“Learn to Code, Code to Learn”
Most people these days still see computer coding or programming as a highly technical or even nerdy activity that is only attractive to a minority of the population. In reality, coding is getting to be a newer type of literacy. It is a skill that is useful in everyday life, especially in today's highly digital world. For most people, having at least a basic level of skill at programming will make it easier to use a smartphone, link devices, and manage files across multiple platforms. Consider all of these benefits of supporting learning programming at a young age; by helping your kids learn some computer programming, you can even learn along with them!
When kids are introduced to coding, they gain appreciation of how digital technology work. Digital technology is a big part of many kids’ lives, as they are surrounded by smart phones, video games, video entertainment, websites, and even robots. What drives this technology are software or computer programs that are created by coding. Like learning about biology and chemistry, it is important for kids to understand the building blocks of an integral part of their life. They need to realize that what happens when they use technology is not magic, and they themselves can create programs that can be useful.
But knowing what happens under the hood of modern technology is just one of the benefits of learning to code for kids and students. Many of the other benefits are related to making them learn how to think and develop skills that they will need in the future.
Some benefits of kids’ learning how to code, and why coding is important for kids and students to learn:
When kids learn to read and write code, they develop cognitive skills and learn a methodical, problem-solving process that resembles a computer. The process involves using abstractions and pattern recognition to represent the problem in new and different ways, logically organizing and analyzing data, breaking the problem down into smaller parts, identifying and creating the steps needed to solve the problem, running the procedures, analyzing the results, and determining if the results yielded an acceptable answer. Computational thinking can be applied to other situations aside from coding, as it is a way of thinking that solves practical problems.
Logical thinking is required for coding. It consists of formulating step by step procedures to produce a desired outcome. It involves using expressions, selection, iteration, conditional and other logical statements and sentences.
Coding teaches kids to break down complex problems into components. This problem-solving technique is transferable to a lot of other fields. For example, scientists solve problems by forming hypotheses and systematically testing these hypotheses one by one. Car mechanics diagnose car problems by replacing one part at a time to isolate the problem part. In coding, a programmer figures out bugs by generating intelligent hypotheses and tweaking parts of his code one component at a time to test which one solves the problem.
Children have creative and fluid minds that allow them to think in a more “out of the box” way. Coding uses so much creativity. When we code we can build our own computer games, animation movies or interactive digital artwork. This involves creating our own designs, including graphics, animations, storytelling, and building our own imaginary worlds and characters.
Coding to learn
We don’t always give the students the right answer to a question. We encourage use of trial and error to find a way to solve the problem in front of us. Experimentation allows us to remember the answer better. It also allows us to be ok with not knowing the answer and to have a go at searching and having an educated guess. We learn that there is no single answer and often there are many possible answers. We may even find a correct answer that is different to the teacher’s answer.
What is the best age to start coding?
Many good programmers claim that they start coding by age 5 or 6. But the best answer is when the child starts to show excitement and interest in it, like when a gamer child thinks that he can create his own game, or when he thinks he can create a program that will be useful or will entertain his friends.
A child best learns languages when he is young, and learning programming syntax is akin to learning a new language. Early exposure will shape how he thinks, and makes computational thinking second nature.
At 7 or 8, most kids have sufficiently developed logical and critical thinking skills needed for coding.
Kids as young as 10 can produce programs that achieve professional quality!
Are your kids ready for this journey? Join us now!