Posted by Aimee Clifton 01 May 2014

Kids and Technology- is coding the new Literacy?

Is coding the new Literacy?

Literacy as we’ve always known it is simply the ability to read and write. But with technology becoming an integral part of life, does the ability to code define literacy, and if so, do we no longer comply?

Strictly speaking, the ability to create a digital programme does not define whether a person is literate. Surely if a person wasn’t literate in the first instance, the task of becoming fluent in coding would be somewhat impossible. Coding takes a person’s already literate skills, and turns them into an indirect form of communication through the use of digital mediums.

There has recently been a lot of hype in the media surrounding the importance for kids to be taught how to code- but can we really call coding the new literacy?

When we apply for a job we are of course expected to be literate i.e. have the ability to read and write, but what if the new definition demanded we know how to code in order to even be considered literate?

It was recently reported that millions of children across the world are being heavily encouraged to learn the art of coding to guarantee them a bright future, and this phenomenon is quickly becoming widespread throughout the world.

The market is rapidly being filled with hundreds of educational coding games, apps and classes aimed at our children, all preaching the importance of being proficient in coding. London-Based studio Kuato is even offering free coding sessions through its educational game, Hakitzu.

Due to the ever-evolving world of technology, to most, it should seem perfect sense to educate our children on how to code. Look at how far technology has come in such a short space of time. That alone should be a huge indication of what technology has in store for us in the future- perhaps the very near future.

On the other side of the spectrum, it may perhaps be argued that coding can never be the new literacy, as some would say it will never be a human requirement to be educated in the art of coding in order to communicate effectively on a day to day basis.

Coding is not the function of literacy, it is an extended ability derived from an already literate person. But can we stop the technological revolution that is rapidly infecting the world? Is there even any reason to stop it?

However there seems a certain level of division when it comes to the effect technology is having on society. It is no secret that much of society has taken on the alter ego of the ostrich, burying their heads in the sand and pretending that the technological epidemic that’s sweeping our nation isn’t in fact happening. But the truth is, it is happening, and society’s ignorance to the way technology is shaping the world can only lead to failure for our younger generation.

Surely we as a society must ensure our kids are fully equipped with the necessary technological literacy to be able to survive in this ever-evolving environment?

Technology is absolutely everywhere nowadays, and this culture is only going to keep on evolving. By denying kids an education in coding, we are sending them ill-prepared into the modern market, and depriving them of the necessary skills employers will be expecting to see.

If our children are to remain competitive we have to take responsibility of modern changes, and embrace technology and digital media. For whatever reason, some people still choose to be ignorant to technological evolution. Whether we like to admit it or not, it’s undeniable that coding is quickly shaping up to become the 21st century’s definition of literacy!