Do children need to learn coding at an early age? What are the best coding edtechs to teach kids? These are questions you must be asking yourself. We want to answer these questions before we get into the world of code.
Computer Science is not a national subject at the school level in many countries. Some countries have included it in the school curriculum as a part of their education policy. This gift is not available to all children. Updating the curriculum to include computer science is a huge challenge, and teachers have shown remarkable leadership in the past few years.
Teaching to code at the school level is an idea that has raised some important questions:
- English and Maths are difficult for public school students. Public school students should not lose sight of the basics, and will that happen if coding is included in the curriculum?
- Screen time is a problem for children these days. Are we willing to allow screen time in schools?
- Why is it so important to learn to code these days? We have doctors to treat diseases and mechanics to fix cars. Why not just let the coders do the coding?
These are valid questions, and we’ll address them from a different perspective. Let’s not talk about code. The term code is a common nickname for Computer Science in public schools. Computer Science is an academic discipline that requires a lot more than just learning how to code. Writing is not just for those who want to be writers.
Mathematicians are not the only ones who need to learn maths. These topics are taught in every public school because they’re essential for all other pursuits. Computer Science is not just for coders. Computer Science is fundamental and should be taught in every public school. In fact, many online platforms such as GreatSkools, CodeCombat, Code.org are doing amazing teaching.
How many of us love maths? Our kids don’t go to school to learn how to factor polynomials or divide, but they will factor in polynomials throughout their lives. Maths is all about logic and problem-solving. It teaches children how to think. Computer Science also involves logic, problem-solving, and learning how to think. It also teaches advanced concepts similar to maths. It’s also more engaging and fun than maths. It is also more concrete, entertaining, and interesting. It also makes it easier for children to understand advanced concepts at a younger age.
Children can learn more languages and grasp more information before they turn 10. If you wonder when is the best time to teach coding to a child, this is your answer. A child should begin learning coding at Elementary schools. A child as young as in 3rd, 4th, or 5th grade can start learning to code and have concentration and logical problem-solving skills. This generation is already tech-savvy and will be able to learn coding in innovative ways. The following are just a few ways in which they can learn to code:
- Actual programs can be shown source code. Programming requires more practice than reading books. Python is one example of a programming language that allows for interactive shells that encourage experimentation. It also allows you to see what the program was programmed to do. Writing code is a far better way of teaching programming concepts than just lectures. Even though you have learned variables, loops, and functions, it can be daunting to use an editor and start a new program or write the codes line by line. If you don’t have the time or desire to teach your children how to code, enroll them in an online class. You can find many online training platforms, such as Codecademy, Vedantu, and Byjus. Register on one of these sites to allow your child to learn something new during the lockdown (do we need it?).
- Use Scratch to help younger children. Scratch is a programming tool developed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for children. It works in any modern web browser. It is available for free. Scratch’s simple interface is ideal for children aged 8-13 years. Scratch’s drag and drop code blocks snap together. It does not work if the code is wrong, and this makes syntax errors impossible. Scratch is a better option if you have younger children who don’t know how to type.
- Programming games is a lot of fun. Many young programmers start their careers by programming video games. Angry Birds and Flappy Bird are great sources of inspiration. If kids can develop or create a game using Scratch, they will be more interested in programming. It’s possible that some of the games your children love won’t make for great programming projects when they are just beginning. To create a game, you will need to work with developers, artists, designers, and other creative people. It is possible to be overwhelmed by games that require complex-level design and intricate artwork.
- You can keep your fingers off the keyboard and mouse and let your child explore the internet and ask questions. It’s exciting to share your knowledge. It’s great to share your programming knowledge with others. Coding is a skill that can only be learned by doing practical work. While working with children, it is important not to jump in and type the codes yourself, even temporarily. Instead of clicking on the button or menu, have them point at the screen with their finger and click it. If there is a code that must be entered, ask them to do it. You may want to do it yourself to finish it quickly, but children need practice, and they should be allowed to do so.
Provide your students with an opportunity to think differently. You’ll be amazed by the changes you will see in your kids. Check Khan academy or search Udemy courses for kids or register for a free demo trial class for 1:1 teaching with live online teachers from GreatSkools, an Edtech started by a group of PhDs from the USA.
GreatSkools, a Delaware USA-based Edtech, provides 1:1 online STEM education in Computer Science, Mathematics, Science & Technology, and English, and is operational in the USA, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, Dubai, Saudi Arabia, India, Singapore, and the United Kingdom.