Why Coding Is Important Part Two

In Part one of this blog post I talked about coding with relation to the deep learning competencies and learning skills.  However, there are greater implications of teaching kids to code.  I am a huge science fiction and dystopian fan.  I think I am attracted to the resourcefulness of the characters in the movies and books.  The characters that have hands-on life skills and leadership qualities are valued and survive.  Let me be clear, I do not view the classroom as a dystopian or science fiction society…well…unless we are suffering from a severe heat wave.  I think that understanding the way the technology on which we rely on a daily basis, is a skill worth exploring.  That understanding also builds an appreciation of the work of coders and others in the computer science industry.  After taking 20 minutes to code a square with a small spherical robot a student said to me, “Wow. Can you imagine how much time it took to code everything in FortNite? Every step my character takes, everything it wears or every background must be lines and lines of code.”  That was a pretty serious revelation for a 9 year old.

It isn’t science fiction that there is a huge demand for computer science programmers and developers.  According to Code.org, 71% of all new STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math)  jobs are in computing, yet only 8% of STEM graduates are in Computer Science.  According to the employment website Indeed.com there are currently over 2500 full time job openings in the greater Toronto area in the field of Computer Science with annual salaries between $60,000 and $140,000.  Learning to code increases the odds of securing a lucrative STEM career, especially in a world where computing jobs are growing exponentially. Coding has quickly become a vital skill in the work world.  Elementary teachers can begin to open doors for students by exposing them to coding in a fun and interactive way.  It is safe to say that coding language will develop into something much different before our students get into the workforce.  It isn’t about the “content” or “language” of code.  It is about teaching them a new way of thinking that they could apply to any coding language or problem solving situation.  According to Code.org, many colleges and Universities are looking for experience with coding on entrance applications.  It is difficult to ignore the statistics.

With Alexa, Google, and Apple in homes, cars, pockets and on wrists we know that this our reliance on computers as a society isn’t going away soon. Exposing students to these new learning opportunities to develop their deep learning competencies is necessary for development as learners and in the end, may prove quite lucrative for their futures.

 

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Updated: July 1, 2018 — 10:52 am

The Author

Michelle Fenn

I am a teacher with the Kawartha Pine Ridge District School Board and I have been teaching for over 20 years. In September I have a new position as our Innovations and NTIP consultant. Which helps teachers integrate inquiry based learning into their classrooms while leveraging the digital. When I grow up I want to be Ms. Frizzle from the Magic School Bus.

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