I’ve been a proponent of teaching students how to code. It will always be important to provide young people with the most recent technological skills so they can have a foundation to build upon as they progress through their education until the day they enter the workforce.
It’s also apparent, however, that computer programming is changing–perhaps to a large extent even disappearing. The tools that are being created now such as Adobe’s Muse, which allows designers to create websites without writing a line of code, can very well make website creation much more ubiquitous.
Here’s what’s happening: The tools for communication, creativity, and production are becoming more sophisticated and easier to use. Programming will be important for creating these tools, but more and more people will be given the power to create professional websites that they couldn’t have created years, or even months, ago.
It’s because of this that we need to teach students how to think, not necessarily how to do a particular skill. I repeat, I’ll always support teaching students how code, but there are important goals educators must have, and they include:
- Developing a love of learning
- Being able to teach students how to learn, unlearn, and relearn as times change
- Teaching students how to have the wherewithal to think critically and on their feet
These are the foundations we build skills such as coding upon, and it’s important to note that coding can help train someone how to think, so there’s definitely a duel purpose there.
The bottom line, however, is that students must know that the learning never ceases. If I can be so bold, I’ll change what Andy and Red say from The Shawshank Redemption: “Get busy learning, or get busying dying.”