Hello, I'm Peter and I'm new around here. But I've been following this project for quite a few months now; and it really excites me.
When I was 8 my parents bought our first family computer. An Acorn Electron. We subscribed to the programming magazine "INPUT" and my Dad and I trawled our way through hours of BASIC code to make games, programmes and all sorts of interesting things. I loved experimenting, seeing what combinations of code could do different things; taking apart other peoples code and seeing how things worked.
But I saw 'programming' as beyond me for what ever reason. You see, BASIC was one thing, real programming was another altogether, and there was no one around (or any internet!) back in the 80s to teach me or show me there was more. I wish someone had said back then "Hey, look at this C language! It's everywhere!" And so on. So computers became tools that I used with other peoples programmes.
Then the Web came to stay. I got my first internet enabled computer, an iMac, at the dawn of the new millennium. Thanks to the rudimentary Adobe GoLive and Photoshop I made my first 'home page' - an online CV. But, as I discovered just what a webpage was and opened up the 'hood' to look inside, I rediscovered programming - albeit in a small but significant way. A chink of light had made its way back in to my life.
Over the coming years I would get used to HTML and CSS; then I would discover PHP and MySQL. I would realise just what the command line could do and how powerful the UNIX underpinnings of the Mac OS X could be. Strangely, I never once thought that I was a programmer though; that title was unimportant, the code and it's results were the key.
Then a year ago or so deciding I should learn to write for the iOS devices, I decided to take a crash course in C - this was when I realised I wish my 8 year old self had learnt this in 1985. But realising that PHP was just like C anyway, I was most of the way there already. Now I'm programming more and more. PHP, Objective-C, iOS, in OOP and MVC... and I love it.
During 2002-5 I trained as a teacher in Music. Secondary, then primary. I took an interest in the ICT curriculum back then, obviously when at primary having to teach it too. I couldn't believe that we were teaching children how to use PowerPoint, or Word, or Excel. To me that wasn't ICT - it was business and office work! Sure it used computers, but doesn't nearly everything these days? (I'm no longer a teacher).
Now I realise that it is programming that needs to be taught. Real life programming. Start which easy stuff (moving a robot etc) but do that in reception classes and years 1 - 2, even get them to do simple screen drawing things. In year 3 there is no reason why you cannot teaching very basic outline HTML, give it a bit of styling too. In year 4 you can teach them more real life programming. They will see results, but also make things that look like the web they see everyday. Then you tell them, there is work in this.
In year 4 introduce a scripting language of some kind, year 5 - 6 make some real programmes to solve real problems. Secondary school - well!
Fanciful? It wasn't fanciful in the 70s and 80s when thats all you could do with computers anyway. And that is one of MANY reasons why I adore the Raspberry pi project. Children need exposure to this as early as possible, to show them what can be done, what they can achieve and do right now. Their brains will suck up this information, try new things and one day even help make programming a huge asset to the economy. As well as a great hobby.
Sorry if I went on, but I hope some of that was interesting