Living in the Digital Age, we can no longer undermine the importance of programming and coding for kids. Technology drives almost everything in today’s world, and undoubtedly, it will continue to dominate every field in the future as well. Software has become a universal language of the world.
Children need to be introduced to the coding and programming world in the early stages of their life itself. It is a known fact that children under the age of seven have enhanced learning skills and can rapidly grasp new concepts, such as new languages. So, why not encourage them to learn the languages of the technology world?
The idea here is not to create a generation of software engineers, but to promote computational thinking – a creative process of the mind that helps find solutions to big problems through a combination of maths, algorithms, and logic. Stimulating this kind of thought process will prepare children for both the present and the future. Computational thinking will lay the base for a better understanding of algorithms, recursion, and heuristic techniques in kids. In fact, educational experts are calling coding ‘the new literacy,’ – understanding and learning its basics are just as essential as learning alphabets.
In 2016, former President of the United States, Barack Obama launched the “Computer Science For All” initiative, with the aim to empower all American students with the basic knowledge of computer science and computational skills. He explained:
“We live in a time of extraordinary change, change that’s affecting the way we live and the way we work. New technology replaces any job where work can be automated. Workers need more skills to get ahead. These changes aren’t new, and they’re only going to accelerate. So the question we have to ask ourselves is, ‘How can we make sure everyone has a fair shot at success in this new economy?’”
The answer is simple: Computer Science.
Here are a few reasons why we should encourage children to learn the language of programming and coding.
- It boosts creativity
As mentioned earlier, coding is essentially a creative process that engages the mind in thinking and deliberating on plausible ideas. When the boundless imagination of children is complemented by coding, an instrument holding immense possibilities, one can only expect astounding results. Through experimentation with their unique ideas, kids can keep their brain engaged – and in the process, polish their creative skills.
- It helps improve cognitive skills
In the course of coding and programming, children begin to visualize abstract concepts, sharpen their mathematical, written, and verbal skills. With every mistake and challenge, they learn to figure out new and possible solutions for a particular problem. With time, kids develop enhanced concentration and organizational power.
- It prepares children to be smart individuals of the Smart Age
As kids will learn the language of programming, they will also learn more about technology, its advantages, and disadvantages. Kids aren’t strangers to smart devices such as smartphones, iPads, or the Xbox. As they begin to understand these technologies, they can better evaluate the pros and cons of a specific technology and use it to their benefit.
- Increasing demand for coders and software engineers
As our world continues to become increasingly software integrated, the demand for coders and programmers is on the rise. So, learning to master the art of coding isn’t at all a bad idea after all!
Many universities and educational institutions in the West have already warmed up to this idea and have developed children-friendly softwares that help them learn the language of programming in a fun and engaging way. For instance, Blockly by Google and Scratch by MIT are paving the way for the coders of tomorrow. While Blockly allows kids to create computer games through a drag-and-drop technique, Scratch is a visual programming language that introduces them to basic programming concepts through the creation of games, videos, and music.
Coding is no longer the stereotyped cup-of-tea of the nerds – rather, it is one of the coolest language one can learn today. It is a stepping stone to creating solutions that can go a long way to solve the pressing problems of the world. So, guiding our children on this path and preparing them for the times to come seems like the right way to go!
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