We’ve become a learning-phobic society. No, that’s not true. We’ve become a very literal society. School teaches us to find a missing number in a proportion; we fail to see how that transfers to our scaling anything. School teaches us how economic depressions begin; we slept through that class and as a result get to try that little experiment all over again.
Yes, that’s unfair. On both counts. But it points out one of the biggest problems with our current education system – We generally struggle to extrapolate, to recognize patterns, and then to recognize that we have a whole collection of internalized skills that would help us if we’d just stop and let them. (That’s kind of the point of school…strangely enough.) We just never learn how to transfer those transferable skills.
One area where this is abundantly clear is in what are now called the STEM classes – science, technology, engineering, and math. A whole set of disciplines dedicated to modeling, to observing, to playing with and experimenting with, to solving problems in fun and creative ways…and we so often shun their benefits. I’ve gone on ad nauseum about math’s role in enabling us with modeling and analysis skills. This time, I thought I’d tackle coding, which overlaps with math in many respects when certain math skills are taught as algorithms.
There has been a lot of discussion over the last couple of years over whether or not coding should be included in a standard school curriculum. On the one hand, not everyone will go into a profession that requires coding skills. On the other, you don’t want to encourage hackers. (Actually, you do. It’s the Black Hats you don’t want to encourage.) On the third, learning to code helps to build and reinforce algorithmic skills and the development of systems thinking. It can even open entertaining doors for an ambitious English class.
As technology integrates into more areas of our lives, it helps for us to gain as thorough an understanding as we can of what we’re dealing with. Understanding code as a pattern or recipe that software must follow can help us better interact with technology in our lives. It can also helps us better understand, create, and execute patterns and recipes in our own lives. Coding is about prototyping and iterating, teaching practitioners to draft, test, and edit in a more interactive manner than learning to edit any other type of writing does. This ability to interpret and act on patterns or recipes follows into a wide variety of real world activities. Plus, it’s really fun to tell a computer what to do with itself.
If you’re interested in learning to code, but are beyond your school years and uncomfortable with returning to a classroom setting, why not check out this coffee shop coding program? Then, see how many ways you can use those skills in their intended context and beyond.