Does everyone need to be code literate?

A recent tweet alerted me to the fact that “we have a choice between two futures, everyone with code literacy or only an elite few.” Coding has been on my radar for a while, but lately I can’t get online without being bombarded with why I should learn (Computers Free Us to Think in New Ways:  BBC ) or ways I’ll be left behind if I don’t learn to code (Let’s Teach Kids to Code: TED). New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is learning to code (Learn to Code, Get a Job: CNN); even the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy is urging us to “Get with the Programming”! So, I’m wondering, is everyone else on board already? Does the smattering of COBOL and Fortran I learned back in the dark ages count? What are schools doing to prepare? What can NSTA do to help? Let us know your thoughts!

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  1. Danielle Spaete
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 8:32 am | Permalink

    Yes, your Fortran counts. Having learned to program before PCs existed, I have been through many generations of languages. I have even skipped a few and it doesn’t matter. When you decide to learn a new language (or authoring language) all the concepts you learned before still apply. You just have to update some details. It is comparable to when a new operating system comes out. You do the same old things in new ways and learn some new things as well. Coding requires that you think incrementally and this is good training for all kinds of thinking. Some languages are easy to teach young students and can serve as a beginning for other more complex coding later.

  2. Posted February 27, 2013 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

    Thanks Danielle! I was very lucky to live in a city that was the IBM headquarters at the time, so got very early exposure to computers. I had no idea how it was shaping my mind, but now I’m grateful.

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