If you haven't seen the video, check it out here: http://www.code.org/
I've been reading a lot of negative posts on various tech sites about that video. Some of the biggest complaints are the selection of people in that video.. particularly that some of them most likely don't actually code at all. I've read suggestions to have more well known computer scientists in the video as a way to pitch CS for "real".
My take as a high school programming teacher AND computer science degree holder (from Penn State University) is that people outside of education are completely missing the point. This advertisement targets the people making decisions about education as much as it does the students it is trying to engage. One suggestion I read was to put guys like Linus Torvalds in the video.. no offense to Linus, but he is *not* the person to pitch computer science to the masses. Not because what he has done isn't important, but because he can't connect to regular people on the level that some of the people you see in that video can. The people holding the purse strings have to realize that this is something actually important. Guys like Bill Clinton/Gates, Zuckerberg, etc. have the clout to actually convince them.
Think about your programming experience in high school. How many classes did your school have? What was the credentials of your programming teacher? Right now it is mostly the biggest schools with a lot of tax resources at their disposal that can afford to include programming classes. But computer science definitely not a priority in our education system.. but there are forces at work trying to push things in a different direction. This code.org video is another effort to do exactly that.
In fact, most states (it most likely is all states, but I'm not positive) do not have a computer science certification for teachers. It falls under either math or business education.. and the degrees that these people get typically require exactly one programming class sometime in their freshman/junior year. That is the state of things..
The point I'm trying to make is that we desperately need *some way* to start engaging the public on the idea that simply focusing ALL of our efforts on math/reading is not going to do much for our youth. We need to be able to expand their ability to think critically and think logically, and computer science is one such place where problem solving is everything. More importantly, it gives students an opportunity to solve problems in a way that is enjoyable.
The more people you can draw in and give the opportunity to at least explore what programming is about, the more truly talented individuals you are going to see entering the field.
Edited by Michael Tanczos, 28 February 2013 - 10:39 PM.