Should Elementary Schools Teach Kids How to Code?

Critics have lamented that the rise of smartphones and tablets are fostering excessive “consumer”-type behaviour in today’s youth. In other words, they argue that today’s mobile devices cultivate consumption of media and products, but do little to encourage people to actually create things. Most apps are targeted at enabling consumption, not creation.

Universities have been slow to catch on to basically everything that has been born out of the internet, including teaching students to code. High schools have been even slower. Elementary schools don’t even consider it—but why shouldn’t coding be an education staple taught alongside other elementary skills?

Canadian serial entrepreneur Jevon MacDonald, who founded GoInstant and sold it for $70 million to Salesforce, believes this should happen.

“Software development is probably the single most awesome career path you could go on,” he argued in an interview with Canadian Business. You work for yourself, you deliver products to billions of people, and it’s a high-demand career with a net benefit to the economy.

“But we continue to focus on educating kids to become doctors, lawyers, accountants,” Jevon said. “Computer science should rise to that level of prominence. We should give kids the opportunity to learn programming in junior high and high school. “If you’re 10, you can do it.”

The appeal is hard to deny: “The power of imaging something and building it yourself and having full control of that process is addictive. … You don’t need anyone in the middle—you’re the architect, designer, and builder.”