President Obama Says Teach Programming!
Written by Lucy Black   
Saturday, 16 February 2013

Ladyada, aka Limor Fried, founder and CEO of Adafruit had the opportunity to ask the President of the United States some questions. She inquired about patents, how the president's girls were doing in science and technology and asked: should we teach programming in schools?

A Google+ hangout with the president is a modern version of the Roosevelt fireside chats of the 1930s. In this case five people got the chance to put questions to President Obama and one of them was Limor Fried, the well known entrepreneur and enthusiastic proponent of technical education.

 

adaobama

 

She asked first about patents and what the president could do about patent trolls given the fear that they instill into tech startups. His answer was well meaning but not specific.

Next she inquired after the President's girls and how they were doing at science and technology.

Then the question I suspect we all would have liked to ask:

Limor

"..can we make it an national effort to also add a computer programming language requirement"

President

"I think it makes sense, I really do."

The president then went on to relate a story about Facebook founder Mark Zuckerburg saying that he had taught himself programming because he was interested in games. He expressed the idea that there were probably a lot more potential Zuckerburgs out there who would benefit from being able to bring their skills within the schools system and show that they could use a knowledge of math and science.

“I think given how pervasive computers and the internet is now and how integral it is to our economy and how fascinated kids are with it, I want to make sure they know how to actually produce stuff using computers and not simply consume stuff,”

 

You can see the Ladyada's questions in the following video - the question about programming starts at around 5mins in:

 

Sadly there were no firm promises on how and when programming might be included in school, but now we know that we have a powerful ally who agrees that programming is worth teaching and learning. 

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