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Opinion
Classroom Technology Opinion

The New ‘It’ Language

By Anthony Jackson — March 13, 2014 2 min read

The global innovation age demands that we know languages other than English. Students today are learning Spanish, French, Chinese, HTML, Ruby, and many other languages.

Wait. What? Ruby?

Steve Jobs once said, “I think everybody in this country should learn ... a computer language, because it teaches you how to think.”

Coding isn’t a replacement for math or language arts or language learning. Coding is something that can augment those skills in very interesting ways.

Case in point: play Cargo-Bot. It’s a free game anyone can download. It’s about controlling a robot to unload cargo. Quite literally, it demonstrates the logic, sequencing, and creation of the right conditions to make something happen. Stated another way, it’s a type of thinking that undergirds computer-programming language. And it’s fun.

Metaphorically, Cargo-bot demonstrates why and how jobs formerly done by humans are now automated. In the future, what we need are more humans who can design automation—not more humans who will manually do the labor.

Students who code today won’t necessarily become software developers. Coding builds critical thinking and communication skills that will serve a person well, regardless of what field he or she goes into. Think about it this way: we all learn algebra and we’re not all mathematicians. But because of those math lessons, we know how solve problems a little better.

Learning can happen anywhere, anytime. In the spirit of open sharing, most of the apps that teach it are free or have free versions. For teachers who do want to use it in class or afterschool settings, but lack computer access for every student, there are books and curriculum.

Explore coding. And encourage your students to dabble in it. It will serve them well in the global innovation age.

Our recommendations:

For youngest learners

Daisy the Dinosaur

//itunes.apple.com/us/app/daisy-the-dinosaur/id490514278

For middle school +/- students

Cargo-Bot
//itunes.apple.com/us/app/cargo-bot/id519690804?ls=1&mt=8

Khan Academy
//www.khanacademy.org/cs

Tynker
//www.tynker.com/

Hopscotch
//itunes.apple.com/us/app/hopscotch-coding-for-kids/id617098629?mt=8

For older students

Team Tree House
//teamtreehouse.com/ (free trial)

Code Academy
//codeacademy.com

Offline

ThinkerSmith Curriculum
//code.org/files/CSEDrobotics.pdf

Books

Cody Coder
http://codycoder.com/

HMTL for Babies, CSS for Babies, Websites for Babies (series)
Check your preferred online book retailer.

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The opinions expressed in Global Learning are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.