Core computer literacy will be essential in the global job market, so maybe it’s time to start looking at programming as a baseline skill and not as a differentiator, argues Neil McAllister in a blog entry for InfoWorld. If the U.S. is to remain competitive in the 21st century, American students need to be brought up to par with those in the rest of the world. And if modernizing education is the name of the game, maybe it’s time we incorporated fundamental computer literacy into the curriculum of U.S. public schools. “Computing devices are everywhere. But the one thing that hasn’t changed is the idea that computer programming—real, deep-down, core computer literacy—is something for nerds, geeks, and outsiders,” McAllister writes. “Guess what? It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy. Today’s kids have every incentive to learn programming. Whether it’s to trick out a web page, interface with Facebook, or write scripts to help with homework, programming has real-world applications that have relevance to kids’ lives. Instead of labeling their enthusiasm for computers as disruptive or aberrant behavior, we should harness it as an educational tool. By integrating computer literacy into school curriculum from an early age, we would give students a learning experience that more accurately reflects the modern world around them.”

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