Obama extols the benefits of gaming

A passion for video games could be a good way to attract children to computer programming, President Barack Obama said in a recent Google+ Fireside Hangout.

In a group interview, President Obama said that it "makes sense" to introduce computer programming requirements in schools because children are interested in the Internet and video games. Introducing them to programming early will also prepare them to be job-ready after high school, especially if they do not plan to seek an additional four-year degree.

"Part of what I'm trying to do here is make sure that we're working with high schools and school districts all across the country to make the high school experience relevant for young people, not all of whom are going to get four year college degree or advanced degree," he said.

Obama used Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg as an example of someone who has been successful through self-taught programming, stating Zuckerberg told him he learned programming because he was interested in video games.

"There are a whole bunch of young people out there who I suspect if in high school are given the opportunity to figure [that] out — 'Here's how you can design your own games, but it requires you to know math and requires you to know science,' or you know, 'Here's what a career in graphic design looks like, and we're going to start setting those programs in our high schools not waiting til community college' — Not only does it prepare young people who are not going to a four-year college to be job-ready, but it also engages kids because they feel like, 'I get this,'" he explained.

Obama noted that the pervasiveness of the Internet in our world and young kids' interest in it could be a good way to start them down a career path with the necessary training earlier.

"Given how pervasive computers and the Internet is now and how integral it is in our economy and how fascinated kids are with it, I want to make sure that they know how to actually produce stuff using computers and not simply consume stuff," he said.

After the Sandy Hook shootings last December, President Obama called for further research on the relationship between video games and real-world violence.

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