Why teach coding?
Simply put, coding can change and impact people’s lives.
The effect technology — as a result of computer code — has on this world is incredible. What used to be thought of as impossible is now made possible. What’s more amazing is that our technological accomplishments always open up new realms of possibilities. Cellphones, for instance, didn’t stop at phone calls — they led to streaming music and eBooks and brain teasing games and the ability to map the night sky.
This suggests that learning technology and its underlying language — coding — is extremely powerful.
This is the fourth in a six-part series titled Making in Schools.
Since the dawn of the industrial revolution, roughly 125 years ago, American schools have looked roughly the same. At its heart, our system has been driven by two organizing principles:
- Students should be organized into classes by age and subject.
- Content should be delivered in a standardized order and at a standardized pace.
While this system may have been functional in preparing students to work in steel factories or cotton mills, ensuring that each graduate of the system had similar skills/knowledge and were used to working according to a standardized, regimented schedule, it’s not holding up to the demands of today.
On Wednesday, I retweeted President Obama’s support of Ahmed Mohamed, the now famous Texas teenager whose homemade clock was mistaken by school officials for a bomb.
The story, as well as the tweet, had gone viral. Although painful, the story spurred conversation about education, which was encouraging. I, like the President, realize the potential of an inspiring science education. That said, it did not take a rocket scientist – although Ahmed is one in training – to realize that the story was also deeply rooted in institutionalized biases towards Muslims. So, I balanced the welcomed dialogue about STEM with the grim reality of the pervasive racism that ended with a 14-year-old student in cuffs.