Should Computer Science Be A Priority For American’s Kids?

Technology has changed the way we think about education. Tech is about more than just teaching tools, it’s become a teaching priority.

STEM is now shaping curriculum in schools across America. Educators and policy makers are trying to nail down new ways to get kids interested and excelling in technology-based learning—and trying to provide them with the resources they need to become competitive in a tech driven future.

In the last State of the Union address of his final term, President Barack Obama not only stressed the need to continue on this path, he said that a computer science should be part of the education experience for every child in the nation.

However, without a nationwide educational curriculum and computer science courses only available in in about 10% of American high schools, this mission might be quite the challenge. Is one we should face?

Kindergarten_iPadImage Source: Wikimedia

Programming In Grade School?
Even if the resources were readily available, including the hardware, software, and qualified  teachers needed to guide students, does it make sense to have kids writing computer code as part of their high school or even grade school experience?

Proponents of the President Obama’s goal see this as an inherent part of keeping education relevant in a tech-centric world.

Computer science could become as essential as broader STEM subjects like basic mathematics and physics. There’s also the argument that kids are so exposed to computer technology at a young age, that it just makes sense to teach them how it works and how to make it work as they build their skills.

Perhaps most the important point to make in favor of computer science in education is the role it could play in a student’s future skill-set and hireability—provided the demand for STEM jobs has remained if not increased, which is more than likely.

Schulprojekt_an_der_Waldorfschule_Düsseldorf_(4078)Image Source: Wikimedia

Proceed To Code With Caution?
Kids, parents, and professionals in education, government, and the tech industry all have reasons to be excited about such an idea, but not everyone is on board.

Some have raised questions on the long-term effects of teaching kids to code while they’re also learning to read, write, and simply understand the world around them.

From parents to child development professionals, many have question how excessive screen time is affecting mental development, social relationships, personal identity, etc. in young people, particularly small children.

Some question whether putting a generation of kids in front of yet another screen for a greater portion of their day is anything but healthy.

There’s also the argument that we should exercise caution when giving young people access to such a powerful tool without more of a defined approach to using that tool responsibly.

What are your thoughts on boosting computer science education in the average classroom?

Is a smart move for the future or a misguided approach?

Article Sources:
http://www.geekwire.com
http://www.npr.org
http://blogs.edweek.org

James Spader
 

Comes from a long line of American manufacturers and small business owners. His passions have always been journalism and World War II history. When not working, he enjoys cooking and competing in amateur chess tournaments.

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