Thank you Education Week for bringing the computer science controversy to light in your current issue. The article titled “Computer Science: Not Just an Elective Anymore” is a follow-up to Code.org’s recent “Hour of Code” in which more than twenty million students participated in learning to code using Code.org’s list of online tutorials. The field of computer science is one of the fastest growing career fields with a projected 1.4 million job openings by 2020 that will only have approximately 400,000 potential qualified employees to fill those positions.
This is the second year I have been teaching intro to computer programming as part of the freshman-required Computing Technology course at Loyola School. I love Code.org–I use the video featuring big names like Mark Zuckerberg and Chris Bosh to introduce this unit, which sparks interest in those students who had never dreamed of learning to code. It’s been a success so far; I am hoping to expand it to an after-school club for those who are hooked on coding.
And guess what? I’m not a computer programmer. I’m learning while I teach.
Do I believe that computer science courses should be a substitute for language requirements in high school, like Texas? Absolutely not. Learning a foreign language helps students become more global, just like computer science. My question is: why do we have to choose? Let’s have our cake and eat it, too!