Kids and teens are officially fully immersed in all things technology: playing games on tablets instead of boards, communicating via text instead of yelling down the hall, and usually knowing more about computers than their parents (in many circumstances).
Like learning any language, studies show that retention is highest at a young age, when cognitive development is still occurring at a rapid pace. The same is true with all things digital, including computer science. This is why Douglas Rushkoff, a columnist for CNN.com, is a proponent of making computer science a regular offering in school, just like mathematics, English, or social studies. “When we got language, we didn't just learn how to listen, but how to speak,” he explains, “When we got text, we didn't just learn how to read, but how to write.” And here’s where the disconnect occurs: “Now that we have computers, we’re learning how to use them – but not how to program them.”
Funding is always an issue, however this is not to say that America’s schools aren't heading in the right direction; they are with STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) curriculum, but Rushkoff argues that we need to push beyond that – kids need to know the how’s and why’s in order to think critically about our world. “Although we live in a highly digital age, digital literacy is not a priority among us. And as a result computer science is not a priority in our schools.”
Students at the iD Programming Academy
“We are putting in place a layer of technology, culture, and economics that we’d darn well better do consciously,” Rushkoff warns, because “the technology we build today is the operating system of the society of tomorrow.” This is where resources like iD Tech Camps and iD Teen Academies come into play. We recognize the need for this creative and immersive learning environment that encourages kids and teens to go beyond playing games on their tablet, beyond texting and social networking, and beyond simply being “users” of the current technology available to them.
Our curriculum and unique environment allow kids to further their critical thinking skills while having fun and improving their digital literacy. There is an opportunity here for kids and teens to become fluent in this new language – to become active contributors, and even innovators – enabling them to write their own code to produce apps, systems, software, and more. We've got the tools. What will you build? How will you do something BIG?
Rushkoff, Douglas. Teach U.S. kids how to write computer code. (2012). www.cnn.com. Retrieved 10:45, February 5, 2013, from http://www.cnn.com/2012/12/10/opinion/rushkoff-code-writing/index.html