Reading14:School’s Out

I do not feel that coding is the new literacy, but that does not mean that computer science education is at a proper level in the United States. I feel what should be emphasized, especially in younger years, is not learning a programing language itself, as one of the articles says, they change extremely quickly and just learning how to use a programing language would not be overly helpful. What is more important is learning the computational thinking described in the Mother Jones article. Learning how to think in a computational manner will allow those who are interested in the subject a better foundation on which to build when they actually begin to learn programing languages. For the other students, computational thinking will allow them to learn to better use the tools at their disposal. Take a business major at Notre Dame, do they really need to know how to program the actual application of excel. However if they are able to learn computational thinking, they will be able to use excel to its maximum. This is the same for the future. Most people will not have to actually code the programs that they will be using, someone else will have built an interface and the user can simply maximize their use by better understanding how to ask the computer to complete a task. This idea also works for when people want to work in a team and are trying to develop an app, if they are able to frame the problem in a way that actual programers and better relate into code, the process will run much more smoothly. Therefore, even though everyone shouldn’t be forced to learn a programming language like its reading and writing, they should learn to understand how a computer thinks so that they are able to better take advantage of the tools they have. People that argue that programming should be taught to all focus on the pervasiveness of computers in business and the economy today and assume that the average person will have to interact with them. While this is true, the average person will not have to interact with computers at a code level, instead they will be able to work through a GUI that has been designed to best use the program by programmers.

If CS4ALL continues to push forward as it is right now, schools will face the problem of finding enough qualified teachers to meet the amount of programming that people are trying to have taught. Many of these teachers go into industry after they gain enough experience coding, but even if every school in the country had a qualified computer science teacher, by no means a given especially due to the lack of proper resources to train these teachers, that would still not be enough to have every child have a computer science teacher in every year. Ideally to me computer science would be a required elective taken in addition to core subject areas, and it would focus on computational thinking. Even if programming ability will not be even by the end of a class, I believe that has more to do with interest than any genetic advantage. Some people are just more interested in the types of problems that are involved in computer science. SO while everyone theoretically could earn to code not everyone should learn to code, as I described above, it will not be needed that everyone can code, instead what will be needed is that everyone understand how computers work and think.