As a Mommy to 9 year old twin boys, weekday evenings are often filled with math pages, spelling words and reading comprehension assignments. Even though I am a huge proponent for the digital world, I still look at my sons’ screen time as “play time”. It’s only after these assignments are done, that my boys get to go enjoy their real love of computers & video games. After running across www.code.org, I’m beginning to rethink that.
Dec. 9th – 15th is Computer Science Education Week. “The Hour of Code” is an event designed to demystify code, to show that computer science is not rocket-science, and anybody can learn the basics,” said Hadi Partovi, founder and CEO of Code.org. My boys fell in love with the fun series of games/activities at http://code.org/learn. As soon as they saw Angry Birds & Plants vs. Zombies, they were hooked.
What is “code”?
It is simply the language used to write programs that power our computers, apps and websites. In others words, it is tied to everything we do. As Bill Gates put it, “Learning to write programs stretches your mind, and helps you think better, creates a way of thinking about things that I think is helpful in all domains.” Research also shows that kids pick up programming concepts before they know how to read and write. In fact, their brains are more receptive to computer languages at a young age, just like foreign languages.
Some shocking statistics (USA) from www.code.org
- There will be 1 million more computing jobs than students over the next 10 years (adding up to $500 billion in salaries)
- More than 50 percent of all projected math and science occupations are in computing occupations.
- Computing occupations are among the highest-paying jobs for new graduates. Yet fewer than 3% of college students graduate with a degree in computer science.
- In 36 states, computer science classes don’t count toward math or science high school graduation requirements.
- A.P. Computer Science is taught in only 5% of U.S. high schools
- Fewer than 20 percent of AP Computer Science students are women. Fewer than 10% are Black/African American and Hispanic/Latino.
In China, every students takes computer science to graduate high school. In the U.S., 90 percent of schools don’t even teach it. It’s time for us to catch up to the 21st century. We know that regardless of what our students do when they grow up, whether they go into medicine, business, politics, or the arts, knowing how to build technology will allow give them the confidence and know-how to succeed.
It’s hard to argue with the founders of some our most successful digital companies of today, seen in this promo video for www.code.org. If this is the common language of our most successful thought leaders of today, then I want my kids to be fluent.