In the past few years, online coding classes for children have become popular. Some growth could be credited to the proliferation of free platforms. Whether a part of a school curriculum or an extracurricular activity during this pandemic, more and more parents are getting their kids to join online coding programs.
Coding for kids not just boosts writing and mathematical skills, it also provides valuable skills in life and in the workforce later on. There are so many reasons why it’s important to learn to code and why it should be taught in educational institutions at an early age. The early children learn coding, the bigger the chance for success will be.
When children are introduced to coding, they acquire an appreciation of the workings of digital technology, which is a huge part of the lives of most children nowadays because they’re surrounded by video games, smartphones, websites, video entertainment, and even robots. The driver of all these is computer or software programs built by coding.
The same as learning chemistry, biology, and math, it’s important for children to understand the building blocks of a critical part of their lives. They should be aware that what occurs when they use technology isn’t magic, and they could build useful programs themselves. Later on, as they grow, kids will make full use of the knowledge gained when they were still young, in various endeavors and industries, including custom software development, which is a very profitable venture today.
So, how do you bring effective coding for children to homes and schools in a scalable manner? Let’s check out five ways to transform online coding classes for children and help them get a head start.
Ideas to Revolutionize Kids Online Code Learning
1. Using Real Programming Languages
Typically, online coding classes teach young kids to use a visual block method, which eliminates typing. Although drag and drop methods could definitely minimize frustrations for children 7 years below, they were designed as training wheels that kids outgrow as well. Most similar courses continue using drag and drop tools until middle school, and high school, when often kids are ready for real languages as early as 7 and 8.
2. Learning from Real Engineers
Computer programming could be a challenge, and there are a lot of times during the process when it’s necessary to seek help from a mentor or teacher who knows to code. Most of the online programming courses are meant to minimize this, but in the meantime, they also rid of the most impactful ways of teaching children how to code.
Majority of these online classes have no support from live engineers. Moreover, it’s also difficult to find enough engineers to work in organizations all over the world, and nearly impossible to find programmers willing to travel to private homes and schools. However, what if a highly skilled and trainee engineer could interact with children during online classes?
What if programmers connect with live screen share and messaging the same as how giant tech firms provide services? The blended learning model is the future of computer science education, and would be commonplace in the years to come as online coding classes for kids become mainstream.
3. Using Real Environments and Tools
The big majority of coding classes for kids online utilize closed platforms, which create an experience that’s ‘on rails’, which minimizes errors. The main reasons why creators do this is to try and get rid of the need for teachers who have an engineering background. However, there is a huge benefit to using real coding tools and environments.
For one, children get to use the same tools used in giant companies such as Facebook, Google, Intel, and so on. This gives kids true 21st century skills, helping them acquire confidence with tools that normally are introduced only in college. Second, the use of real environments would almost definitely develop their ability to debug code, which is critical.
4. Teaching Children to Build Real Apps and Games
Letting kids join online coding classes is easy, what is challenging is how to keep them interested. The best coding classes teach children how to build things they’re already interested in, such as video games, apps, and Minecraft mods. Engaging their imagination and creating the association between creativity and coding is highly effective in keeping them interested enough to put up with so many frustrations and challenges that normally come with custom software development.
5. Tap into the Passions of Every Kid
Coding could be used in building numerous programs, thus encouraging children to try what appears to be interesting. Some apps that focus on everything, from animation to drawing, from storytelling to designing a game. There are also kits that allow them to create programs and design robots to operate them, such as Lego’s Mindstorms, littleBits, and Sparki.
Kids who love reading could build websites for publishing reviews of books that they have read. Furthermore, sports enthusiasts could create websites for keeping tabs of the stats of their favorite teams or players. Tap into something that the class already enjoys doing and show them how to make use of coding as a new way to bring to life their ideas.
Online coding classes for children have come a long way since the ‘Hello World’ approach days. Getting children to learn how to code at a young age prepares them for what lies ahead. Furthermore, coding also helps them in boosting math, writing, creativity, communication, and builds their confidence.
Coding didn’t become popular by accident. The relevance of knowing how to code is a fact, especially among the younger generation. Learning how to write programs helps think better, but it stretches the mind as well, meaning that there are so many coding benefits not just for adults, but for kids and students as well.