Great post out there called “Nobody Wants To Learn To Program.”
It’s true of course. Programming is a tool, and tools are defined by the problems they solve. And I see unsolved programming problems all around me. If more people understood what power it had, they would solve those problems for themselves and for me.
But it’s difficult to learn something unless it’s framed by an immediate use. The worst teachers don’t tie their lessons to things that matter. So often in school I felt like a Bedouin in a chainsaw course: WTF am I doing here?*
(That’s what’s so neat about Scott Adams’ idea of a school curriculum built (HA!) around building a house)
Anyway, I only started learning programming when I realized writing macros in excel would make my work life easier. This past year I found a few more uses for it and have massively expanded my programming toolkit.
So now I’m a programming dork, by which I mean that learning about something for its own sake is interesting to me. But ‘regular’ teachers (who are also dorks) teaching beginners from that perspective is ridiculous and boring.
*In that Bedouins (which I know is an incorrect pluralization) live in the desert and there aren’t any trees there and a chainsaw course would be entirely concerned with cutting trees.