LLU Live #7: Programming as a “foreign language”

This entry is part 7 of 25 in the series LLU Live

(image credit: fake bokeh robot, © CC BY-NC 2.0 by Balakov)

Late last month, Edutopia (the official website of the George Lucas Educational Foundation) published an article advocating four separate ideas:

  1. programming languages can be equated with foreign languages;
  2. “programming” is THE global language;
  3. coding should be a required part of the college curriculum; and
  4. coding should be taught in place of foreign languages.

This is absolutely not the first time this viewpoint has been publicized; there is a long history of assuming that because both disciplines use the word “language” that the two are similar, or even interchangable. Interestingly enough, that interchangability only seems to go one way, with plenty of people arguing that programming can replace Spanish (for example), but nobody suggesting Spanish should or can replace programming …

Anyway, during today’s live broadcast at 4pm Eastern, we’ll discuss the idea of programming as a foreign language. (Spoiler alert! I have strong feelings about this topic.) Instructions for participating and/or watching are available on the Live Events page, and the recording of the session will be available here shortly after we wrap up. I hope to see you all this afternoon!

Series Navigation<< LLU Live #6: Open Education Resources / Repositories for Language Teaching and LearningLLU Live #8: Workflows >>

Ryan has been proudly maintaining and contributing to Language Lab Unleashed since 2005, and is the current President of SWALLT. Since the summer of 2013 he's been causing trouble with his all-star colleagues in the UMW DTLT; when not wrangling websites Ryan can be found doing strange things with heavy objects.


  1. Barbara · November 14, 2013 Reply

    You? Strong feelings? I’m shocked. Looking forward to it!

  2. Laura · November 16, 2013 Reply

    Can’t wait to hear the recording. Sorry I missed participating! I totally disagree with the idea that programming should count as a language. The two are not the same. Those I do agree that there are some similarities in logically thinking in learning a new language and in learning programming. It’s similar for learning writing and learning programming. But doesn’t mean they’re interchangeable.

    • Ryan · November 17, 2013 Reply

      Thanks for stopping by, Laura! The recording is now available — I look forward to hearing what you think. Maybe we’ll see you on an upcoming episode? (I know 4pm can be a tough timeslot for K-12 folks.)

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