Friday, October 14, 2016

Is computer coding a foreign language?

Should coding be considered a foreign language for high school credit requirements? I found an interesting article linked here from U.S. News and World Report. The article shares the different points of view on this topic. Believe it or not, Florida actually tried to do something first! Florida Senator Jeremy Ring submitted a bill to allow students to choose computer coding over the traditional foreign language requirements. The bill passed the Florida Senate, but then died. In speaking to the Senate, Ring said, "We can be the first state to do this, or we can be the 50th state to do it. It's our choice. It's going to happen."

I found this to be an interesting debate. The concept is that coding is a foreign language, allowing us to communicate with computers. Critics say that speaking a foreign language is a great advantage in the world marketplace. As someone who took the required two years of a foreign language, I can tell you that I am in no way fluent in Spanish, so I don't see the current requirements as beneficial.

I do think that coding courses should be considered a foreign language. Sure, maybe speaking Chinese will be a marketable skill, but communicating with computers? No doubt that this is a skill that will be needed more and more as technology continues to grow exponentially. Our students today are digital natives, so they should have the chance to learn the language. All the computer hardware in the world won't do us any good if we can't tell the computers what we want them to do.

Galvin, Gaby (2016). Some Say Computer Coding is a Foreign Language. U.S. News and World Report. Retrieved on 10/14/16 from


  1. Hi Aly,

    I really enjoyed reading your post.

    I believe computer coding should definitely be taught to students of all ages. It will provide students with a new insight on how things get communicated through a computer. Children will gain a better appreciation for computers because they will truly understand how they work and what they need in order to output information. It won’t just be a tap, swipe, slide, or click anymore.

    You should check this out:
    I found this interesting TED TALK from Linda Liukas: A delightful way to teach kids about computers. She talks on how computer coding can be approachable, diverse, and inclusive for all students of all ages. She even wrote a children’s book.

    If computer coding is taught by a very young age, then we would probably have more advanced technologies being created. Our technology gap will become smaller and smaller because children will grow up thinking it is the norm to take computer coding classes. I wonder how drastically things would change if computer coding became part of the school curriculum?

    Great post!


    1. Thanks for your thoughts. I will check out the TED talk. I agree that this is an important skill students will need in the future. The earlier we start teaching them, the better!

  2. I've always wanted to learn to code. Coding languages are imperative to many fields and are largely universal in that C++ is C++ no matter where you travel. It's a marketable skill and one I would have appreciated.

    I took four years of Spanish between high school and college due to requirments for graduation. i can barley string a sentence of it together. I took one semester of HTML in 8th grade and still use it fluently because it kept my interest.

    Coding should be taught and students should have the opportunity to take that course in place of traditional foreign language courses.

    1. Sally,
      Me too! I've always been intimidated by the idea of coding. I feel the same about high school Spanish! We've got to bring our curriculum up to date and meet the needs of the future!