Should We All Learn How to Code?

I took French in high school. We all had to have that high school language credit to get into university. It should have been a ‘given’ for me because I grew up in Ottawa – a city known as a hotbed of the “all Canadians must speak French” language movement that was going on in Canada at the time.

My teacher was German and poor guy could not speak French all that well. I spoke my own version of ‘kid French’ which had a liberal smattering of words that students gravitate to like ‘bum’ and ‘fart.’ I couldn’t really read the French language that well and I barely passed the class. The German teacher was not a good substitute for someone with expertise in the language and it turns out languages are not my passion or talent either.

If you made it this far, you are probably asking, “What on Earth does this story have to do with coding?”

Well, a couple of things. If we want to mandate coding in schools we need great, trained and well-supported teachers as well as kids who are curious about it. I would say we have work to do on both sides if we are serious about successfully integrating coding into the curriculum.

I personally believe that coding, music and language are all well… different languages. Each language has the ability to stretch a learner’s mind into thinking and operating in new, deeper, and more interesting ways – that’s really the point, isn’t it? We want to push kids into being able to think in new ways and build skills that activities like Minecraft and texting don’t provide. The lack of mandatory language instruction (with a big L), music and coding in schools is a deficit in the curriculum we currently offer young learners. If we can just require students to take at least one of these types of ‘languages,’ it will get them thinking in new ways.

Wouldn’t that be awesome?

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Warren Barkley
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About Warren Barkley

Warren Barkley is SMART's Chief Technology Officer. He brings over 19 years of technology experience and leadership. Over the last two years at SMART he has built a world class technology team, created a new product category with SMART kapp, and award winning education SAAS SMART amp. Prior to his current role, he served as General Manager in the Microsoft Lync/Skype division. Barkley held several key positions in Microsoft over his tenure and was instrumental in the development of Microsoft Lync as the communication and collaboration software of choice for Fortune 500 companies. At Microsoft he also played a central role in establishing WiFi as a worldwide standard. Barkley holds over 60 worldwide patents in networking, wireless and communications. Barkley has degrees from University of British Columbia and University of Victoria. Before his technology career Barkley was a teacher and musician.

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