Should Everybody Learn to Code? Coverage in Communications of the ACM
I spoke to the author, Esther Shein, a few months ago, but didn’t know that this was coming out until now. She makes a good effort to address both sides of the issues, with Brian Dorn, Jeannette Wing, and me on the pro side, and Chase Felker and Jeff Atwood on the con side. As you might expect, I disagree with Felker and Atwood. “That assumes code is the goal.” No–computational literacy and expression, the ability to use the computer as a tool to think with, and empowerment are the goals. Code is the medium.
Still, I’m excited about the article.
Just as students are taught reading, writing, and the fundamentals of math and the sciences, computer science may one day become a standard part of a K–12 school curriculum. If that happens, there will be significant benefits, observers say. As the kinds of problems we will face in the future will continue to increase in complexity, the systems being built to deal with that complexity will require increasingly sophisticated computational thinking skills, such as abstraction, decomposition, and composition, says Wing.
“If I had a magic wand, we would have some programming in every science, mathematics, and arts class, maybe even in English classes, too,” says Guzdial. “I definitely do not want to see computer science on the side … I would have computer science in every high school available to students as one of their required science or mathematics classes.”