Lately, there’s been a lot of press around introducing computer science to students at a younger age and for good reason. Could anyone have guessed mobile apps would be a multibillion-dollar industry a mere 10 years ago? Or that social media would fundamentally change the way we consume information or function and connect as a society? Considering the pace at which new technologies emerge every day, more and more of today’s thought leaders believe coding should be an integral part of today’s curriculum. As Todd Park, chief technology officer of the United States, once eloquently put it:
"Technology and computers are very much at the core of our economy going forward. To be prepared for the demands of the 21st century—and to take advantage of its opportunities—it is essential that more of our students today learn basic computer programming skills, no matter what field of work they want to pursue."
Love it or hate it, schools, youth programs and non-profit organizations are catching on, and we are slowly but surely moving into a new system where coding could be a basic educational requirement, not unlike math and reading. Here at The Think Tank headquarters, we think this is incredibly, incredibly good news. For this month’s Best for Last series, we want to share some of the most interesting long-form news pieces, infographics and videos we’ve seen on this topic. Think we’re missing any links? Shoot us a comment!
1. Reading, Writing, Arithmetic, and Lately, Coding. Matt Richtel of the New York Times shows us what a growing movement to teach computers sciences looks in cities like Chicago, New York City and San Francisco.
2. Why Basic Coding Should Be a Mandatory Class in Junior High. The skeptic may ask, is learning to code really all that important? It’s a valid question. TIME’s Tim Bajarin explains why a basic understanding of computers could better equip our students for their futures.
3. TechCrunch reports that Codecademy, Donors Choose and Google have launched a novel partnership that aims to double the number of high school girls studying computer sciences. Through this program, both girls and teachers steer classroom time toward computers sciences and are eventually incentivized with DonorsChoose gift codes, which can be used to fund special classroom projects like field trips or cool teaching tools.
4. Computer science’s diversity gap starts early. Our tech-driven world needs more students to pursue careers in computer sciences, but it turns out there’s a diversity problem in this field. Kyla Calvert of PBS reports the numbers.
5. Code.Org is a non-profit organization dedicated to bringing computer sciences to more classrooms and inspiring young girls and minorities to pursue it as a career. Check out their infographic on the work still left to be done in computer science education.
6. We would be doing our followers a disservice if we didn’t post a link to MIT’s MOOC: MIT 6.00 Introduction to Computer Science and Programming. It’s a rough ride (the video is 54 minutes long) but so worth your time.