It is a truism in technology and among programmers that there are never enough qualified programmers and that people are in general just not as tech savvy as they should be to thrive in the modern world. Like all truisms there is an element of truth to it – there are never enough good programmers and if people were more tech savvy they probably would do better at most things. Thirty years ago the BBC ran a series of programs and a campaign tied in with Acorn BBC micro’s to encourage children to program and become more technical. At the time there was a lot of controversy as to if being so tied to a piece of hardware that was specialist even then was a good idea but time seems to have shown it worked well. Speaking personally I remember the first computer I used was a BBC Micro and it was also the first system that I programmed on and made me interested in tech.
The BBC is going to try and do it again in 2015. The new initiative will partner them with a number of technology companies and organisations with Microsoft, BT, Google and Samsung, and education groups including Code Club, CoderDojo, De:Coded and Codecademy mentioned so far. A series of Bitesize shows and online sites will be complimented by tech themed TV shows including:
- Technobabble – an app and gadget-themed show made by the team behind Newsround, designed to encourage its audience to expand its computer skills
- Appsolute Genius – a spin-off of the existing CBBC show Absolute Genius – in which the hosts, Dick and Dom, interview prominent computer programmers, including the creators of Sonic the Hedgehog and Pac-Man. The show will also run a competition in which one child’s idea for a video game will be picked and development of the title will be tracked over a 12-week period before it is released for free to PCs and mobile phones
- Nina and the Neurons: Go Digital – five episodes of the CBeebies show that will explore 3D printing, coding and driverless cars
There are to be more elements to tie in with the ongoing changes to the national curriculum which is seeing programming being emphasised from age five but we will have to wait to a later date for this information and even the name of the initiative. It remains to be seen if this can inspire but if it manages to make the next generation a little more happy with the concepts behind programming it will have been worth it.