Shouldn't we be teaching kids to code?

Hour of Code hopes to inspire a generation of kids to learn to code

How many futures do you think Ali Partovi, Hadi Partovi, and changed with the Hour of Code campaign? I’m guessing quite a few. I watched the light go off for the kids I sat down in front of that video.

Teaching kids to use technology without teaching them to create it is like teaching them to read without teaching them to write. Even if we are adults who never managed to learn to code, we should we should be teaching it to our kids. In fact, our schools should be teaching it to them. Unfortunately 90 percent of schools don’t teach computer science. The Hour of Code campaign aimed to change that by pushing this compelling video out into the world until it went viral. Google changed the Doodle for it. The president spoke up. Actors, geek superstars, and politicians all helped get the message – that everyone should accept the challenge to spend one hour learning to write a few lines of code – out to the kids.

One hour can instill significant change in the mind of a kid. They learn fast. They form ideas about what they are capable of (and not capable of) with a few carefully (or poorly) chosen words. And they need to know that this form of literacy will be very important in their future. I’d like to see a study that could tell me how many kids decided this week that they want to learn to write – as well as read – technology. But I don’t think anyone is tracking that.

So we’ll have to do the math. Three days into the campaign, 5 million students in 35,000 schools across 167 countries did their first Hour of Code. As of this moment,15,723,534 students have done the Hour of Code and written 516,813,441 lines of code. So how many futures got changed, do you think?

This story, "Shouldn't we be teaching kids to code?" was originally published by ITworld.

Copyright © 2013 IDG Communications, Inc.

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