What are the compelling arguments both for and against computer coding in schools?
Arguments For Coding in Schools:
Proponents of coding in schools claim that there aren’t enough computer programmers to meet the demands of the future, we must therefore, teach more people coding. It is an area of study that if taught, will help “students acquire vocational skills that are immediately relevant to today’s job market”(Trucano, 2014). They argue that coding is a foundational skill, which is becoming necessary knowledge in all other academic areas. It does not have to be a stand alone class, but instead should be interdisciplinary, connecting real world situations to content. Teaching coding, especially in connection with other subjects also helps to develop students’ critical thinking, problem solving skills, (Engelberg, 2015) creativity, and innovative expression. It is also argued that, “Understanding coding helps students better understand the nature of the world around them, and how and why increasing parts of it function as they do” (Turcano, 2014).
Coding may be a subject that appeals to previously disinterested learners, as it brings technology into learning.
Arguments Against Coding in Schools:
Opponents of coding argue that coding isn’t for everyone and shouldn’t be forced into the curriculum as a requirement. If schools add Coding to the required class list, what other subject must move in order to make way for the new requirement? Does an elective get cut or do schools require fewer credits of a core class? Who makes this decision? Some even feel that coding may simply be entertainment and not actual education.
Another argument is that coding is not the only way in which students develop their critical thinking, and problem solving skills. In a quality curriculum, these are taught throughout each class. (Turcano, 2014).
On the other hand, some opponents aren’t necessarily against coding, but argue that schools shouldn’t be teaching code, but instead should be figuring out a better way to make apps. “In order to empower everyone to build apps, we need to focus on bringing greater abstraction and automation to the app development process. We need to remove code — and all its complexity — from the equation” (Shringer, 2015).
Engelberg, M. (2015, September 30). 3 Reasons Coding Should Be a Core Subject. Getting Smart. Retrieved June 14, 2017, from http://www.gettingsmart.com/2015/09/3-reasons-coding-should-be-a-core-subject/
Sehringer, M. G. (2015, August 06). Should We Really Try to Teach Everyone to Code? Wired. Retrieved June 13, 2017, from https://www.wired.com/insights/2015/02/should-we-really-try-to-teach-everyone-to-code/
Trucano, M. Should All Students Learn How to Code? Pros and Cons. Wise Ed.Review (2014, August 12). Retrieved June 14, 2017, from http://www.wise-qatar.org/coding-cognitive-abilities-michael-trucano