by Daniel Bell
You may have heard Mark Zuckerberg talking about the new initiative to teach computer programming to children this week. He spoke effectively about the need to expand computer learning in schools, and set kids up for a future in tech. I must say, I wholeheartedly agree with him. Teaching children how to code and program is an essential skill. Especially when you look to the future, and assess the potential job market. It’s a controversial topic, for sure. However, I think the following five points back up this statement, and make a great case for changing the syllabus.
1. The future is in technology!
The dominant industry around us is changing fast. We’re no longer reliant on traditional industry. Instead, the world revolves around technology and computer programming. The biggest companies in the world (Apple, Google etc.) are all tech companies. And, if they’re not tech companies, they’re electronics businesses that feed technology! Startups and small businesses are growing to rule the world, and we need to prepare our children for this future.
2. They are already fluent with technology.
Teaching coding sounds like a daunting thing for any teacher. It’s almost like a foreign language. However, for kids, it’s a natural extension of their daily technology use. I’m a big believer of technology in the classroom (as my readers know!) So, I’ve seen first-hand how fluent children are with mobile devices, tablets, and laptops. It makes sense to go behind the scenes, and learn how these things work. Because they’ve grown up with this technology, it’s a logical step.
3. Diverse learning is always beneficial.
A well-rounded syllabus is essential for growing children. It’s our job as teachers to introduce them to all aspects of the world, and prepare them for the future. A diverse learning experience is the best way to do that. The wider we make their horizons, the more prepared they are for what’s to come. It’s our job to help children find their niche and their speciality. Only by showing them everything that’s out there can we do that. Exploring coding and technology helps give them a more rounded view of the world.
4. It’s empowering.
The ability to create something from nothing is empowering, and children thrive on this! Using coding, they could ultimately create an online shop, complete with Magento support. They could build an app from scratch. These activities are empowering and exciting for young children. It turns creative ideas into a reality, and shows them how to translate their thoughts to an accessible product.
5. It’s an applied extension of maths and science.
Mathematics and sciences are the core aspect of any good syllabus. However, it’s not always easy for children to see how that knowledge is applied in the real world. By teaching coding and computer programming, they get a sense of how maths works in real life. It’s a chance to apply all the theories they learn, and see it in action. Maths and science is the foundation of coding, and a natural extension.