code as language
The 21st century is undeniably controlled by technology and almost everyone can vouch for the fact that technology and machines will reign over our lives in the future. But while most people agree on the importance of being tech-savvy, very few actually realise that most of the population of the world is oblivious to the inner workings of technology. Everything that exists from machines, to computers, to the social media is made possible through coding. So essentially the people who write the codes, run the world of tech and are the ones with the most power. It's a dangerous thing that this power lies in the hands of a very small percentage of the human population. While most people around the world can speak English, very few have mastered the language of code which is increasingly used more than any other human language.
So is coding really a language? Absolutely! A programming language is a formal language that specifies a set of instructions that can be used to produce various kinds of output. And just like any other language it is best learned at an early age.
In fact, for most part of the western world educators have realised the necessity to learn coding at an early age and equip the future generation with this vital tool. This is why many schools have started considering coding as another basic language that kids need to start learning from an early age. A lot of schools in some states in America have already replaced foreign languages like Spanish with classes for coding. And it's a basic requirement for all high-school graduates to be fluent in coding languages in those particular states.
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Programming at Early Ages
Educators agree that the best age to learn a skill like math or language is ages 5 - 11 years old. Similarly, children need to start learning coding at an early age to build a deeper foundation for their future.
MIT App Inventor
MIT professor Hal Abelson took the initiative to build a platform to to make app development easy and accessible for people who were non-programmers, even kids.
Python is one of the most popular programming language in the world right now which has helped create platforms like Facebook and Youtube! And surprisingly it is so simple that kids aged 5 years old can understand it.
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Unfortunately, other parts of the world, have not realised the importance of coding yet, more particularly in the Asian region. In terms of SouthEast Asia, some international schools have started providing coding as a subject in the curriculum however, it is often introduced to students at ages 11-13, while a child aged 5 is perfectly capable of learning coding. It is vital that children are taught the programming language just like any other language at an early age, when they are the most curious and keen to learn.
Conventional schools also haven't figured out what a solid programming course should look like, who should teach it and how they can teach it to kids who are very young. They often offer it as an extra elective or an extra curricular which is not the right approach for a subject that's so crucial for their future.
Another restraint is when parents themselves don't realize the importance and they mostly assume their children know all about computers because they use it frequently. But there's a big difference in being a consumer and being a creator.
Most of us are still using codes written by someone else, but the future requires for each individual to control and adapt technology according to their own needs and goals, or else it's basically like giving away the control of your future to someone who can write a language you know nothing about. This will leave the future generation powerless. We, as parents, educators and as a society need to recognize the fundamental need of tomorrow's youth and it is our responsibility to make sure that the future generation is not deprived of this knowledge because we failed to see it's importance.