8, 2014 (gmt 0)

I wonder if she came into this fully aware that her name's an anagram for 'text editor'.


But it's Text Editor LE.

As in "Light Edition". That's got to hurt.


 11:32 am on Feb 11, 2014 (gmt 0)

I think a "Year of Code" initiative is a fantastic idea

The idea is laudable, but the implementation does not inspire confidence.

This is a quote from the Newsnight report:

"Half a million pounds has been pledged by the government to train up more than 170,000 primary and secondary teachers".

That is a budget of three pounds per teacher.

Perhaps Lottie is going to send them a floppy disk each.



 7:13 am on Feb 12, 2014 (gmt 0)

They may be getting more money from the "partners" listed on their website.

On the other hand, the rest of their one page website does not inspire confidence. Here is a quote:

Code is the language we use to instruct computers.

We use code to build websites and apps, design clothes, publish books, make games and music, and to get the most from technology.

Getting to know code is really important. It means you can be creative with computers, start your own business or boost your earning potential. It is really simple to learn and anyone can do it - not just rocket scientists.

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