“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world,” said Nelson Mandela. And none other than Albert Einstein said, “Education is not the learning of facts, but the training of the mind to think.” Educationists and intellectuals have understood the value of this training and the importance of providing training from an early age. While talking about the importance of coding lessons from elementary school level, the Chief Executive Officer at Apple, Timothy D. Cook delivered a direct message to the President of the United States of America at a recent gathering of tech titans in the White House. Cook talked about the ways how public schools could better serve the need of the nation. He suggested that government should introduce new steps to make sure that the students learn computer programming from an early age. Cook mentioned that coding lessons should be a requirement in every public school.
Even before the government took steps to implement new coding lesson courses, Silicon Valley is pushing it to the U.S. classrooms for introducing the early coding education programs to the young pupils. Code.org, an industry-backed nonprofit group, is making enormous progress in bringing computer coding and pupils together. The experts inform that computer science is an essential subject for the American tech companies which have become heavily reliant on foreign engineers nowadays.
Founded in 2012 by Hadi Partovi, an early investor in Facebook and Airbnb, and his twin brother, Ali Partovi, an early investor in Zappos and Dropbox, Code.org first gained popularity by using a viral video to stimulate mass demand for coding lessons. Presently they are targeting to get into every public school in America to start teaching computer science. Reports suggested that the non-profit group has raised more than $60 million from tech giant companies like Facebook, Microsoft, Google and Salesforce along with tech foundations and individual executives. On their way, the group has been involved in building an education reform to develop curriculum by offering coding lessons and training teachers. Through this, they are almost changing every facet of the education supply chain. Reports apparently informed that National Science Foundation, education experts, and industry personalities worked for years to introduce and develop the way computer science is taught in school.
Standing as one of the largest providers of free online coding lessons and comprehensive computer science curriculums, the group is providing training workshops to more than 57,000 teachers. Apple launched out a free app called Swift Playgrounds to teach basic coding in Swift in a straightforward manner. Recently the iPhone making company introduced a yearlong curriculum to teach high school and college students to learn app design in Swift. They have also supported the non-profit group in various tech educational programs. An engineer at Microsoft developed an educational program called TEALS which stands for Technology Education and Literacy in Schools which used tech company volunteers to teach the subject to students.
The group began their journey by persuading the co-founder of Microsoft, Bill Gates, the CEO of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, to promote coding lessons for students through an appearance in a film. The video was published on YouTube and was known as “What Most Schools Don’t Teach.” The video was a great success as it had nearly nine million views and within two weeks, about 20,000 teachers contacted Partovi.
“We have a lot of debate in this country about how to teach,” said Partovi, “and not enough debate about what to teach.” Computer Science in school has led to a lot of discussion in the country, but it is mostly neglected due to the presence of other subjects and their introduction-modification. This is nothing but an approach to develop an overlooked subject which plays a critical role in developing the IT industry in the country. As said by the Microsoft official, this is the subject which will be the fundamental of American students.
– Rajarshi Chatterjee