Years ago, I wrote a piece suggesting that computer coding should be a basic requirement in junior high schools. I compared it to a required class I myself took in grade school: Typing, a skill that helped throughout my life.
I brought up the idea again last week while moderating a panel at the South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas. One of the panelists, MIT Media Lab Senior Research Scientist Kipp Bradford, challenged me on the idea.
Bradford acknowledged the importance of coding classes. But he argued that given today’s complex programming landscape (there are well over 100 languages in use), basic coding isn’t the right course to prepare students for the job market of the future. He suggested teaching “computational thinking” skills instead.