Rey Saint-Vil explains how you could be raising your child to develop apps instead of just playing with them.
I’ve recently been on this self reflecting mode about the future of our education system these past 6 months and believe that coding is going to be a huge part of our children’s’ lives. I say this because, more then ever, the internet and technology has been a huge part of how we learn, gather information, communicate, create a successful business as well as just plainly “show off”. I’m a strong advocate of teaching the youth these things early because in a world of “Internet Entrepreneurs”, this is something children SHOULD learn if we care about their future.
I was first introduced to computers in 3rd grade, and at that time, it was just about learning the basics of how to use the computer and type efficiently on the keyboard. Thanks to my elementary school teachers (and the lovely Mavis Beacon), I was prepared for the world ahead of me that is mostly operated by computers. My generation quickly jumped into a realm filled with Floppy disks (yea, remember those?), power point presentations, Napster and AIM that soon later graduated to, Drop Box, Web designs, Itunes and Twitter. I continued my interest in the subject in high school, where I taught myself how to build my own computer thanks to a lovely site called Google. My interest and studies have continued until this day as I prepare to start my own business. And what I have seen and learned is exciting.
Computer Science is a subject that is constantly expanding and there is so much to learn. We are headed to a direction where technology is meant to be easy, mobile and convenient to our needs. Our young generation of children we have today, in which I like to coin them as “Baby Bots”, are picking up things much faster then did in the past. In fact, they are exposed to this new wave of technology straight out of the womb. We give toddlers things like tablets and smart phones, to keep them occupied for either entertainment or educational purposes. The fact of the matter is, they quickly learn how to use these new technologies faster then you teaching your parents how to set up a voice mail.
So I’m asking parents of young children, “Why not enforce your kids to learn more about computer science since they are already ahead of the curve then most adults?” Sure it’s cool to teach kids how play a game on an app, but what if you can teach a kid how to MAKE a game for an app. See what I’m getting at here? Every day, millions and millions of dollars are being poured into the hands of software/hardware developers who are creating a new ways on how change the world. These Baby Bots can cash in on it.
There are websites such as Code.org, Codeacademy, and One Month Rails, that offers simple minded people a platform on coding solely from the convenience of their homes. That is great but 9 out of 10 schools in the U.S. DO NOT offer computer science classes in their school. Meaning, if you want your child to learn this ever growing subject that can help them for whatever career aspirations they desire, you personally have to go out of your way to do so. We need to encourage our school systems to help advocate computer science participation into the classrooms in our country or else our children will continue to fall behind in the subject. An “Hour of Code”; which is a campaign started by Code.org during Computer Science Week, that helps exercise the minds of our Baby Bots in the classroom, asked teachers across the U.S. to help introduce their students to the basics of computer science through the organization’s coding programs and tutorials for one week.
To break down the “Hour of Code” stats, Code.org tells us that, of the 20 million-plus participating, 83 percent were from the U.S., 74 percent were in grades K-12, 51 percent were girls, 8 percent were African-American and 14 percent were Hispanic. Something to also point out, code.org tells us that “More girls participated in computer science in participating schools in the last two weeks than all students in the history of U.S. public schools combined.” Today, Google, Facebook and many other major companies are giving out scholarships for high school students that are coding at an advanced level. The effect one hour of programming can have on students is something to keep a close eye on.
Now I know I might have bored you with all those stats but believe me when I say, it’s kind of important. Frankly don’t be surprised, 10 years from now, how many parents are going to show up on career day and tell a room full of kids that they are rich and successful because they simply created an app called Angry Birds or Candy Crush or that they blog for a website that they created. It’s going to shape our youth. Whether it is creating idea or developing one; let them seize the opportunity to succeed in this subject. In an economy that is hard to find jobs, people are simply finding out new ways to create a job and that is something that is encouraging moving forward.
Photo: Jim Sneddon/Flickr