Disrupting Education: Learn to code!


The era we live in has made it more difficult for young people to land high-level jobs. So what skills do children need for a financially secure future? Everybody knows: Programmers are the new rockstars. So what about programming?
But will teaching children to code guarantee they will find a good job? Or will this not proletarianize these high-level jobs by flooding the market with programmers? What if teaching children to code is not about helping them - but to create a cheap source of labor?


The era we live in has seen flat and falling incomes and has made it more difficult for young people to land high-level jobs. So parents ask themselves: If good education is not enough anymore what skills does my child need for a financially secure future? The promise of teaching children to code seems to provide a new path: Programmers are scarce and sought after.
And just like that, Silicon Valley has found a new business model: powerful players like Google, Microsoft or Facebook are now concentrating their efforts on disrupting digital education. They are investing in initiatives like code.org, which provides free tutorials for kids and teachers about coding. This development is a double-wedged sword. One the one hand children should absolutly learn to code. As citizens living in a digital world they should at least know about the ones and zeroes this world is build on. But on the other hand, public schools in most western industrialized countries failed to provide sensible digital education. So corporations stepped in and provided financial support and human resources.
In my talk I will analyze coding initiatives and their goals. Their message sounds ideal: They want to teach kids not just to code, but also foster innovation and openness, promote an understanding of how to participate in the digital world and finally fight for more diversity and inclusion. But what if some hidden agenda lies underneath this slogans? I want to provide a much needed critical approach about the motives of corporations and non-profits concerning digital education.