Estonia is a small country in the Baltic region with a population of 1.3 million. It's probably best known in the tech world as the home of the engineers that developed Skype, but it's soon to be known for far more than that.
Why? Because Estonia recently announced that it is teaching all first graders how to code, and one of the best ways to seed innovation is to spread computer-science education.
The future of the U.S. economy depends upon technological progress, and learning basic skills like computational thinking and programming are great ways to expose students at an early age to its importance. If the U.S. doesn't follow suit, we will lose out in the global economy.
By 2018, there will be nearly three times as many job openings requiring computer science knowledge than qualified applicants. This goes well beyond just becoming a professional programmer -- learning computer science can teach problem solving skills, new ways of breaking down complex scenarios, and a means to build something tangible in our software-driven age.
Equipped with this mindset, Ben Gleitzman, an MIT alum with a computer science (CS) degree, started a program to teach high school kids several years ago. When pitching it to a principal at a top New York City school, he was informed "our students need to be learning Latin, not computer science." Sure, Latin has its uses, but to bluntly say students should not be given the opportunity to learn computer science is irresponsible and short-sighted. And this was not an isolated incident -- he repeatedly received pushback from school administrators on teaching CS.
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