We see big changes coming in education. Understanding technology, and the ability to work with computers, will be vital to success in the 21st century. We see a world in which all well-educated citizens know how to write a simple program, and all technical professionals are as comfortable with programming as they are with using a word-processor or spreadsheet.
As we move toward this future, we will see a shift in the focus of our teaching from "programming" to "computational thinking", from the tedious details of a programming language to the general knowledge of how to solve complex problems by reducing them to a sequence of simple, precisely-defined steps.
We will see computational thinking integrated more fully into our existing courses in math and science. Computational thinking is as important as literature, history, the arts, math and science. It will be taught in conjunction with math and science, even in schools where there is already a separate course in computer science.
Computational thinking is basic knowledge. Programming is necessary to achieve this knowledge, but the teaching of programming in our math and science classes will be just enough to teach the subject at hand. Simple functions are enough for 8th grade algebra students. A senior in physics might create complex objects orbiting a binary star.
PyKata is a tool to learn "just enough" programming. It is designed as an aid for teachers who want to include programming in their classes, but don't feel comfortable with teaching programming. It is also for self-study by busy professionals who would like to use programming in their work, but don't have time for a course in computer science.
PyKata will also be useful for computer science students who may be new to Python. They will move quickly through the exercises and develop fluency in the language without taking time in class. Classes will be more science and less syntax.
We teach the arts, not just for the few who will become professionals, but to enhance the joy we feel when when we understand and appreciate what a top performer is doing. We must do the same with technology.