02/12/2019 08:17 PM IST
In the advent of the digital age, just like how reading and writing are important, coding and computer literacy are also becoming a necessary skill to learn at a young age. As the world is moving towards digital space, having a cup of tea for Rs.10 or buying a property for few crores of rupees is all happening with a click of a button thanks to apps like payTm and digital wallets. Amazon and Netflix even read the customers' minds and make movie and music recommendations using patterns and artificial intelligence (AI). Entire cab sharing industry like Ola and Uber run their business using Google maps features.
Right from building cars to performing knee surgeries, robotics and automation solution is cutting across all industries and geographic boundaries. In all the above cases coding forms the heart of all the apps and solutions. We as teachers and parents need to equip our children to have digital literacy when they graduate to high school.
Children are quite familiar with browsing, chatting, and gaming. In most of our homes, children explore features in a new gadget much faster than adults, play computer games with a lot more ease and customise videos and music playlist within minutes.
However, can we call it digital fluency? We need to take advantage of the interest this generation shows in the use of digital technology and use it to make them "creators" rather than mere users of technology. Digital fluency should mean designing, creating and collaborating so that they move from consumers to creators of technology.
Coding is not just about learning the syntax of the language. Like painting, art & storytelling, coding can be a way of expressing an idea, nurturing creativity and appreciating the process of design. Understanding key computational concepts such as sequence, event, and loops enhances problem-solving skills which can be applied to a wider range of subjects.
Apart from companies in the technology sector, there is an increasing number of businesses relying on computer code. According to Glassdoor eight of the top 25 jobs are tech positions. Coding needs to be introduced at different levels of complexities just like reading, math, and other sciences.
There are tools and apps available to make coding fun and easy to learn even for kids as young as 5 years old. Through coding children would recognize the power of creation by expressing, connecting and questioning and enable them to be ready for the 21st century.
Vidya M Ramaratnam Teacher - BHIS , Pune