As parents we’re stuck in a quandary when it comes to technology. Rationing screen time to a healthy level is important, and we all want them to run around outside and get enough fresh air. On the other hand, as the world becomes increasingly digitally focused, we need to ensure that children are part of that digital conversation.
Rewind to many parents’ childhood, and the most technology that a late 20th century born parent will have been exposed to is the early BBC micro computer, Sonic the Hedgehog and DonkeyKong games. Technology was firmly on the outer edges of life, consigned to leisure time and largely a novelty.
However, since the advent of the internet in 1995, the digital pace has simply increased year on year. Now, for most children born since 2008, and the advent of smartphones, the digital world is central to daily life, from online shopping to the presence of at least one digital device in most homes.
Technology is completely embedded in the workplace too, and within accounting, banking, medicine and increasingly government departments. It’s clear that parents will have to steer their children in order to help them navigate the choppy waters of the digital world. This is where kids coding comes into play.
Three vital areas that coding for kids enhances are confidence building, creative thinking and honing logic.
Three vital areas that coding for kids enhances are confidence building, creative thinking and honing logic. Imagine setting about devising code for a history project on the Ancient Mayans. Where would a child start?
Even the process of deciding how the finished digital images will appear, will involve a child using abstract reasoning, creativity, imagination and strategic thinking abilities. Once mastered, these will translate an abstract idea into a functioning system. This is a hugely transferable skill across the workplace and indeed life.
Kids coding is also inextricably linked to maths. For some children the mere mention of maths evokes negative emotions. This is where kids code clubs can bridge the gap and bring to life abstract concepts.
In a classroom, solving a maths problem can seem insurmountable, whereas coding can translate into a visual result on a screen. Kids coding involves creating projects that have to be broken down and analysed, similar to most complex maths problems. In this way, coding develops computational and algorithmic thinking, both key features of learning maths.
Only this time, the child is more likely to remain engaged as they realise that a string of code can become a visual feast in the form of a digital game or an aquarium filled with swimming fish, right before their eyes. Ultimately this in turn can result in a boost in academic performance once kids are back in the classroom.
Confidence is lifted when a child is mid project, and has to persevere and correct their code in order to realise their final goal. In this way, coding for kids also reinforces resilience and tenacity, key valuable character traits, but once again taught via an enjoyable medium.
In this way, coding for kids also reinforces resilience and tenacity, key valuable character traits, but once again taught via an enjoyable medium.
The rise of Artificial Intelligence which is now being incorporated into robots is potentially both exciting and threatening to the workplace of the future. Coding and digital skills will certainly become increasingly enmeshed in our everyday lives.
This means that innovators will be essential in the workplace. In the same way that learning a second language early firmly roots it in a child’s mind, kids coding started at an early age will seamlessly teach them the digital language of the future.
Finally, coding for kids is important as it will equip them with the skills to create, build, hack and code their way into the very different looking workplace of the future. This will translate across the gender divide, as both young girls and boys realise that learning is achievable for all.
It’s important to state that an obviously non-technical child won’t be magically transformed into a future software engineer, simply by learning to code. However, by attending a coding for kids workshop, all children will gain a crucial insight into the foundations of the digital world.
This is where the true value of kids coding will be revealed, as children lose the irrational ‘fear’ that often surrounds the digital aspects of work. Therefore, the most important effect of kids learning to code will be a demystifying of the digital world, providing a crucial increase in their confidence.
Even if the children never code again, they’ve gained invaluable skills in problem solving in a logical manner, which they can take forward in all aspects of their life journey.