DLDay Debate: Should Students Be Required to Learn Code?

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This isn't the first time we've considered this question, but it's the first time we get to hear directly from some students on this issue. Today we have a Google Hangout in which students from different classrooms hold a debate on this question.

This debate is moderated by Dana Ledyard, Managing Director of Girls Who Code. Classrooms from two different schools considered the question, “Should students be required to learn code (and computer science) in high school?”

The debate begins with an overview of the topic, which included some of the following points:

  • By 2020, 1.4 million jobs related to coding skills will be created. 70% will remain unfilled
  • Coding is a skillset related to many different fields, not just technology
  • Coding enables students to become creators of technology, not just consumers
  • Many technology companies consider talent recruitment to be a critical challenge
  • Less than 10% of K12 schools are teaching computer science or coding

The debate is about 30 minutes long:


Regardless of the issue, it's pretty cool to see students participating in a virtual debate. This technology allows them to debate other classrooms, engage with a moderator from another location, and even take questions from a live audience. Finally, because the virtual debate is recorded, it becomes a great resource for future students.

This debate was possible thanks to certain types of technology in the schools. Computers and cameras in the classrooms provided the point of contact for the students. Connectivity controls allowed safe access to the Internet and ensured that there would be enough bandwidth available for the debate. Services like Google Hangouts provide low-cost and easy-to-use communication platforms. And of course there are a bunch of other things that we haven't mentioned, and these things all worked together so that these kids could hold a debate.

Do you have a story about a virtual debate, or a Smartboard lesson on weather, or a class video project, or a flipped science class, or a Moon Mapping, or a literature class based entirely on Kindle free books, or anything else that technology has made possible? Now's a good time to tell us about it.

Our Digital Learning Day Competition is a great way to share your stories and win some prizes. All you need to do is put together a digital presentation on how digital learning has affected you, your child, your school, or your community. The presentation can be a website or blog post, a PowerPoint-type presentation, a YouTube video, or any other digital presentation. The top three winners will receive $300, $150 and $50 cash prizes. Sounds pretty great, right?

The contest details are in this post. The competition is open until February 28, 2014.

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