A number of schools, in conjunction with their STEM, STEAM and STREAM efforts, are building coding classes into their curriculum. Resources such as those available at https://code.org/educate/curriculum and https://www.kodable.com/ offer resources for educators who want to incorporate this important learning to students eager to learn how to build games and create apps that might be able to generate income for them, or provide a marketable skill in the workplace of tomorrow. Even the Wall Street Journal published an article several years ago around this time which supported this thinking, calling the “key to unlocking the future” (Source: http://www.wsj.com/articles/why-coding-is-your-childs-key-to-unlocking-the-future-1430080118, Accessed 4.23.2022).
But a more practical application of coding is found in a new type of service industry today. This service isn’t like the checkout folks at the local grocery store or hardware warehouse, which, if you’ve noticed, now have self-checkout lanes. It’s the folks that implement and integrate technology applications, writing the code so that systems can communicate with one another. How does that hardware warehouse know that a shipment of new floor tile will be arriving from the manufacturer on a particular day when the manufacturer is in a different city than the warehouse’s distribution center, and both use enterprise software provided by two different companies? Or, how does your school’s student information system connect to a product where parents can pay for field trip fees and other student activities? If you said, “The kids bring a check or cash to school,” you’re inviting embezzlement and, perhaps, very soon, potential identity theft and fraud responsibility if checks and even credit cards are accepted on site. Want an example? A number of years ago, my wife and I had received a new credit card from our credit card provider, and the first time we used it was on vacation in South Carolina at a restaurant. The waitstaff took the bill and credit card to a different room to run the card, and brought the receipt back for us to sign. Four days later, I received a notification that my card was used in a different area of the state when we were already home. Guess what that waitstaff person did while she was out of the room? She took down all my credit card information, and someone made a purchase with it. Luckily, we could dispute the transaction and cancel the card, but the point is that this happens every day.
What about the future? Technology will become more and more pervasive within “things” we have right now (which is the idea behind “The Internet of Things.”). The automobile industry is being transformed as you’re reading this in this way. For example, automatic braking to avoid accidents are becoming available on more and more vehicles. The “self-park” feature is attractive to those that have a difficult time parallel parking (not necessarily by being poor judges of distance) for those who cannot turn their heads easily and quickly to gain the views necessary to successfully parallel park. If you’ve seen some of the latest insurance company commercials, they’re now marketing a tool that you can plug in to your car to discover why that Service Engine Soon light is illuminated, or help record your driving habits.
Check out this video at http://partners.wsj.com/accenture/technology-vision-2016/intelligent-automation/ for a look at how artificial intelligence will be transforming the market as well as the workplace. It’s not that machines will be replacing people to do what people once did, although that’s indeed possible, but it’s going to take people to know how to create that technology, as well as analyze the data gleaned by AI to effect process improvement.
Is this the direction that every school is heading? No. Some private and faith-based schools are revising their curricula to provide more of a “Classical” education, emphasizing debate, Latin and Greek, and elocution over high-tech mastery. Why? Inspired thinking needs to be effectively communicated, and new ideas need to be presented with passion tempered with rationalization. The ability to communicate and cooperate in the global marketing place is essential…between technologies, and between human beings.