Best Argument: Yes
Audience Favored: Yes (80%)
We must teach the basics
In the end, teaching children the basics of coding should simply be another subject introduced in schools. When our world is networked and so technologically driven, our educational system should reflect this society -- and introducing basic coding, digital citizenship and technological understanding is one way to prepare our students for such a workplace.
Humans are meant to be rational creatures. We may not all "think like a programmer," it's true. But in the same way that some of us are useless at languages or math, knowledge in the subject cannot do any harm -- and under the supervision of an effective teacher, no student should be excluded.
Many companies need students who know how to do more than use Microsoft Word and Powerpoint. This doesn't mean that we need to produce a new generation of kids who can create apps and databases, but it does mean that they should be equipped with a basic knowledge of technology -- and should have the option to delve deeper into the subject if they wish.
What can coding bring to kids? What can't it do?
My argument is that kids are "already" taught to think logically in schools, and that -- within the UK at least -- there is less focus on facts and more focus on reasoning things out.
What programming can't do is embrace the whole spectrum of how individuals think through problems. I happen to have a mind that -- I guess -- is rather well-suited to writing computer software. But when it comes to marketing, or painting, or car maintenance, I am totally, "totally" hopeless.
Another item for children to put in their educational quiver
This debate focused on a hot topic -- whether kids should code. In the end, Charlie made a better argument that teaching code isn't an end point, but another item for children to put in their educational quiver. Matt made some good points, but didn't do enough to sway the masses. We need to do more than teach our children how to consume software, but need to show the underpinnings -- at least at some level.