Teaching children how to code is getting more popular day by day. Many public and private enterprises have started to raise awareness on this issue. What are the basic coding skills relevant to almost all of today’s and tomorrow’s professions? In other words, why should today’s children be taught coding?
In an interview, Steve Jobs once said: “Everybody in this country [the US] should learn to programme a computer because it teaches you how to think”. Other famous names such as NBA star Chris Bosh, Facebook’s first female engineer Ruchi Sanghv and Microsoft’s founder Bill Gates think the same way.
In future, your children may not want a job related to computer technologies. They may want to become a football player, painter, doctor or a psychologist. Will learning coding help them get a better job? Absolutely! Learning to code can improve their thinking skills, help them solve complex problems and also think creatively.
The following are some reasons for children to learn coding:
Learning to code does not have to be something difficult. One can learn how to code with simple-to-learn computer languages like ‘Scratch’ or ‘Python’. There are also many coding languages which have been specifically created for beginners to learn how to code.
Coding education gives children skills and puts them to practice in a fun way in mathematics, science, problem-solving, teamwork, project-based thinking, and even creative arts, if one is coding an artistic project (e.g. drawing a flower). During coding, children are discovering, first and foremost, how a computer works. Experts call this computational and design-oriented thinking. Computational thinking is taught in schools today. Programming is like learning a new language. Coding is done using a computer language. According to experts, the younger one is, the easier it is to learn a new language and this also applies to learning a computer language.
About 60 per cent of the new jobs envisaged in the areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics will be computer-related.
Coding prepares children for the life of tomorrow. Almost all non-ICT jobs in future will include some type of coding and people who learn simple coding will be more employable. Coding is usable in professions ranging from farming to law and from construction to medicine.
Code learning also gives children more confidence within technology.
Coding is also one of the latest liberal arts. Liberal arts are designed to prepare people for life and help students to better understand the world around them. Coding is an area that will become increasingly precious in the increasingly digitalising world and help them understand what is happening throughout the world.
There are many programming platforms developed for children. Code.org, Kodable, Tynker, Scratch and Codeacademy are only a few examples of them. The teaching of these and similar platforms in schools or at home will open the way for future generations to better recognise the world in which our children will be living and become individuals who not only consume the technology but also produce it.
Mansur Akbulut is an Erasmus+ Intern, Ankara Yildirim Beyazit University, eSkills Malta Foundation.
(This article was submitted by the eSkills Malta Foundation)
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