How can the United States (and other countries) stay technically literate?

Thanks to plastic bricks from Denmark, kids in the United States (and all around the world) are learning to program at age 8. I had the priviledge of coaching a young team of NC kids (9 to 11 years old) to win the NC State Championship in FLL in three years. The Microbots were a dedicated group of kids, none of whom knew how to program when they started FLL. One of these kids quit football to dedicate himself to programming. I tell folks about this program all of the time. If you have a child, aged 8 to 13, and you don’t think that he/she will be a pro-football player (wow – the odds are 1:a gizillion) when he or she grows up, get them on the leading edge of technology (oh and he/she can play with plastic bricks too).

OK – so you have an older kid? There is a corresponding program for high school kids. Microsoft has graciously sponsored Team Awkward Turtle, a high school team from Southwest Wake County in NC (four local high schools and the home schoolers too). Check out this robot! High school kids built and programmed this! I spend a fair amount of my time training the next generation to be great!

I recently showed pictures of the team to a researcher from China. He said that they didn’t have anything like this happening in their high schools. I say this not to knock on China. I am so sure that it is just a matter of time before they are doing this too. My point is, your sons and daughters will be competing with these kids (from all over the world).

I love watching football and look forward to spending my Monday nights watching the stars but I will feel much better about the world at large if more people were doing this on their weekends like I am.


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