So a bit ago I found this piece on Coding Horror about a fascinating paper demonstrating that the ability to program software depends upon an essential knack ... and that, stunningly, you can easily test for that knack.
It is as if there are two populations: those who can [program], and those who cannot [program], each with its own independent bell curve. Almost all research into programming teaching and learning have concentrated on teaching: change the language, change the application area, use an IDE and work on motivation. None of it works, and the double hump persists. We have a test which picks out the population that can program, before the course begins. We can pick apart the double hump. You probably don't believe this, but you will after you hear the talk.
Now via Gretchen Anderson I learn that Estonia is planning to teach programming to primary school kids starting in first grade. The big question in my mind is whether catching kids early enough will inscribe that talent into all of them. And if so, what are the implications for cognitive development?