Kids and computing

Girl viewing a laptop.
“…next generation.” Photo by
shared through a Creative Commons attribution license.

The idea for this program hatched after listening to the founder of a local IT consulting firm describe his career path after arriving in Alaska with a philosophy degree. “I looked around for work. There was retail, didn’t pay enough. Or construction, hard on your body eventually.” What else could he do with a philosophy degree?

Listen now:

He wondered if maybe he could lean on his limited computer savvy, gleaned beginning at age 12 when he spent hours playing on a computer his dad brought home from work. By 16, he’d discovered music and girls, and never looked back. Hear what happened on today’s show.

Another prompt for today’s topic was the parent of a local high schooler who wondered if her honors student was acquiring the necessary computing skills she would surely need in college. It seems, the mother thought, that computing is considered a vocational, rather than an essential, skill. Is she right?

One myth you’ll read about in the links below is that of the digital native. Just because they grow up on digital devices does not mean kids know how to boss their laptop around. Texting, tweeting and video games don’t mean you know how to add memory, build a webpage or sort through data. Does that matter?

For perspective, we welcome a stellar panel of tech-savvy adults (including some very satisfied liberal arts majors) with kids of their own, who’ve determined how essential programming really is. They’re forming a grassroots nonprofit to bring basic computers into homes that don’t have them. And they have plenty of thoughts and ideas for parents wondering: Is my kid getting the technical skills he’ll need?

Join us with your questions, concerns and experiences on the next Hometown Alaska.


  • Alaska Hackathon, aka hAKathon, Oct. 18-19, The Boardroom, 601 W. Fifth, second floor


  • Kathryn Kurtz, STEM curriculum director with ASD
  • Andy Chlup, ASD applications manager, elementary education major, parent
  • Geoff Wright, Pango Media founder, philosophy major, parent
  • Doug Weimann, ASD teacher and parent, and fifth graders, calling in from Kasuun Elementary



  • Call 550-8433 (Anchorage) or 1-888-353-5752  (statewide) during the live broadcast (2:00 – 3:00pm)
  • Send email to before, during or after the live broadcast (e-mails may be read on air)
  • Post your comment or question below (comments may be read on air)

LIVE BROADCAST: Wednesday, September 24, 2014. 2:00 – 3:00 p.m. (Alaska time)

REPEAT BROADCAST: Wednesday, September 24, 2014. 9:00 – 10:00 p.m. (Alaska time)

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