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Monday, 15 December 2014

The Importance of Coding

I was recently asked by one of my students parents “what is the importance of coding?” In our current climate of education I feel that this is an incredibly insightful question.

Computer technologies are rapidly replacing countless amounts of medial tasks many of us once did. We often hear the throw comment “there’s an app for that!” and in many cases, there is the software or application supported by the required hardware to complete the task. However, in conversations with many people they don’t realize behind each application, robot , TV or computer there was someone who had developed the commands or “coding” to operate it correctly.

Coding is the language used to instruct an object; however, more importantly computational thinking is the set of problem-solving skills and techniques needed to complete a task.

Many of us use technology daily yet how many of us truly understand how it works? Technology development is one area that us as human either flock to or flee from. One of my Maths teachers once said, “In order to use something it is helpful to learn how it works, even if it is just a basic understanding”, this is a saying that has stuck with me throughout my working career.

Computational thinking outworked through coding produces digital confidence, problem-solving skills and a rich sense of connectedness to the world. Research suggests that student’s exposed to coding and computational thinking generally gain greater overall outcomes from schooling (Barr & Stephenson, 2011).

Jeannette M. Wing's article on Computational Thinking is a very helpful read for those looking for more information on this topic.

Barr V.Stephenson C. (2011). Bringing computational thinking to K-12: What is involved and what is the role of the computer science education community? ACM Inroads, 2, 48–54.
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