There remains a common misconception that computer coding is something that only Silicon Valley residents and tech geeks need to learn but the reality is that today’s students need to be introduced to the basics of computer coding so they can begin developing the skills that will enable them to write their own programs, create their own websites and develop their own apps in the future.
Simply learning how to use popular software applications such as MS Word and MS Excel may have been sufficient for previous generations but it is no longer enough for today’s learners.
The challenges the world will face when this generation grow up, such as climate change, depleted natural resources, environmental destruction, health epidemics, mass migration and economic instability – will only be successfully overcome with human ingenuity aided by technology and computers. Chances are today’s young programmers will be the individuals tasked with creating solutions for the challenges of tomorrow.
The benefits of putting coding and computer science on the school curriculum are far-reaching, empowering both individuals and communities.As Steve Jobs famously explained, ‘everyone in this country should learn how to program a computer… because it teaches you how to think.’
The development of these computer programming skills require students to collaborate and communicate effectively, while thinking critically and creatively, making coding the quintessential 21st Century skill and one that all students across the globe should be given the opportunity to learn.
There are signs that a number of countries are waking up to the importance of introducing computer science to school students and including it on school curricula. Eventually, coding will become as common place on the school curriculum as biology, physics and foreign languages.
If you are an educator, student or parent, you can make a start by encouraging your local school to get involved with the ‘Hour of Code’ a global initiative which aims to, ‘demystify the art of coding’ and expand student participation in computer science.