Why Learning to Code is so Important for Children and 5 Myths About Teaching Kids to Code

The Tech Edvocate – Authoritative EdTech News & Commentary

 

In the 01/07/2017 edition:

Why Learning to Code is so Important for Children

By Matthew Lynch on Jan 06, 2017 11:26 am

Coding is currently one of the fastest growing occupations, and it is getting more popular day by day. Even if the most common thought when you hear “coding” is creating software or website, this skill goes way beyond that.

If we look at which way technology is heading, and in which aspect we use the products, be it offline or online, it is logical to consider how this bright future will affect children. Developing a coding literacy may mean a lot to them when they grow up.

At this moment, we can already witness how technology is shaping the world. More and more jobs require at least some basic computer literacy. Even if you are working in the fast food and retail industries, it is expected that you know how to use a computer. As time goes on, requests for coding skills will grow, and it is reasonable to expect that one day not knowing it may sound as bad as not knowing how to read sounds now.

Knowing how to code can secure well-paid jobs in the future, and that means more freedom to choose and say “no” to mediocre positions. So, when children learn to code, they are not only gaining higher-order thinking skills but a chance to choose exciting and more challenging jobs in the future.

When children learn how to code, a whole world full of possibilities opens; they can create new solutions in their way.  In this case, even when a child plays a game and doesn’t like it, rewriting the code and modifying it is a possibility. This way, by using imagination to create real solutions, their creativity and confidence grow.

Learning to code is the same as learning a new language skill, and coding is one of the fastest growing occupations. Just like learning a new language or riding a bike, it is best to start learning how to code in the early years. You might think it is hard for kids to learn to code, but in reality, it is quite easy.

Learning coding at a young age makes kids better thinkers and communicators. This leads to more innovations, which is certainly beneficial throughout life. Even if later they decide that they want to be musicians, artists or something else, thinking logically can be helpful in the long run. Critical thinking and problem solving are skills that are important way outside computer science.

In life, we often need to break challenges into small tasks so we can see the big picture. Coding requires analyzing different situations and thinking about what might happen and, when we translate this into real life skills, kids will learn how to make decisions that will make large and overwhelming goals easy to reach.

If children learn how to code when they are young, they will develop fluidity in their thinking, which means they will be able to tell a story in exact order. Because many children use video games to learn to code, they know how to follow or even create their story line or code sequence.

Finally, every parent would be satisfied knowing that their child is not limited in knowledge. Besides only using smartphones and tablets, there is more to strive for, and coding is a great skill to have in this technology-oriented world.

 

5 Myths About Teaching Kids to Code

By Matthew Lynch on Jan 06, 2017 11:13 am

Since the digital revolution started, teaching kids how to code has become a growing industry. There are a number of apps, handbooks, tutorials, etc., that teach children this skill.

Learning to code in the early years helps children to develop problem-solving skills, improve creativity and boost their attention. There are still some myths when it comes to learning to code in the early ages. We’ve picked the most common five of them to discuss.

Myth 1: Kids can’t learn to code at such a young age

Kids learn the fastest when they are five to twelve years old. The best way to teach kids to code is to enroll them in coding classes.

All around the world, people discuss whether or not coding should be included in the regular curriculum or not. The short answer is that their no age barrier to learning to code.

Coding is a good practice for building a creative mind. There are a number of programs made especially for teaching children to code. Most of the applications combine coding and gaming, which makes them more attractive to the kids.

Myth 2: Kids are easily bored with programming

Yes, when coding is explained the same way as to adults, it is boring. Luckily, there are many fun and engaging applications that teach children how to write their first lines of code. The combination of games and lessons is ideal for keeping children’s attention. It also makes it easy to pick up the logic behind it in intuitive and playful ways.

Kids learn the best while they are playing and using technology tailored for their own needs.

Myth 3: They will spend too much time in front of the screen

Many parents are afraid to glue their children to a computer screen. Additionally, at that age, they can’t sit still and focus their attention on one thing.

What parents don’t know is that coding can start away from the screen. When they are young, it is more important to teach kids how to think in the right direction. This way, the child will be prepared successfully for all professions that require logic and problem-solving skills.

Invention literacy, the skill that makes establishing the basics of confidence and creation easier, can be practiced from a very young age. This skill is practiced by understanding and exploring the environment, and inventing new things. It is well known that kids love to explore, so it is not hard to pique their interest to learn coding principles by introducing it as a game.

Myth 4: Girls shouldn’t learn how to code

There is a common misconception that young girls shouldn’t learn to code because coding is a man’s job. This is changing, as more and more women choose to program as their profession. The small percentage of women in the coding industry shouldn’t discourage you from allowing your daughter to learn how to program.

Myth 5: You should pick the right language from the start

There is a debate centered on which language is the best to start with, and which language is the most kid-friendly.

If we consider the languages used in real life, it is better to start with a language which contains a syntax that is easy to learn. Good examples are Python, or JavaScript, which can easily be used on every device and in every web browser.

But, it is impossible to choose the right language, because every child is different and while some can easily grasp a language’s syntax, the other child might have a hard time learning it. Each child will choose their favorite programming language, or give up on programming entirely, which is alright.

Additionally, it might be hard to predict which language will be the in high demand when this generation of kids grows.

This being said it is best to focus on problem-solving, project management and soft skills, all of which will improve while children are learning to code. Once they learn the basics and grow up, they will have more job opportunities and they will quickly grasp any programming language that is popular at that moment.

 

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About Raymond Morel (1945 Articles)
Raymond Morel is a member of the Board of Directors at SI and is President of Social-IN3, a cooperative of a researchers’ convinced of the need to address new challenges of today's Information Age, which is slowly and surely modify the entire society.

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