Teaching kids to code is a creative process that empowers them to make a social impact
What is Computer Programming?
Computer programming put simply is the process of coming up with a set of instructions that get carried out by computers. These sets of commands are code and are usually documented in a programming language which the computer can clearly understand and use to solve a particular problem or to perform a specific task. We’re all familiar with the likes to Steve Jobs, the man who created the Apple iPhone, but we often overlook how countless devices use computer programs to perform the various everyday tasks we know and love, from taking selfies, all the way to playing your favorite game from the App Store. Teaching kids to code will allow them to better appreciate and understand the electronics around them.
Teaching Kids to Code Offers More
It is understandable to think that teaching kids to code means that they’ll end up at another programming desk job sitting and staring at a screen for hours on end. Fortunately, computer programming involves creativity and other essential skills for a child’s learning and development that don’t necessarily lead them on a career path to develop and maintain software. Teaching kids to code equips them with relevant skills and experiences that will launch them on whatever path they choose.
A Way of Thinking
When creating the instructions, the programmer must keep in mind that there can be more than one solution, and so he/she must design and code the path that is most efficient. Similar to learning a new language for an overseas vacation you’re planning, the programmers must also determine the ideal programming language to use. Once programmers are given the task and have determined which language to use, they must fully understand all the requirements, design the appropriate solution, debug, test, and write notes within their code so that other programmers can read and understand the solution. Teaching kids to code allows them to master this framework of logical thinking, and this will ultimately make them successful not only in the classroom but in the workforce.
By the Numbers
So why exactly is teaching kids to code important? Today, coding is one of the most sought-after job skills even though computer programming jobs might be dwindling. There is an increased number of ventures that currently rely on computer coding and that number will continue rising. A demonstration of how important coding has become is the fact that in the United States, in 2015, almost seven million job opportunities available were from occupations that needed coding skills. Teaching kids to code is essential because the world is currently controlled by technology. We are so used to technology that we can't even think of life without the software we use on a daily basis.
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Technology is Everywhere
We shop online using software, rely on our digital alarm clocks that use software to wake us up in the morning, make phone calls that are software-regulated, make road trips with the aid of digital exploration systems that are also software-controlled, use programmed machines to manufacture our food, clothes, & other important things that we cannot live without, among many other uses. For all the above to work seamlessly, a developer has programmed them, and therefore we need our children to learn and understand how such technologies work since they will play a huge role in their lives. Teaching kids to code is essential for being able to secure future job opportunities as well as keeping up with fellow classmates in school.
A Changing Workforce
Studies have shown that in the United States alone, computer-related jobs are needed almost four times more than the other professions, further underlining the importance of teaching kids to code at an early age. It is, therefore, clear that for our kids to be able to get careers involving positive social impact, they will have to know how to code. Teaching kids to code is already included in our education system where basic coding courses are being taught in schools so as to provide kids with the knowledge required to develop their very own computer software, apps, and websites. To clarify, the point of this article is not to convince your children to pursue a programming career; rather, because almost all other jobs interact with computer programs, it’s critical for all job functions to at least understand the basics of how computer programming works. The rise of technology in both work and home makes it so that computer programming and teaching kids to code can be added to the basic skills of reading, writing, and arithmetic.
Teaching kids to code is very important as it enables them to have a positive social impact. This is primarily because coding helps to build soft skills in children, and these skills include:
With coding comes debugging, the involved process of going through lines of code with a fine-toothed comb and fixing any mistakes, errors, or inefficiencies, and there is no better way of building resilience and perseverance than working through tough challenges. Teaching kids to code will put them in front of challenges that will teach them the importance of not giving up so easily.
2. Focus & Organization
As children write more intricate code, they naturally develop a better focus that helps them to become more organized in their day-to-day life. If the children are focused, they won’t have the time to engage in negative behaviors, as they will be dedicating their time to developing the soft skills that will one day allow them to change the world. Complicated code needs organization, structure, and readability, and teaching kids to code will expose them to this practice.
Teaching kids to code is the art of logical communication, written, and verbal skills. Teaching kids to code is analogous to teaching them a new language, which is one of the reasons why it’s good to start early.
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There’s no greater confidence-builder than teaching kids to code. The beauty of computer programming is that the child is able to work on a problem and see the results right in front of their eyes very immediately as opposed to gardening where weeks or even months have to pass by in order to interact with the final product.
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Coding also paves a brighter path for the future by empowering the kids to make a difference. They can develop various platforms and applications that they can use to spread messages of love, tolerance, and kindness that will make the world a better place. Teaching kids to code also equips the children with important life skills, as it is a basic literacy tool in the digital world we are living in today. Therefore, it is crucial for kids to be able to understand and innovate the technology around them. Here are some fun activities that can help kids gain valuable and worthwhile programming skills and help them develop a passion for the subject:
This board game is for children of eight years and above, and it introduces children to programming. The game is played for 45 minutes where players use cards with printed messages that ignite the child's interest in coding.
This social puzzle game is for children of six years and above and can be played on Android, Windows phone, or web browsers. The game involves teaching kids to code in a fun and interesting way so as to get them hooked. This is more suitable for older children who will be able to solve the puzzle by guiding a robot through a series of mazes using limited commands.
This game is for children of ages 5-8 years and it scaffolds programming skills so that young kids can learn how to code without even necessarily knowing how to read. Its maze-like levels are teaching kids to code by introducing programming concepts like loops.
This is a programming puzzle game that teaches children programming concepts, such as debugging, loops, testing, planning, and procedures.
Roblox is a platform where thousands of individuals can create their own games and programs. Kids are able to make games and host servers that other kids can come and join for the fun. The possibilities are endless! It is an environment where players come from all reaches and corners of both the U.S. and the world. From making international friendships to playing cooperatively, a child to take their analytical and creative skills to make their social impact. This game takes teaching kids to code to a new level and expands their horizons.
The Journey Starts Here
In this code camp, students tackle self-paced modules that arm them with the programming knowledge they need that eventually enables them to create a unique coding project they can call their own. The modules will teach kids programming basics in a fun and engaging environment. The camp is teaching kids to code by preparing them to eventually build their own website.
Children will get the chance to program an EV3 Robot to do a variety of things, such as moving, turning, stopping, and using its sensors for added operability. Children will be able to see the direct results of whatever computer program they’re writing by observing what the robot does after reading the code. This is teaching kids to code through a physical, moving object rather than images or numbers changing or moving on a computer screen.
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Lights...Camera...Action! Kids will finally be able to make the next Lego Movie by using digital cameras and stop-motion animation software to create stop-motion animated movies using Lego mini-figures. They will then use video editing software to add titles, credits, dialogue, and other movie essentials. Students will be able to take home a CD with their movies at the end of the class. Where this is teaching kids to code lies in the creative thinking process.