Should all kids today learn how to code? This was a discussion that came up recently on Facebook, when a friend reported that her son's elementary school was considering adopting a new coding curriculum for kids as young as 5 years old. Her concern — one that was shared by many of the other parents in the group — was that not all kids are going to grow up to be techies, and forcing them all down that road might change the way they respond to other pursuits.
It seems that coding instruction is the new hot topic in the education world. A dozen start-ups have launched just this year with the goal of providing coding instruction to kids from kindergarten up through high school. Last year, MNN's Business blogger, Melissa Hincha-Ownby, announced that she would be teaching her kids to code over summer vacation. Hincha-Ownby had a number of reasons for taking on the task, not the least of which was that "people who know how to write code, including web developers, are in a hot growing industry."
But does that mean that every kid should be taught how to code? Many supporters say teaching kids how to code at a young age will help them learn the "language," before they have a chance to be intimidated by it. While detractors feel that not all kids are going to work with computers, so that instruction time could be better spent on the traditional topics of reading, writing and arithmetic.
In this recent-ish TED talk, Mitch Resnick, director of the Lifelong Kindergarten group at MIT Media Lab, outlines the benefits of teaching kids how to code — so that they can interact with new technology rather than simply react to it.
What do you think? Should computer coding be part of every child's education?
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