When it's all said and told, the internet is only about 25 years old; but in that 25 years, has gone through massive shifts and changes, and has done a very great deal to disrupt and change businesses, economies, and even how people interact with each other. And alongside other STEM education considerations, it's important to consider teaching K-12 students all about the internet and computing technology.
And one fun way to do that is to consider introducing web design into the curriculum. Many K-12 students visit as many as dozens of websites a day to play games, watch videos, chat with friends, listen to music… the list goes on! Teaching kids to design their own websites can empower them to want to understand more about the internet and technology, and encourage them to investigate the howsand whys which make the internet function.
And luckily, these days, creating a website is so simple that even younger-grades children can do so!
One of the easiest way to get started is to use free website templates where you can choose from literally hundreds or even thousands of designs. This allows students a way to create a website in practically no time at all and even provides the ability to fine-tune their website to do even more complex tasks as required. Students could set up mock-online shops, blogs, informational websites for projects, or more!
In more advanced cases, website builders can allow students and teachers to use the drag-and-drop editors, but also access and edit the raw coding of a website, so that students can learn the ins and outs of code like CSS and HTML, learning more fine-tuned control and capabilities by having direct access to design minutiae. But the end goal is less than the visual product-- a well-working, functional website-- and more the complex ability to look more critically at the internet, which is an increasingly important part of daily life.
Every era in human history has emphasized different skillsets: but increasingly, the world we operate in requires technological literacy. According to myriad reports, the job landscape of the future (in some cases, as soon as two decades) will have been dramatically impacted by the increasingly easy ability of technology to learn and to be creative; and even today, computers do the jobs of lawyers, pharmacists, tellers, checkout clerks, scientists, and surgeons. STEM education has never been more important.
And luckily, parents are on board, even if most public school curriculums aren't! Many parents invest in learning games and toys which help their kids learn to code or build websites and interact with the internet from an early age; but schools need to step up and offer parents more support, as often few parents know the mathematical or computational logic to code, and regularly can't code themselves… and thereby can't reliably help their children learn. In 2016, most public high schools require at least one of three foreign language classes be taken; but consistently offer no technology or coding-based classes for the curriculum.
According to CODE.org, only 28 states (and the D.O.C.) allow for coding credits to count towards a student's graduation requirements, a fact which is almost laughable considering the fact that computer-science fields are among the highest-paying and least-saturated fields in the United States.
Of course, the computer sciences and coding aren't for everyone, any more than the traditional sciences, economics, or writing are for everyone: but the writing is on the wall, as far as the future of the job marketplace. Basic coding abilities are likely to be as common a job requirement as being able to work in the Microsoft Office suite. And we cannot afford to shortchange future generations the skills which upon which the status-quo of the future will have grown out of.