In-reply-to » Recent computer science education research strongly suggests that "computational thinking"--a way of logical/analytical thinking--is distinct from learning to code. Based in part on that research, my wife and I designed and taught a course for several years and wrote a number of articles about it. The latest was titled "Programming Without Code". While I'm not a "no code" evangelist, I strongly believe that pushing the "learn to code" message is pedagogically unsound and intellectually dangerous, and I wish it would stop.

One observation we note from prior research is that gaining fluency in a programming language takes roughly the same amount of time–730 hours, depending on lots of factors–as gaining fluency in a natural language. Most people don’t have 730 hours of free time to spend learning another language, and if they did have that free time there are lots of other things they’d probably need to do with it. Nevertheless, as we demonstrated over and over in our course, students with very limited prior background in STEM can learn a “no code” system for data analysis in a few weeks of class, lab, and homework time–at least an order of magnitude faster. When I say “learn”, I mean by the end of those few weeks they are capable of producing non-trivial data analysis programs on their own.

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