Coding Immersion

I grew up attending the French Immersion School in Milwaukee. My kids attending the German Immersion School (MGIS). We all benefitted from these experiences. We learned a lot, and it stuck with us. As someone who deals with code on a daily basis, I was intrigued by the idea of a Coding Immersion School when I saw that Sioux Falls, South Dakota, was implementing several.

I am going to assume that coding immersion is a little different from language immersion, even though code is in another language. On the other hand, since it is another language, I can also understand why a school would want to immerse students in it. While I can only guess how coding immersion works, I can understand the concept as to why it would be useful.

Back when I was in a French school, we learned how to speak in French without the use of Google Translate. Unfortunately, without practice, I do need a little help if I’m going to communicate well in that language today. The fact of the matter is that Google Translate exists, and its vocabulary is huge compared to my own, so if I’m writing in French, it’s there for me. My French is still there, but it’s not nearly as useful as it once was. That would be my only concern about sending my own kids to an immersion school: will it help them after all the work? Knowing German, in my opinion, is probably less useful than knowing French, but that was the right school choice for my kids. They may never use it a lot, especially now that we’ve moved to another city without the program, but it’s still a real language that real people use.

I am not sure if coding fits into being a real language that real people use, especially as we consider the future of coding. I assume, like Google Translate, that coding will get easier and easier. I also assume that knowing the basis for those translations could help. Maybe knowing code will eventually be like knowing Latin. You can’t use it exactly as is, but you know how things got the way they are because of the underlying language. That said, there aren’t any Latin immersion schools that I know of.


Wait, I’m not saying coding will be dead in a few years. I’m just assuming people won’t need it the same way as today, so I wonder how it can be taught in order to be future-proof. I am sure the companies who run these immersion programs could tell me something that might make sense at the sales presentation, but I just have a gut feeling it won’t be as useful as they might imagine right now. Then again, I just thought of a scenario that defeated my own argument at bit: when I wanted to make some of my pages amp-ready for Google, I had to mess with code in a way I had not done in a few years of website building. But that was mostly because I did not want to pay for the paid version of the plugin I was using. But it was something. And hacking. Not that I’ve ever hacked, but trying to find the dirty hackers’ code on one of my aging websites gave me several headaches. When the antivirus software didn’t seem to do enough, I was opening files and looking for the code myself.

Do we need coding immersion schools where kids learn to create apps that have characters that dance to music? I don’t know, maybe. My in-laws were concerned our kids would never learn English properly if they only learned German, but they did just fine, so I’m sure coding kids will learn other stuff well. And maybe it will help with math and logic. Or memorization. Right this second, coding is a great skill to have, but kids learning it today will not be employable for a decade. The foundation will be there, and maybe it can be useful. Personally, I won’t try to get my kids into a similar school in my area, but that’s because they already have a language. If I had kids who were just starting out, I might give coding a chance.

By the way, if you are teaching coding using Chromebooks, check out the Cranium Chromebook link above.

Jacksonville News

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Articles, reviews, advice, and legitimate research to go along with some back-handed comments. Think of us as Jacksonville's mother-in-law.
  • Only In Florida: Millionaire Stealing From Kmart
    Where else would a guy who owns an $8 million private island and a Real World House decide to steal from Kmart? Nowhere else. Only in Florida. I thought that it was uniquely Florida when three guys walked right into a Walmart and stole the arcade claw machine, loading it into their pickup truck as if they were going to service it. But those guys were probably unemployed or at least poor, so it was just a badly-hatched plan. So was the plan to buy items at Kmart and then return different items in the boxes. But the Kmart plan was devised by a guy with enough capital to purchase an $8 million island, so it's even more odd.

    With how easily the man was caught, I have to assume he was not a career store scammer. There's no way that someone who tries to steal $300 from Kmart (minus the value of the items that were returned in the boxes) has pulled it off enough to become a millionaire.

    Maybe he figured he'd be safe once on his own island. He could use his new Keurig every morning as he watched the sunrise over the ocean. I assume his new island didn't have a basketball court, since that's the item he stuffed into the coffee maker box when it was returned.

    Normally, people who become millionaires don't steal small stuff, unless it's lots of small stuff, like fraudulent billing of patients of your healthcare company. I wonder if this man can plead the 5th and get out of any responsibility for stealing from Kmart. Perhaps that's all it takes to get away with stealing when you're rich; I wouldn't know.

    Anyhow, no man is an island entire of himself. He needs stuff, even if he is technically living on a private island. I suppose the monthly mortgage on an $8 million island might get a little steep. At 20% down on a 30-year loan, the island would run $30,260 a month. That's probably about what an average Kmart sells in a month. I'm kidding, I think. This guy was probably just strapped for cash after having spent over $1.5 million on a down payment, so he needed some necessities, like a Keurig coffee machine.
  • Followed Home in Jacksonville
    A neighbor was recently followed home by a white SUV, and the comments on Nextdoor were all over the place. I think there are several angles to consider here, even though most of the people commenting were fairly single-minded in how they saw the situation.

    Call the Police
    Most reactions were that of calling the police. This was 1:30 in the morning, and a man was being followed all the way to his home, and when the man turned away, he was also followed right up to the point he entered a 24-hour gas station. One comment was to call the police while being followed. That's good advice, so long as you weren't drinking at your friend's house until 1:30, which I have to assume was the case. When the police show up to help you out, the white SUV will be long gone, and you'll be asked to exit the vehicle for a little test.

    Back in Milwaukee, my car got broken into while I was at a friend's house. We yelled at the kids as they tried to hotwire the car, and then called the police as they ran away. We'd been drinking a little bit, so it was surprising that the cops got the car fully hotwired for me and sent me on my way, broken back window and all. That was 20 years ago and in Milwaukee (Beer Capital of America). I don't expect any breaks like this in Jacksonville, so my advice would be to do exactly what this guy did if you've had a couple of drinks.

    Ask The Police
    Another theory is that the car was an undercover police car "running tags." These folks suggested the man call the police and ask. The problem is that since following someone around and running the tags is probably illegal, even if that was happening, I doubt it would be confirmed. Therefore, asking the police would not get a definitive answer.

    I've personally seen this happen, back in suburban Milwaukee. Cruisers would be at a stop light behind a car and on a laptop. Even though it was considered to be against the rules, it probably happened all the time when those computers were first installed. I think this behavior has been cracked down on to some extent, but an officer might still follow a car with a broken tail light just to see if the driver seems to be swaying around in his lanes, especially at 1:30am.

    Be Relieved
    One neighbor, to the consternation of most other neighbors, said that there was no proof the occupants of the car were up to no good. It's certainly true that no obvious crime occurred, even if most of us would consider following someone at 1:30am to be unacceptable, criminal-like behavior. If nothing else, the intent was to frighten the man. Whether it was a criminal, a cop, or a concerned citizen, when you follow someone all the way home at that hour, you want to frighten the person (or sneak up behind him). Georgia has a stalking law that might be applicable here, but I did not see one for Florida, where stalking is more about "a person who willfully, maliciously, and repeatedly follows, harasses, or cyberstalks" someone else. That means that criminals can legally stalk a dozen potential victims each day and never be breaking any law.

    Man or Woman, Do This
    If this kind of thing happens to you, it might seem to make sense to get home. The problem here is that you are leading someone to your house, even if they bail. They might now assume you work a late shift. Maybe they were following you to seek revenge for cutting them off, and they'll tag your garage door later on. And maybe, they'll be faster to the weapon than you.

    Therefore, it's recommended that you lead them back out of your neighborhood, just like the man in the story did. Take them to a public place and call the cops. If you're a little intoxicated, maybe wake up a dozen friends and round up the posse. I'd try to get to a public place where I know there are obvious cameras mounted. Even when you get somewhere more public, it's probably not a good idea to reach for your gun or tire iron right away. At least fake dial and talk on your phone before you get out of the car. You could probably hit the old panic button on the car, too, since noise tends to ward off criminals. At least I'd do some of that stuff before I decide to escalate the situation.