Jean Yazbek is a computer science senior at Simón Bolívar University. He is also a research assistant at Lakebolt Research, leading the development of the ZenSheet IDE.
The advent of the information age inevitably put traditional school systems around the planet in a bind. New terms, like digital literacy and computational thinking, were coined to help form our nascent understanding of the issues. There is a lot of debate going on: we started experimenting ideas not long ago and the science is still very young, with just a few comparative studies. We have a lot to learn.
Whether, when, and how to teach programming is part of that debate. For instance, block coding and the illusion of “syntax free” programming was, and still is, touted by many as the way to teach programming. Yet, it turns out it falls short on its promise. That is just one data point in the saga. Combining the ideas of Douglas Engelbart, Stephen Wolfram, and others with our own experience, we propose and demonstrate a “natural path” to learning computational thinking and programming.