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ACM Opinion

Nobody Wants to Learn How to Program

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boy at blackboard with programming flowchart

Credit: Imgur

I frequently see a problem when people (especially techies) try to teach programming to someone (especially non-techies). Many programming tutorials begin with basic programming principles: variables, loops, data types. This is both an obvious way to teach programming and almost certainly a wrong way to teach programming. It's wrong because nobody wants to learn how to program.

If you are teaching a class of adults who are paying with their own money for an education, then this is an appropriate and direct way to teach programming. But for the casually interested or schoolchildren with several activities competing for their attention, programming concepts like variables and loops and data types aren't interesting in themselves. They don't want to learn how to program just for the sake of programming. They want to make Super Mario or Twitter or Angry Birds.

Here are five pieces of advice to people who want to teach programming or create programming tutorials.

From The 'Invent with Python' Blog
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