Coding: Should Students Learn How to Code?
Jun 04, 2013
“Everybody in this country should learn how to program a computer because it teaches you how to think.”
- Steve Jobs
During his life, Steve Jobs’ vision for Apple singlehandedly revolutionized the personal electronics industry and turned a brand into a consumer identity. It was Jobs’ ability to think creatively and outside of the box made him a great visionary in his field, but was that a learned skill or sheer luck? Jobs and more than two dozen other icons in the technology industry have shown their support for Code.org, a worldwide initiative to advance the opportunities for computer science education in U.S. classrooms.
Code.org is devoted to the vision that every student in every school should have the opportunity to learn how to code. The non-profit organization projects that by the end of the decade there will be one million more jobs available in computer-science occupations than there are students to fill them. Today, just one in ten U.S. schools are currently teaching coding in the classroom, but advocates believe that computer programming should become a part of the core curriculum alongside science and math courses such as biology, chemistry and algebra.
Some of the tech industry's brightest stars like Microsoft Chairman, Bill Gates, Facebook Creator, Mark Zuckerberg, and dozens of well-known celebrities have shared their personal experiences in a video produced by Code.org to promote the value and importance of a computer science education.
This recent push to introduce coding in the classroom reflects a movement to inspire creativity, tinkering and exploration to the learning process. Beaver Country Day School in Brookline, Massachusetts is making computer science a mandatory requirement for high school graduation. Beginning this year, Beaver Country Day School will be integrating computer science education into its geometry class, followed by arts and music. Students are being exposed to coding in classrooms on the West Coast as well. Aspire Public Schools, a charter network based in California, recently announced the launch of their "Code Aspire" program which is designed for elementary grade students.
As educators, we're constantly looking towards the future to prepare our students for all types of opportunities, including career paths that might not exist today. As a language, coding crosses disciplines, industries and cultures. As a tool, coding allows people to take an idea and make an impact that reaches across the world. Some estimates indicate that one million jobs in America may go unfilled because companies won't be able to find enough people trained in coding to fill the positions. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has similar projections. A 2012 report found computer and mathematical occupations are expected to grow 22% by 2020.
With this momentum, it's important that we anticipate the needs of the future and start engaging students in technology throughout their elementary and high school years. By doing so, we will likely be inspiring the next generation of programmers who will find new ways to change the world. And in our 'World', that's what a 21st century education is all about.
For more information about coding in the classroom and the initiative, visit: www.code.org.