There are arguments against coding in schools? This was my initial reaction to this weeks essential question? Why would anyone have a problem with students learning a valuable skill? That is beyond me. So it was with some relief that I read the article “Should We Really Try to Teach Everyone to Code?” by Gottfried Sehringer. His questions were more about what is the benefit to teaching coding and is there a better way to get results than arbitrarily teach everyone to code. Gottfried suggests the we, “Teach them how technology works, so they can understand the realm of possibility and then envision game-changing innovations.” (Sehringer., 2016) He thinks coming up with game changing ideas is more important than learning to code. He thinks creating apps or programming should be so easy that it becomes a drag and drop activity so no one really needs to code.
Jeff Atwood takes this even farther in his article, “Learning Coding is Over Rated.” He sees coding as a low level skill that takes students back in time instead of forward. To him, it is like learning how to repair a car. It is a good skill to have, but not going to be useful for most people in their lives. As he states, “One of the great achievements of modern computing is that we no longer need to be programmers to create, build and get things done with the amazing supercomputers that everyone carries around in their pockets.” What I think he means is that having everyone learn to code is a lot of hype that really won’t give students a step up..
Unfortunately, I must agree with Jeff and Gottfried that everyone doesn’t need to learn to code and this shouldn’t be treated like a new core subject. I do think it is useful and some students would benefit by learning how to code. So the questions becomes, what are the reason we should teach students to code?
In Mark Engelberg’s article, “3 Reasons Coding Should Be a Core Subject” he state the following reasons that coding is important:
- Programming is a skill that has value across disciplines
- Programming is a great way to teach problem solving and higher level thinking skills
- Careers in programming are abundant and pay well
Mark even has some good responses to excuses as to why we shouldn’t code. They include:
- Coding doesn’t need to be taught as a stand alone subject. It can be integrated into science and math.
- Coding is no longer expensive. There are lots of free or cheap resources on the web that can help teach coding.
- You can use offline puzzles and logic games to help teach coding.
To wrap up, coding is an important skill that some students will benefit from and there is no major reason not to teach coding to most students besides competing for time with other subjects. Unfortunately, I didn’t read any compelling reason that we should teach coding to every student.
Atwood, J. Learning to code is overrated: An accomplished programmer would rather his kids learn to read and reason. Daily News. Retreived on 6-21-16 at 2:15 pm. Found at http://www.nydailynews.com/opinion/jeff-atwood-learning-code-overrated-article-1.2374772.
Engelberg, M. 3 reasons coding should be a core subject. Retrieved on 6-21-16 at 2:27. Found at http://gettingsmart.com/2015/09/3-reasons-coding-should-be-a-core-subject/.
Sehringer, G. Should we really try to teach everyone to code? Mendix. Retrieved on 6-21-16 at 2:05. Found at http://www.wired.com/insights/2015/02/should-we-really-try-to-teach-everyone-to-code/ .