Fact: I'm not an expert in coding. Fact: I've never created a line of coding in my life. Opinion: I believe coding is one of the most crucial skills students today can learn.
How can I admit I don't know how to code and say coding is important? Well, the coding of my youth was NOTHING like today's coding. Sure, some of the languages might be the same (Basic, Python, HTML, whatever - see? At least I know some of the lingo...bonus points to me), but the access and devices are SIGNIFICANTLY different. When I was in high school, no one could afford a desk top let alone a personal device or three. In college, no one I knew owned a computer. At best we had a fancy type-writer that stored our documents one line at a time. Oooooo. Cutting. Edge.
Yet I was required to take a coding class. As I recall, I failed. The reason I'm confident I failed this class is that I skipped at least 50% of the classes. Why? Because it was not relevant to my life. The only profession to need coding was software engineering, and I was going to be either a music or drama teacher (yes, digest that nugget for a bit).
Today, however, times are entirely different (thankfully). Coding isn't just for software engineers. Students as young as 12 (Maxim Nitsche started developing this Math Tutorial app at 12 that went on the market at 14 - see video below) or younger are designing life-changing apps. Just because they have the ideas and software to do so. Will they become software engineers? Perhaps. Or perhaps they'll be entrepreneurs, interior decorators, teachers, electricians, athletes, who knows...?
Coding is not for the elite. Apple's slogan is, "Everyone can code." And I believe that's true. I'd like to add to that that in today's society, EVERYONE should learn to code. At least a little. Even me.
Not to become the next Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, or Mark Zuckerberg. Rather, to learn serious problem-solving skills, critical thinking, logical sequencing, creative solutions, and a host of other essential nuances.
But how does this differ from when I was in school?
When I was in high school, no one had computers or cell phones. What if I had had the opportunity to influence my technology use? What if I could have had the opportunity to design an app that helped me study? What if I could have designed an app to help me manage my time when it came to the 11 extracurricular activities I was involved with? What if I could understand how the technology I used on a daily basis was built and how it worked? That, I believe, would have been a Total Tech-Over.
They say that a person has an easier time learning languages earlier in life. Coding is a language. It is many languages. I encourage parents of young students and students of all ages to take a look at how coding might change your life. And, in turn, how you can change the lives of those around you.
This is why I'm so excited about what's happening at our school. We're bringing in Code Avengers, a company out of New Zealand who specialises in bringing coding to everyone of any skill level. From beginners to experienced coders, there is something to learn and develop.
We're hosting 2 three-day camps in November and we're looking forward to seeing how our students interact, learn, grow, develop. It'll be epic.
Here's some cool videos for coding inspiration :)
Interview with Maxim Nitsche
12 Year Old App Developer - Ted Talk