Learning the ABCs of Coding, Starting in First Grade
Compelled by a programmer shortage, Estonia is implementing a computer programming curriculum that teaches children as young as 6 to code. It joins a growing movement that's designed to make everyone "code-literate."
Starting this month, Estonia is getting a head start on creating the next generation of coders by implementing a curriculum that teaches computer programming starting at first grade and continuing all the way through twelfth. The country’s most well-known contribution to the computer world is Skype, which was created in 2003. However, it’s having difficulty finding programmers, which is why they’re getting kids interested in Web and mobile application development early.
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What’s the Big Idea?
The program is one of several that are part of a rapidly growing code-literacy movement, which seeks to spread coding knowledge to everyone. One company, Mozilla, has created a toolset that provides basic tutorials on Web site design, and holds events with catchy titles like “Summer Code Party.” One Mozilla executive is clear about the company’s goal: “If we want kids to be makers rather than consumers…[8 to 10 years old] is a critical age.” Of course there is controversy surrounding this movement, with some people questioning whether programming is a required skill on the level of reading, writing, or arithmetic. One critic said on his blog this past spring, “I would no more urge everyone to learn programming than I would urge everyone to learn plumbing.”