Am I good enough at math?

As a student, I’ve always found ease in the humanities. Often scared by STEM curricula, I found that adapting a growth mindset helped me succeed. Despite this change in pace, however, my mathematical skills always lagged behind my skills in reading, writing and theorizing. I clearly understood logic and theory in math; but my computation has never been my strong suit.

After reading the introduction to “the role of computational literacy in computers and writing” I couldn’t stop dwelling on my inability to push myself/practice my math. I’ve been interested in pursuing a second major however am frightened at the thought of pursuing anything on a STEM or partial-STEM track because of the rigor of academics here at UNC-CH. I sometimes find it hard to float in humanities courses (which I have confidence in my ability in) so the idea of having to take prerequisites that contain calculus or economics is really threatening. That being said, I have to question the validity of the statements made in that piece (as well as The New order of order).

Does everyone need to know how to code? A few of my classmates pondered this in their blog posts. In short, I think it can’t hurt. Is it feasible? why not. I think of my K-12 career and all of the things i’ve learned–the ones that have stuck with me the longest are the ones that I learned the earliest: how to walk, eat, type quickly, run, play sports, ride a bike, play the flute, cook, read and go to the bathroom. The list could go on for miles for anyone who’s a product of today’s global society, and I believe that at leas the preponderance of the things on the list will have been taught to the person at a young age. In a striking or shocking way, this means that if lessons are coordinated with the times, teaching HTML will be just like teaching cursive in the not so distant future. Now is this the best thing in the world? I have to think that maybe it is, but it also has it’s downsides. Amongst other things, teaching children to code could bring: a proliferation in STEM-related skills (computation, deductive reasoning, organization, etc), a basic understanding of all of the technology present in society (what they’re using/interacting with on a daily basis). Amongst other things, teaching children to code could bring: A destruction of physical media sources, the phasing out of libraries and traditional academia, a loss of reading/writing as a medium, etc. Do the benefits outweigh the detriments? Are my kids going to be able to keep up? Will every kid be able to keep up? Are all professions/fields going to become technologically related in some respect? Am I good enough at math to make an effort to pursue a basic understanding of computation and technology? In my head, that’s the only thing it boils down to for me at this point in my life: Is it worth it? Am I good enough at math?

https://broadly.vice.com/en_us/article/women-are-better-at-coding-than-men

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1 Response to Am I good enough at math?

  1. Thomas Alexander says:

    Hey Gabriella,

    In my blog post, I also thought about the question of whether code is useful enough for it to be learned by everyone. I arrived at the conclusion that it would be more useful for some, so there should be varying degrees to which it is learned. You talked about some of the potential downsides to making it mandatory across the board. One that I see is the gap between schools because of variations in funding. You also mentioned the phasing out of traditional resources like books, libraries, and writing. I think those two go together, and the phasing out would be exacerbated because schools would try to invest in newer technologies to meet the demand. Private schools and more well-funded schools might be able to afford to keep traditional resources and get new resources, but less funded schools won’t.

    Another thing that I think could be potentially lost is creativity in writing. There’s all kinds of outlets for creativity and coding is certainly a worthy form. However, I think there’s a higher level of technique that has to be acquired. With more traditional forms, a kid can make something crummy and still express themselves fully. (A fifth grader can write a bad short story, but still practice creativity.) But with coding, if you write badly, you receive an error message. That’s why I think it’s better to tailor it for each subject. In my post, I mentioned that I support economics majors learning code. Right now, my creativity within economics is limited. I’m more than capable of playing around with other people’s models but I can’t actually form my own because I can’t code. People are naturally more inclined to learn for the field they’re in, which is why I advocate to tailor coding education to different subjects.

    However, I will go ahead and contradict my own argument by saying that I would also support a full-scale coding education. I don’t think giving just a base knowledge of coding is helpful. But if coding was taught like math, science, language arts, and history, then I could see serious merit to it.

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