Everyone should code, no matter their age, expertise, country, or creed.
Why? MIT Media Labs' Mitch Resnick has one idea:
“Young people today have lots of experience…interacting with new technologies, but a lot less so of creating [or] expressing themselves with new technologies. It's almost as if they can read but not write.”
If we’re honest, this is the relationship most of us have with technology: We use our computers at work, call and text constantly, and are very good at buying apps for our iPads—but we really have no idea how these things are built or how they work.
The technology in our lives is amazing and other people seem perfectly happy building things for us to enjoy, so what’s the point to learning how it works?
Resnick has an answer ready. While coding is a valuable skill, it’s the process of learning to code that’s really important:
“...those skills of thinking creatively, reasoning systematically, working collaboratively...are things that people can use no matter what they’re doing in their work lives.”
Code is a language that computers can understand. As with any language, effective communication requires thorough understanding. Thinking in code forces a very specific and clear form of understanding that structures your thinking and gives you a new way to look at the world.
Alone, this is valuable, but as a skill for self-expression, it is invaluable. Being able to code is a new language to express your ideas and feelings.
At Bitmaker Labs, different walks of life converge for nine weeks. We have recent high school graduates learning alongside industry veterans and newcomers to Canada. These students have come together to learn to think and to express themselves in a new and powerful way—not just by reading and writing code, but through creative problem solving, logical reasoning, collaboration, and teamwork.
At the end of our program our graduates will be fluent programmers, critical thinkers, and enablers of a code-literate society. Code doesn’t live in a vacuum, neither should code education.
We can’t wait to see how they change the world.