Let's start with a couple of definitions. Algorithmic work is routine. A process has been defined and the work simply involves following the well defined steps in this process. The worker is taught the process and expected to follow it without error. I am reminded of the work I did at Jeep Corporation while paying my way through college. Most of the jobs I did involved algorithmic work. One way to look at algorithmic work is that which can be automated by a computer or robot. There isn't much of a future for humans who do algorithmic work.
Heuristic work requires a person. It's work for which no algorithm exists. It demands creativity and problem solving skills. While computers are excellent at speed and accuracy, humans are excellent at creativty and flexibility, skills required to perform heurisitic work.
As parents, one of our jobs is to prepare our children for the job market by helping them discover their gifts and passions and provide a pathway for them to follow these. Having taught college computer science for 30 years, I'm a firm believer in teaching ALL CHILDREN the skill called computational thinking. This does NOT mean to think like a computer, rather it means to learn how to solve problems using computers while applying the creativity and flexiblity at which humans excel.
The best place to start - expose your kids to the art of programming computers. This will provide the following direct benefits:
There are many ways to easily expose your children to programming. Recently, I came across 2 excellent apps I highly recommend.
LEGO MINDSTORMS' Fix the Factory - students are incrementally taught how to program a robot to solve basic to more advanced tasks
This app is free and very easy to learn. At each level it introduces the student to additional programming commands. The interface is highly graphical but as a result can be a little slow as you advance to more complex problems. Overall, it is an excellent app that I highly recommend. It is a great way to prepare young students (grades 3-6) to programming concepts they can apply to a real robot, the LEGO Mindstorm. We plan to introduce this app to at Ci 3.0 Junior Day Camp.
Lightbot: Code Hour - very addiciting, before they realize it they are learning to program loops and procedures. This environment, though less graphically intense, runs faster than Fix the Factory.
Both of these games are well worth setting up for your children to experiement with and will assist you in preparing them for 21st century heuritics work.
Another tool to assist you in this parenting task is to enroll your child in one of our Ci Summer Camps. Part of our mission is to inspire kids in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) in a mind engaging, hands on week of camp. For details on this summer's schedule, go to https://campinfinity.com/camps/.