13 July 2014

Little Brother - Book Review

Little Brother by Cory Doctorow

If ever I read a book that advocates the teaching of code to school kids, this is it!

All teenagers need to read this to think about the implications of technology - about how it helps but more importantly, WHO it helps. It paints a dark portrait of a not-too-distant future in America, where our every move is tracked and analysed. BUT it also shows how those who can get beneath the surface of computers, can change the world.

Computers are not new anymore - but the facade that we see masks what is really going on. Children need to be able to go behind the facade that presents our interface as beautiful and learn to control and manipulate it. The future is not about those who can use a computer because let's face it, two years olds can do that. The future is about children who can get behind the pretty and into the nitty gritty.

Many educators are coming around to this notion and lots of us are introducing basic code into our classrooms (see my post, Future of Fiction), though I read this book after reading an article on how a school in the States had banned it due to its '"lauding" of hacker culture'! What better publicity and what better way to sell a book to a teenage audience than to tell them that it is banned! And that is how I will sell it to my learners next year, when this book goes into my recommended reading pile.