Coding instruction is everywhere these days! New York Magazine just published an interesting piece by Jeff Wise on coding, kids, and the computer skills gap. As he elaborates, the recent push in computer science education comes not just from tech industry bigwigs, but from parents- the article cites statistics saying that demand for computer-science tutors in New York City has doubled in each of the past two years. Computer science is the highest paid career for college graduates–but is the industry creating jobs faster than we can fill them? And will parents, as in the families Wise writes about, turn to outside resources if schools are not providing enough programming instruction?
As Wise writes, “By 2020, the industry expects to have a million more positions than it can fill. Nine out of ten U.S. high schools don’t offer computer programming, and fewer than one college student in 40 graduates with a degree in the field.”
Parents are now investing in programming instruction for their children at the same time as organizations such as Code.org launched its “Hour of Code” initiative this month, where teachers in 160 countries devoted an hour of class time to the fundamentals of programming (Students wrote 500,000,000 lines of code in a single week!). Coding, once simply a side hobby for nerds, has now become the golden ticket for the 21st century- but questions of accessibility and availability of instruction remain.
In an article on Edutopia, Anna Adam and Helen Mowers ask, Should Coding be the “New Foreign Language” Requirement? The benefits of multilingualism for the brain have been well-documented, and it turns out learning programming languages is no different: “In terms of cognitive advantages, learning a system of signs, symbols and rules used to communicate — that is, language study — improves thinking by challenging the brain to recognize, negotiate meaning and master different language patterns. Coding does the same thing.” They argue that, “Because of its ubiquity, because it takes the mystery out of technology and because it allows students to control (not just consume) technology, coding should be a curriculum staple along with reading, writing and arithmetic.”
New York City is taking steps in the direction of programming education, opening the doors of its first programming-oriented public high school, the Academy for Software Engineering, a year ago. Initiatives are under way to bring computer-science education to all the city’s public-school kids within ten years. Do you think computer programming should become a requirement in schools? Should entire schools have programming as a focus, like arts or achievement magnet schools?
Programming is the next big thing in education and in tutoring, and we are excited to stay on top of its development!
Written by: Editorial Team, My Learning Springboard, Inc.