Not until the advent of Johannes Gutenberg and his moveable type printing press was this barrier broken. With Gutenberg, a sea of reading material was unleashed upon the world and, following market principles, with increased supply of reading materials prices fell dramatically. Suddenly, everyone could afford a book. Once they had the devices in their hands, it was a simple matter for the masses to learn from one another to decode the technology, and soon thereafter these same formerly illiterates were able to compose their own squiggles on paper, unleashing the, up until the late 20th century, greatest single point of human advancement in history.
Once again we find ourselves at such a watershed moment as Gutenberg and his printing press. With the advent of technology that can connect us with the world, record our every thought and action and instantly relay it around the world, or allow us to mine for information from the combined understanding of the 7 Billion + people who populate our planet, all of which fits in our pocket, we are once again living in a world with a small, powerful and elite scribe class; those who can code.
Our students will be asked to solve problems we don’t even know are problems yet, using technologies that have not even been invented. Doing so with the tools deemed worthy of being produced by a minority group is no longer an acceptable path to direct our students down. Just as we deem it critical for students to learn the literacies of the written word (i.e. reading and writing) and mathematics, so too should we introduce the literacy of the 21st century, computer coding, into the school repertoire, thus providing students the foundation to leave the classroom truly prepared, not only to face whatever comes before them, but to actually engage with the world around them completely, no longer reliant on others to provide them an approximation of what they want. Rather, through teaching students to code what they want, when they want, they will have the ability, knowledge and confidence to leverage technology to its fullest in whatever endeavor they choose to pursue.