At one point if you wanted to do anything on a computer, you had to know a significant amount of coding. But the more and more technology has progressed with apps, mobile devices, etc., it seems less and less coding is required. We asked our writers, “Do you think it’s still important for kids to learn coding?”
Alex believes it’s absolutely still important. “Educating kids about technology and how it works is a crucial part of today’s educational system.” He thinks it’s a great way to get kids interested in the whole process, noting there are many programming tools and languages created specifically with children in mind, like Scratch, that keeps it interesting for them.
“And when you see how excited kids get when they’ve built something that works, it’s clear that code is a great vehicle for inspiring interest in technology.”
Phil’s view is that “coding is not an optional pursuit these days, more of an essential life skill.” He believes today’s kids are used to consuming pre-made media and apps, so it’s important for them to make something they can use for a change rather than just consuming it.
He also thinks “coding is really good for the brain, hardwiring new pathways and connecting areas of the brain dealing with problem solving, language, and creativity.” He sees the Raspberry Pi as a great cost-effective introduction and thinks apps such as Sonic Pi live coding music software are “compelling and easy to understand applications that are fun and instantly gratifying.”
Ada thinks kids only need to learn coding if they want to, as if they don’t, “it’s useless to push them into something they don’t like just to make them hate it.” This was the case with her when she was learning computers back when she was in high school. It’s okay for kids to learn code “if they feel inclined, but they can survive without it for sure.”
Miguel agrees with Ada, noting if they want to learn coding, they will often find the resources on their own. But “if they are not initially the computer-savvy type, it’s probably a waste of time to teach them that skill in the first place.” He notes that most of the best coders he’s worked with have learned the skill on their own. “There is value in being a responsible autodidact.”
I kind of agree with both sides of this issue. I don’t think it’s perhaps as important as it once was, as there are so many programming courses that say “No coding required!” However, I also prescribe to the idea that you can understand a concept more if you know how it works. You never have to do a lick of programming in your life, but if you know how it works, it will help you understand the concepts of technology so much more.
How do you feel about this issue? Do you think kids should always be encouraged to learn coding, or do you think it’s an idea whose time has past? Do you think it’s still important for kids to learn coding? Chime in below in the comments area, and let us know what you think!