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Your kids should learn to code. Now.

coding for kids
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Shuttleworth: “For our children’s generation information technology will be the backbone of the world economy, and the primary engine for wealth generation.”

Currently, I am attempting to convince my son’s school to include computing coding as part of its mainstream curriculum starting in grade four. I also believe that all parents should advocate “coding for kids” being taught at all ages.

In my job, I observe daily how essential information technology is becoming to our current and future economy. Thousands of innovative technology companies are charging out of Kitchener-Waterloo, Toronto, Vancouver and just about every other major Canadian city – ready to take on the world. Some will succeed; most will fail, but the intellectual capital generated will endure. And it will become the essence of our collective well being.

“For our children’s generation information technology will be the backbone of the world economy, and the primary engine for wealth generation.”

For our children’s generation information technology will be the backbone of the world economy, and the primary engine for wealth generation. Programmers and engineers are the foundation of a new “creative class” that Richard Florida has aptly described. By the time our children are at an age where they are contributing to the economy, Florida’s “creative class” should be mainstream and dominant. Are our children prepared for this shift?

As parents, our attitudes towards computers and coding may be holding our children back. We need to let go of the mythology that coding is geeky magic performed by anti-social boys in basements. Parents need to challenge those that design our children’s curriculum in elementary school to make coding literacy as essential to learning as reading, arithmetic, and sciences. We need to challenge teachers and those that train teachers to include coding in daily lesson plans. We need to find a way to engage all kids.

Teaching coding does not have to be difficult. It doesn’t have to be boring – it can be completely engaging. In fact, there are already multiple online resources available, such as those listed here.

I urge parents everywhere to advocate coding for kids. Sustained wealth creation will depend on it. Your future pension may depend on it, too.

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