Computer News in Bangla

Project Bangla Pi: Why I Care about Affordable Computing
March 1, 2016 – 03:30 pm
World on his computer at

bangla_pi2It is ironic that similar to the way computers understand the world with compiled instructions in binaries (0s and 1s), they have divided the world into a binary group system– the group that knows how to use computers and the one that does not.

Most of the supporters of computer education these days start their pitch with teaching everyone coding and claiming that everyone will be computer scientists. While I would love that future, I feel that this pitch is coming from a first world perspective where most of the kids already owns an expensive computer and know about computers and smartphones from an early age. With this we are majorly discounting the rest of the world, where many kids have never seen computers.

Currently the world literacy rate is 84.1% (2013), but the digital literacy rate is much lower than that. With more and more computers being used every day from tasks as simples as writing emails or applying for jobs over internet to more complex tasks such as writing programs or using computers in factories, I don’t think I need to convince anyone that we need to teach young kids how to use computers. These basic computer skills are becoming as important as learning how to read and write. For that purpose we need computers accessible to all kids.

There is no doubt that the world needs more quality educational materials. Khan Academy clearly showed us how we can empower individual students if we just give them access to quality educational contents. The kids can learn themselves. Especially in many parts of the world getting a quality education is hard because of the lack of good teachers.bangla_pi1 While I don’t believe that MOOCs (online video lectures) can be as effective as direct classroom education and solve all of our problems, I believe augmenting classroom study contents could be a great use. For example, when a kid learns about history we can reinforce the learning experience with some multimedia contents. I believe flipped classroom model could be hugely successful if we can find a channel to deliver those contents to the students.

Finally I’d get back to the coding part. The kids who are already using computer for years, they should really learn to code or understand coding. They might not need to write thousands of lines of codes in future, but in this age of machine learning and massive automation, learning to code is going to be an invaluable skill for understanding the world. For example at Harvard, less than hundred students major in computer science every year, but this year 889 Harvard students took CS50, the legendary introduction to computer science class! This clearly shows why you should learn about computer science if you are already privileged to have computers.

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