What it is: Tim Cook told Donald Trump that coding should be a requirement in American schools.
American has been a hotbed of personal computer activity since the introduction of the first personal computer kits that hobbyists slapped together. Then pre-built computers arrived in the form of the Commodore 64 and Apple IIe. Finally, personal computers evolved even further with IBM PC compatibles and then mobile computers like the iPhone and iPad.
Despite America’s massive influence on computing on the rest of the world, coding isn’t a requirement in most schools in the United States. While the attitude of letting kids learn coding on their own may have worked in the early days of computing, it likely won’t work any more.
Just as more schools force students to learn foreign languages so they can better deal with today’s global economy, so should American schools force students to learn coding. It’s not important that kids learn a particular programming language so much as they learn the logic behind solving problems and thinking up steps to write commands.
Learning to tackle difficult problems, break them down into parts, and find a solution while learning how to debug problems is a crucial skill that everyone needs to learn. While technology enthusiasts can grab a language compiler and teach themselves to program using a book, most other people will likely want a more colorful and interactive way to learn.
In that case, you want to download a copy of Swift Playgrounds, a free iPad app that lets you write Swift code to control cartoon characters. By letting students visually see the results of their code, Swift Playgrounds makes programming more enjoyable and easier to understand.
Many students will likely be happy learning coding through Swift Playgrounds and never graduate to more sophisticated compilers, but some students will likely be intrigued to learn more, and that just means getting more kids involved in coding.
Coding is no longer just a skill computer scientists need. Anyone can benefit from coding just so they learn how to solve problems. Because of that, coding should be mandatory in American schools. Coding is a critical skill that everyone needs to master.
In the old days, people learned BASIC because of its simple structure and syntax. Nowadays, people can learn programming with Swift Playgrounds. It’s free, it’s fun, and more importantly, it’s educational.
Teach your kids to code today. You can’t wait for schools to catch up to the future.