To the Editor:
With success stories like that of Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, more people are willing to learn what programming is and why it’s important to begin learning about it in primary and secondary schools.
Code.org has been a major player in spreading the word about programming, with over 95 million people so far participating in one of its “Hour of Code” events (“Code.org Kicks Off Computer Science Education Week at White House,” Dec. 8, 2014). With celebrities like Will.i.am proclaiming that “great coders are today’s rock stars,” who can resist learning the superpower that is computer programming?
As a high school teacher-librarian, I teach a mandatory course to freshmen called Computing Technology. The primary learning goal is to develop curiosity by exploring new ideas and issues through information and technology. The last unit focuses on computer programming using the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Scratch language and coding tutorials available from the code.org website. Programming encourages students to practice logical thinking, spatial reasoning, and the ability to make connections while using the trial-and-error method for problem-solving. Whether analyzing literature, learning a new math concept, or applying formulas to physics, students with programming skills will be more willing and able to work through tough problems across the curriculum.
A little exposure to computer programming can make a big difference for the future of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
Library Media Specialist
New York, N.Y.
A version of this article appeared in the January 29, 2015 edition of Education Week as Computer-Programming Prepares Students for Problem-Solving