For today’s educational idea, I want to talk about the concept of computer programming, and why I think it’s important that students of all levels take part in learning at least the basics of this essential skill.
Firstly, let’s talk about why you would want to learn to program in the first place. Like it or not, programming is an absolutely essential skill that, as we become more and more involved with the complexities of technology, is going to become almost as important as reading.
Coding literacy is a huge issue. While I personally don’t think that everyone needs to become a computer programming (yes, there are some extremists who believe that the entire world is a divide between coders and non-coders), I do think it’s important to at least understand the fundamentals of how computer programs work.
This doesn’t mean you need to become an expert, just grasp the basics.
In my view, programming should be taught at the high school level, as a mandatory course, just as math is a mandatory requirement, even if you’re not going to become a mathematician. The same logic applies: it’s a fundamental skill to be used in our society, and even if you don’t want to specialize in it, understanding the fundamentals, and in many cases, simply knowing what questions to ask, can go a long way.
There are a number of great beginning programming courses available online, for free or very inexpensive rates. One of my personal favorites is www.codecademy.com, which provides introductory courses (many call it “coding with training wheels”) that give a good introduction to anyone who doesn’t have a technical background.
You can walk through different types of exercises, completing small tasks one at a time that gradually build upon each other to teach you the fundamentals of the language. Organized into clear learning paths, you can select from a variety of different languages or projects to work on, and it’s a fun and interesting way to learn!