Why is it is important to teach students how to code? (full interview)
PAT: I’ll start with the misconception that learning to code is what Code.org is all about. It’s a little bit broader than that. It’s about learning computer science, which is different than coding. Coding is just another word for programming, and programming is like painting. When someone studies art, they don’t just study painting, they study much more than painting, but painting is an expression of art. It’s the same thing with someone who studies music. They may learn how to play one instrument, but that’s not music. Music is much more than the act of playing an instrument, and so while we do believe that everyone should learn how to code, even more so we believe that everyone should learn computer science.
So, why computer science is really the question, and the answer is because — if I could boil it down to just a couple words — it helps you to think better. Now, lots of subjects help you to think better, but computer science is the driver for so many innovations in so many different fields that it really is the tool for the 21st century.
We live in a digital world, and kids need to learn how to interact with this digital world as creators of technology and manipulators of technology rather than just as passive users of technology. Computer science allows them not only to do that, but also to think in that manner. Whatever they want to do, whether it’s fashion design, cooking, app building, or video game design, computer science is going to help them achieve their passion, their dreams, in our current world.