Moving America Forward

Today’s Classrooms Are Now Teaching Tomorrow’s Techies

May 15, 2014
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Today’s Classrooms Are Now Teaching Tomorrow’s Techies
Governor Neil Abercrombie via Flickr Creative Commons
As schools look to the future, they see computer programming to be a necessary skill.

Remember the days when you were better at explaining the internal workings of an iPhone app than your 12-year-old niece was? Well, take note: Your superiority in that department is headed the way of the VCR.

As the New York Times reports, across the country, public school systems in major cities are shifting their thinking on computer programming classes, bumping them up from elective-only status to full-fledged requirements for all students.

Take Chicago. Within five years, the Windy City’s public schools plan to make computer science a prerequisite for graduation. Additionally, the district plans to offer coding classes in a quarter of its elementary and middle schools by that time as well. In New York City, the coming school year will bring 60 newly-trained teachers (across 40 schools) to impart computer programming on students.

And this tech movement doesn’t stop with just major metropolitan areas. In nine states, students can earn now core math and science credits when they sign up for computer classes.

A nonprofit called Code.org is doing its part to push the mainstreaming of basic coding classes in schools by offering free curriculums for teachers’ use. These programs game-ify the arduous task of young children learning to code by using, for example, the popular app Angry Birds in an effort to make lessons fun. To do this, the curriculums developed by Code.org — which is funded in part by big tech names like Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg — borrow from a visual programming language called Scratch, which was developed within MIT’s Media Lab in 2007.

So what can you learn from all this? Well, it sounds like now’s a good time to start spoiling your niece. After all, she’s going to be the one you’ll be calling for tweaks to your website in just a few short years.

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