CNN recently reported on a video featuring Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg and quite a few others. The article included a link to a youtube video wherein several everyday people talk about how they came to learn how to code. It includes a few celebrities that one would be surprised to learn that they were interested in coding.
I was lucky enough to have access to a coding course when I was in high school. It was a rather neat experience learning how to do complex things with the computers and write software. It wasn’t something that I pursued while I was in University, but it is something that I continue to be interested in.
I do feel that with the increasing prevalence of technology, learning how to make it do new and interesting things is going to be an important skill. I don’t think that everyone should learn how to code, as everyone who is passionate about their field feels that the world would be a better place if everyone knew a bit about their subject. What I do think is important that we teach everyone, is the basic skills of learning and problem solving that can enable them to learn and contribute in whatever walk of life they choose. Too often you talk to people who have gone through school, and all they have come away with is what they think they don’t have the skills or natural talent to do.
Too often I am told by people that they can’t learn Japanese because they didn’t even do well in English, their native language, in school. This is tragic in my opinion, because doing poorly on some essays and reading comprehension exercises should not equate to being poor at language. Rather what should be taught is the strategies used to to learn how to be a more effective essayist, or how to negotiate meaning from highly symbolic literature. People can then translate these skills over to other areas of their life.
Back to the benefits of teaching kids to code, I definitely think that it could be part of applied learning of math for many kids. I do think kids should at least be introduced to basic coding, so that if they choose to continue the study, they have an informed decision when making that choice. As well I feel courses should be offered at all levels of education for coding so that students can learn about coding more in depth if they chose. I know once I become more comfortable with coding, I would love to work part-time with a school teaching students how to code. I do have the credentials to do this, and I think it would be neat if a local school took a chance to teach coding through mobile development. There are so many resources out there that schools could use to teach Android, iOS and desktop application development.
What do you think? Do you that every child should at least take a brief section in school on coding? Do you feel this is where the new sectors of employment are going to be for us in the economies where manufacturing has taken a smaller role? Let me know what you think in the comments below, tweet me @ctriff, or message me on google+.