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Guide: Teaching Kids to Code: Myths, Facts and Reality
Since it has become clear that the digital revolution of our time is unstoppable, teach the next generation to code has become a lucrative industry; just think of programming apps for children, educational toys and robots, the accompanying manuals, test books, competitions, tutoring, etc.
However, what is less clear how to achieve the goal – or as it must be achieved at allAside from pragmatic concerns like which programming language you learn first, it is debated whether coding will really be a necessary skill for everyoneAnd if so, what methodology to teach it to make today’s children successful in the future world.back to menu ↑
Discuss the need to learn coding
Some articles try to teach parents something how to raise the next Zuckerberg (Steve Jobs, etc.), while others strongly advise against it. Fears of the future unemployment of people who cannot code are also common, and we may also come across articles denying that coding should be a ubiquitous skill at all.
While most of these articles contain a lot of useful information and are written with good intentions, the whole subject still comes across as madness
The world is changing so quickly and the future is so unpredictable that it is difficult to guess what would be the best, but there are certainly misconceptions that often crop up up in discussions about how to teach kids to code.back to menu ↑
Myth # 1 – Programming starts on the screen
It’s not always the best idea to glue very small children to screens, especially at an age when they can barely sit still. Fortunately, programming does not necessarily have to start on the computer.
It is more important for children to do this at a young age picking up a special way of thinking that is necessary to be successful in any profession requires complex logic and advanced problem-solving skills, such as programming.
The skill that helps lay the foundation of theirs creative confidence is called inventions literacy and can be practiced from a very early age by encouraging children explore and understand their environment and to creating new things
Since most kids are natural born explorers, it’s not hard to do. In most cases, it is enough to just leave them play freely and encourage them to pursue their interests
If you want to know how creative confidence can help your kids in their future profession, check out the book “Creating Innovators” by Tony Wagner, a brilliant Harvard professor.back to menu ↑
Myth # 2 – Coding should be boring for kids
Coding is only boring for kids when taught in the same way as adults.
Today, there are many great tools that make use of fascinating and fun techniques to teach children to program. Apple’s latest Swift Playgrounds uses, for example interesting puzzles and immersive 3D graphics to introduce them step by step in coding concepts.
As children begin to learn to code using a tool specifically tailored to their needs, they don’t need to learn commands and syntax in the beginning
These encryption apps make them picking up the logic in playful and intuitive ways, and they can gradually move to working with real codeback to menu ↑
Myth # 3 – They have to start at a very early age
The issue here isn’t limited to just debating when is the right age for kids to start programming. We also need to talk about what kind of activities can be categorized under programming.
Educational sites, such as Code.org, have exercises for ages 4-6 improve their computational skills and basic logicMost people who visit the sites will probably not consider these exercises to be “programming”.
In this Venture Beat article, three IT professionals give three very different opinions about whether it’s worth teaching toddlers to code. Their different views stem from their different definitions of what coding is.
In general, it can be said that even visual languages, such as Scratch (recommended for ages 8-16), are difficult for most children under primary school age to understand before they can read, write, and use basic math with confidence.
Also, most of the best programmers of our time learned to code as an older child or teenager. For example, Bill Gates started at 13 and Mark Zuckerberg was in 6th grade.back to menu ↑
Myth # 4 – It is possible to choose the right language
Which programming language is best to start with, or it should be a “real” or a child-friendly language is also a discussed topic.
One thing is certain: it is impossible to choose the right language, and therefore it is not worth paying too much attention to it.
First of all, there is no magic recipe that works for every childEach of them will fall in love with a different language – or not fall in love with programming at all, which isn’t a tragedy either.
In addition, the technology industry is changing so quickly that it is hardly guessable what language will be requested when today’s children become adults.
Below is the TIOBE Programming Community Index which indicates the popularity of various programming languages between 2002 and.
By the time your child enters the job market, this chart will likely look very different – some languages may disappear and new ones will likely appear up
Programming is typically a field that requires lifelong learning, therefore the most important thing for children to picking up the logic and concepts that recur in every language
Also in this rapidly changing world soft skills, such as problem solving, interpersonal, and project management skills, are increasingly important, so it’s more profitable approach programming from a holistic perspective instead of strictly enforcing this or that language.back to menu ↑
Myth # 5 – In the future everyone will have to code
In the digital age, most, if not all, jobs are increasingly common make use of technologyBut like user experience design is also thriving, people who will work in non-technical fields, such as marketing, education, publishing or healthcare, will most likely not need to code as part of their job.
Therefore, if your child is simply not interested in coding, it is not a drama as it will still be possible to be successful in other areas as well.
But watch out: digital literacy will be crucial for everyoneA. digitally literate person is someone who can:
- safe and confident use various devices and software
- understand how they relate to each other
- have a certain knowledge from things like web publications, online communication tools, internet search, word processors, spreadsheets, content management systems, social media, image editors, productivity software and many others
- and understand concepts such as online privacy and digital rights and responsibilities.
IMAGE: efaqt.comback to menu ↑
Digital literacy is more important
Programming, web development, systems administration and other advanced IT skills are not usually referred to as digital literacy
On the other hand, a basic understanding of coding can certainly improve digital literacy along with many other skills such as problem solving, critical thinking and logicso it’s great when kids can learn all this in school.
That can also be argued basic coding should be taught to every child, just like reading, writing and calculating because how else can we know whether a child has talent or not
And even if they don’t end up as programmers they will certainly benefit from the knowledgeBut imagining the future workplace as a place where everyone will have to be fluent programmers (or write code at all) is simply unrealistic.back to menu ↑
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