• Future Speak – or ‘so I made a radio programme’

    15 April 2015

    I’ve been going on a bit about a project called Periton, which seems to have involved train travel, interviews, and recording things. That’s because Periton is a radio programme: a thirty minute documentary, called Future Speak about just what all the fuss about learning to code is, and what the value of programming is to society. Is it just about making more Java developers? Or is it about more than that?

    Look closely and you’ll see that computer code is written all over our offices, our homes and now in our classrooms too.

    The recent Lords’ Digital Skills report says the UK’s digital potential is at a make or break point, with a skills gap to be plugged and a generation gap to be bridged.

    As technologist Tom Armitage argues, there’s also a leap of the imagination to be made, to conceive of the wider benefits of reading, writing, and even thinking in code.

    Future Speak was first broadcast on Tuesday 14th April; it’s repeated at 9pm on Monday 20th April, and is available now at the BBC website. (It’s also Documentary of the week, so should shortly be available for download in podcast form).

    Documentaries are hard work, and they’re a team effort: massive thanks to all at Sparklab, particularly Kirsty McQuire who produced the programme. (What ‘producer’ means on a documentary like this is, if you don’t know: doing all the location recording, background interviews, booking studios, editing, pulling the script together, spending a long while discussing things with me and talking me out of bad ideas, and generally being very patient with a first-time presenter.) Thanks also to David Cook who originally suggested the idea many months ago.