Digital Age Representation in Classrooms: Mandatory Computer Classes in School

Personal Article


We live in the 21 Century, also known as the Digital Age. Shouldn’t what students are learning at school embody that?


by Pranav Arun

Whether online, in person, self-paced, rigorous, or advanced, school is just school for kids across the world. Although they might find it boring, hard, or just are not into it, almost everyone will agree that school and education is very important. Although this could be the case, school may not be as rewarding for your future as it was 20 or even 10 years ago. Now that we are in the 21st century the time has come for us to change our school system and incorporate more aspects of the Digital Age. An Idea that has been proposed for this change is making computer handling and programming classes mandatory in school. Even though this may seem like a good idea to balance out learning in classrooms, there are also aspects that may make it seem like a bad compromise.


It is a known fact that public school employees do not have high wages, and the government spends more on the military than our education. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the total amount of money spent on public elementary and secondary schools in the US in 2016-17 was $739 Billion, or $14,439 per student. Although this seems like a lot, when you think about all of the things they spend on students, including lunches, school supplies, land, and repairments, it is not a big surprise. This may account for the fact that mandatory computer classes might require more money then possible. Although a lot of money is needed for these classes, money spent on outdated subjects that will be given up if mandatory computer classes were established can make up for the money necessary.such as outdated classes. So, this brings up the Trilemma: will adapting our school system to the Digital Age through mandatory computer classes be beneficial, will this cause too many problems for schools throughout the world, or is there a neutral side?


The Supporting Side: The People for Mandatory Computer Classes


A lot of people with adequate reasoning argue that mandatory computer classes is the way to go for the public education system. This is the side that I am on, and I argue along with this side that schools should provide adequate classes and funding for the 21st century, aka the digital age. Although this may decrease funding in other classes and aspects of school, it is necessary that students develop a good base and education of modern technology, ideas, and learn to appreciate this. Something else that I argue along with this side is that these mandatory computer classes could lead to great development and have a good economical effect on the future world. If students are exposed to computer ideas and learn about them early on, it could constitute for them developing a life-long interest in that subject, which in the long term could result in increases in the part of the economy that is dominated by IT and technological advancement companies. This could also be an early initiation of future developments and innovations, due to the early understanding of computers.


The Opposing Side: The People against Mandatory Computer Classes


This side argues that when the effects of mandatory computer classes are observed, it is not worth it to spend all of the money on these classes. Using money on computer knowledge in school will take away money for other important classes, such as science experiments, social studies, and ELA. The skills and knowledge gained from these subjects play a big role in the success of the student, and taking money away with them is a bad decision, according to this side. They also argue that growing up in the Digital Age could be enough to be accustomed to the ideas of computers and software. As a member of the opposing side, I acknowledge the reasoning of this side, but I also believe that there are some subjects that can afford money lost, such as grammar. I also believe that you learn how to use a computer growing up in the Digital Age, but you most probably don’t learn how it works and the concepts behind it. These are some of the important things that should be taught in mandatory computer classes. So, as you can see this side as well has adequate reasoning to support it.


The Possible Neutral Side


There is a possible neutral side in this Trilemma, and it could satisfy both sides. If certain minimum guidelines were set for the amount of money spent on different subjects, and those guidelines were met even if schools had a computer knowledge class, then the schools that could afford both computer classes and other traditional classes, should be required to do both. If some schools could not afford it, then they would not need to. In order to make sure all schools can afford it, the government could additionally provide extra funding to the poorer schools in order for them to engage their students in mandatory computer classes as well. In conclusion, you can support any side of this Trilemma, and still have enough support to defend your side. So, what do you think? Is this new digital era good enough to thrive upon without any contribution from our education systems?