To Code or Not to Code

The first computer “terminal” I sat behind was literally that—something I could sit behind. It was itself a desk. It had a built-in keyboard made of keys you had to exert real effort on. I believe they were designed to survive a nuclear catastrophe (which was a real possibility in those days, kids). The monitor, also built in, was simple green type on a black background. So easy on the eyes! It took many of us an entire class period to get through ten lines of code, which was probably written in some form of proto-BASIC.

Then Henry Ford invented the wheel, Steve Jobs was first to set foot on the moon, Bill Gates and Al Gore built the Internet, and Mark Zuckerberg gave us Facebook from the goodness of his heart in order to save humanity.*

Nevertheless, December 9–15, 2013, is Computer Science Education Week. And Code.Org, in concert with such tech giants as Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, and Google, is pushing for K–12 students to learn more computer programming. They want to turn computer labs into true labs where students learn writing code as opposed to being in an extension of the library.

Yes, they’re looking at kindergarten students as well as high school seniors because, just like a foreign language, computer coding languages may be easier to learn for young minds.

So what do you think, teachers? Opportunities in the working world only continue to grow for people who know computer programming. Are your kindergartners, second graders, or fourth graders ready?


*Some or all of this may not be true.

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