As I scout through the news to find an inspiration on what to blog about, I am positively encouraged to find at least 2 recent articles of government agencies raising the need to integrate computer science into their public school programs:
Why Chicago is mandating coding education (CNN Money, October 20, 2014)
Why Schools in England are teaching 5-year-olds how to code (Bloomberg, October 16, 2014)
I am highly encouraged with these programs as they talk about not just teaching elementary or high school students to use computers or gadgets, it is actually encouraging them to create their own programs and apps.
My high school (all 270+ students in the batch) wrote our first code at age 14. From there, it was easy to detect who had the natural knack for it and who doesn’t. There is no pattern either, just because you’re good in math doesn’t make you good in coding and vice versa. It simply proves that programming is a totally different discipline that if we anticipate the children of today will need in the future, we should probably teach them as early as now.
From the articles above, you can quickly see from the comments that there is a debate whether they think this program will work or not. Some comments say programming isn’t really for everyone. I had often encounter various point of view on the matter. There is that forever debate on whether programmers are born or made. My personal opinion on it, the really good ones are those that are born with the talent AND worked hard to improve on it. I don’t see how programming is any different from any other subjects in high school that you had to learn and figure a way to pass whether you have a natural gift for it or not. Some kids are naturally good in Math or Physics, while others (like me) have to burn hours and hours just to figure it out. Even when you don’t naturally know how to do it first, doesn’t mean to say that taking more time to learn and practice won’t help you.
The perennial problem is that the demand today is high and will continue to increase in the coming decades. But almost all nations (not just the advanced nations) have a large shortage of good programmers. Kids don’t necessarily have to like it from the start. But who knows, the earlier we introduce it to them, the more kids will find their true calling and passion with programming simply by trying. 🙂 The big nations that ended up being successful in technology (like Korea) are those who had strong support from their government to pursue programs earlier to support their labor and expertise need to get to their vision. I hope our country will also start to explore and do the same. 🙂
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