Software & Preparing Kids for the Future

Two great articles that should be read back to back: Why Software is Eating the World & How Do We Prepare Our Children for What's Next?

Venture capitalist and Netscape co-founder, Marc Andreessen's article notes that "more and more major businesses and industries are being run on software and delivered as online services."
As a result, "software programming tools and Internet-based services make it easy to launch new global software-powered start-ups in many industries—without the need to invest in new infrastructure and train new employees."

He asserts that "companies in every industry need to assume that a software revolution is coming. He goes on to predict that "health care and education, in my view, are next up for fundamental software-based transformation. My venture capital firm is backing aggressive start-ups in both of these gigantic and critical industries. We believe both of these industries, which historically have been highly resistant to entrepreneurial change, are primed for tipping by great new software-centric entrepreneurs." This statement provides a perfect segue to Tina Barseghian's 'How Do We Prepare Our Children for What's Next?' article.

By highlighting the work of Cathy Davidson, author of 'Now You See it: How the Brain Science of Attention Will Transform the Way We Live, Work, and Learn', we begin to see that to prepare our children for the future we need to encourage them to be responsible digital citizens. This includes providing them with an opportunity to become familiar with the building blocks of programming that drives the software that as Andreessen's says is "eating the world".

Davidson recommends that children experiment with Scratch, but they could also use Kodu. I still have a fondness for the HyperCard program that I used with my student in the 90's for the same purpose - to encourage students to be creators and not just consumers, to provide students with a basic understanding of what happens in the black box that drives their games, apps, computers ...... world.

Digital citizenry requires us to be informed decision-makers. Having an basic understanding of the technology and software that increasingly influences business, government, health and education, is and will be an essential skill for global citizens in a technologically-enhanced, flat world.

References

Why Software is Eating the World http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424053111903480904576512250915629460.html

How Do We Prepare Our Children for What's Next? http://mindshift.kqed.org/2011/08/how-do-we-prepare-our-children-for-whats-next/