“Technology is just a tool. In terms of getting the kids working together and motivating them, the teacher is most important.”
– Bill Gates
It’s time to update what and how we teach our students. The world where they will find themselves when they are adults has not yet been invented. We teach them the fundamentals of the “core” subjects. We expose them to art and music. This is good and has been enough for a long time, but it is no longer enough. Like the industrial revolution, the technical revolution has changed everything including the rate of change.
To cope and flourish in this new world learning how to learn and adapt is a critical life skill. Being able to find the answer isn’t enough, you have to be able to create an answer to the problem. They will constantly have to deal with challenges and information they have never seen before. They need tools to be successful. The exponentially growing power of computing is one of those tools. We need to be fluent and comfortable using them to achieve our goals. Perhaps an even more important tool is a mindset and skill set that allows us to face huge challenges or goals undaunted, to incorporate creativity into problem solving, and to understand that troubleshooting does not represent failure but an important tool in problem solving and one in which we should strive to excel.
These thinking skills are what we are trying to encourage and strengthen in our students by offering coding clubs, robotics and maker activities. Computational thinking isn’t a core subject – yet, but our kids don’t need to start learning those skills NOW. That is why these kinds of programs are so important.