Are you thinking whether your kids should learn coding?
Think no more. Kids Should Learn Coding. Encourage your kids and give them the opportunity to learn coding because it will be an essential skill set required for the digital age economy we are living in now and it can only get more technology focused when kids grow up.
Coding or computer programming is not just about putting together a technical set of instructions but it develops critical analytical thinking skills. It teaches the HOW to think and create, and most importantly how to solve problems.
The ability to problem solve and think critically is a fundamental skill helping kids to be prepared for the digital driven world we live in, and the way of the future.
Steve Jobs quoted:
Everybody in this country should learn to program a computer, because it teaches you to think.
Even as an adult facilitating coding workshops and working with kids to introduce computational concepts via fun and creative computer programming language platforms like Scratch, it has helped me to think outside the square and to think deeper and more logically about the next steps of instructions required, and realise that there are many different ways to the art of HOW to solve problems.
It never surprises me anymore that even a kid as young as 7 comes up with a different way of applying ‘code blocks’ together to get to the same desired result. This 7 year old kid helps his older 9 year old brother create animation stories and game designs. And the best part is, both are working together (pair programming) to help each other solve problems.
Learning to code, especially when later in life, is not easy like when you’re trying to learn a language, it is always easier as a child than when you are an adult. This is why ‘coding literacy’ at an early age should be a must.
What is computational thinking?
It is about mastering problem solving skills. It is about chunking down tasks into logical sequences of smaller steps, removing unnecessary steps, detecting errors and always looking at new ways to solve problems when the first attempt fails.
Coders have a saying that there are two solutions to every problem, and then a third that actually works. [theguardian.com]
Simply put, coding is about telling the computer what to do. The ‘what to do’ are the instructions we tell the computer.
For example, in one of our Scratch workshops, we looked at a couple of different Scratch challenges like the following:
How to make other Scratch sprites dance when you click the Cat Sprite (character) only?
The kids were given a few minutes to think about this challenge, and they were asked to put forward which Scratch ‘code blocks’ they needed, the order of the code blocks (list of steps from 1 to the end) and the trigger (Event code block) we needed to program to activate the dancing action of the other characters when only one of the characters is clicked.
This may seem to be a simple exercise but it generated lots of eager hands in the air exploding with answers, and tonnes of sheer excitement in wanting to apply the code blocks, test it, ‘debug it’ (removing the unnecessary blocks) and to try to solve the challenge, not just once but several times until we reached our goal.
Everyone, old or young, should be given the opportunity to learn coding to not only develop necessary life skills like problem solving but to become ready for the digital driven age we are living in now and the future.