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Could coding and computer science become cornerstones of education along with reading, writing and arithmetic? That seems to be the case made in an article published in the Wall Street Journal.
In order to be employable in the 21st century, the article says, children don’t need these skills simply for learning how to program software. They’ll need it to develop “procedural literacy.”
“What’s fascinating about computer science is that it requires analytical skills, problem solving and creativity, while also being both foundational and vocational,” Hadi Partovi, the co-founder of Code.org, told the publication. “I’m not sure there’s any other field that’s all those combined.” Code.org recently published a blog advocating for the inclusion of computer science in core academic requirements.
The article notes that as more software and hardware integrate into our daily routines, and nearly every profession, more people will need to be trained to build them and maintain them, even as the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects 1 million unfilled programming jobs in the U.S. by 2020. Additionally, author Christopher Mims makes a case for coding to become a part of liberal arts schooling. “After all the original definition of ‘liberal arts’ meant the body of knowledge required to participate in civic life, and included what was then known of astronomy and mathematics,” he says.
Software engineers and Code Crew founders Felicia and Jamal O’Garro agree that programming should become a crucial part of curriculum. “Technology is rapidly advancing and whether a child grows up to build software or hardware professionally, developing these skills early on will help them in their everyday lives,” Felicia told Black Enterprise. “I meet people every day who have been able to accelerate their careers and find new opportunities by learning how to code and I feel that any child who acquires these skills will have a tremendous advantage.”
“To get more children excited about learning how to code, I think the curriculum needs to be project based,” Jamal told Black Enterprise, likening the experience of coding to a child being in an art class. “… My motivation came from completing and showcasing a painting or drawing I worked hard on for weeks. I believe this can be achieved today, but instead of working on drawings students can focus on designing and coding software – maybe the modern day art class is a design and programming class.”
He further added: “Learning how to code as a child can be fun, but it also helps children build confidence while also developing the critical reasoning, problem-solving and communication skills that are needed to be successful in life.”
Coding is a tool that has been taught to President Obama, prison inmates and a homeless man, and, from these professionals’ point of views, should be included in K-12 schools to build analytical processes as well as future job marketability.