According to Code.org, while coding accounts for 70% of new STEM jobs, only 7% of STEM graduates major in computer science. Every student at every level, in my opinion, should be taught how to code. They need this skill not because they might opt for this career—that is unrealistic—but because it has an impact on every career in the twenty-first century.
The top skills of the twenty-first century are problem-solving, critical thinking, creativity, collaboration, communication, productivity and social skills. Can you figure out which one uses coding to lend a hand? An obvious answer is “all”. Is that true? Well, that depends on how coding is taught to them; are they driven to break down a difficult task into manageable steps, or are they left overwhelmed by the first sight of it?
Let us see what are the most effective methods or tips for teaching your child to code.
- Introduce the basics - Computer and its parts
- Start with block-based coding
- Use digital resources and games
- Use programming toys
- Collaborate and code
Introduce the basics - Computer and its parts
To introduce the students to the world of programming, start by explaining what a computer is made of, how computers have made our lives simpler, what an application and hardware is. Understanding the fundamentals will pave the way for the basics of how a software is created. At Cuemath we ensure that the students begin by understanding the fundamentals and then progress to learning programming. You can do these activities at home by using online guides or tools.
Start with block-based coding
Coding isn't just about learning a language; it's also about how you solve a problem and arrive at a solution in a structured manner. To begin with, the focus should be on teaching the fundamentals. Students can learn the core concepts through block-based coding. This is primarily focused on arranging and understanding the commands without having to worry about the syntax of a language. Some popular platforms like Scratch, Code.org are available to use free of cost.
Scratch is the easiest language to learn because your child doesn't have to think about the syntax; instead, the code is created by connecting blocks of code. Try out these platforms with your kid and get ready for a surprise.
Use digital resources and games
Games are an interactive way to learn to code. They guarantee engagement and fun ways to apply the programming concepts. Games also build persistence and a quest for winning. Game-based learning systems help the students acquire problem-solving skills, build focus and concentration. With expert guidance the students can also be explained how UI and UX work, what logic would have been used to develop the games. You can check out Kidlocoding for some well-thought-out coding games.
Digital resources like freely available worksheets, informative videos on youtube can also be used to teach the students the fundamentals of programming.
Use programming toys
Each child has a unique learning style; some children learn best from books, while others prefer visual displays or animated video lessons. Some children are tactile learners, that is they learn the best if they can touch and feel things. Coding "toys" such as the ‘micro-bit’ and ‘bits box’ could be a fun choice for these learners. Physical toys strengthen learning. They help the students concretise the concepts learnt. It is easier to understand the concepts when you see them in reality. Here are some of the recommendations that you can explore at home.
Microbit is a small ATM card-sized physical board that will help the students understand programming concepts in real-time. They will get to apply their knowledge and see how a given piece of code works.
Bitsbox is a subscription service that sends out DIY app projects. The projects allow the kids to build apps on the machine, which they can then play with on any mobile device. To get started, you don't need any coding knowledge.
Collaborate and Code
Nothing is more enjoyable than doing things and learning together. Studies have shown that when we collaborate, the brain becomes more involved and alert. Collaborative learning promotes peer learning. It helps students brainstorm and bounce off their ideas. Pair programming is a form of collaborative learning. Here one person gets to review the code and the other person who is programming gets to debug the code. With the recent turn of events, it is a preferable option to let the students connect with their peers and learn to code together.
There are some effective tips that will undoubtedly give your children an advantage in their coding learning effort. There are excellent ways to get started with technology, and since it is such a cutting-edge field, there are still new tools and innovations to keep up with. Assigning your child to a knowledgeable teacher is indeed a smart thing to do as it ensures a right learning path and guarantees strong fundamentals.
At Cuemath we have a community of talented teachers who are applying the best practices focussed on research to give your child sound fundamentals in computer science, critical reasoning, and artistic problem-solving abilities. Cuemath provides live 1:1 Live Online Coding classes and Math classes. Book a demo and get in touch with our academic counsellor to get the best course for your child.
Albert is an inquisitive math research student who is inspired by the philosophy of science and aspires to live a life with lucidity of mind, enduring sense of fun, and transparent honesty. He discovered programming while doing math and fell madly in love with it. Since then, he has been deeply involved with it, even going so far as to pursue a part-time degree in programming and data science at IIT Madras. He is a gifted artist who enjoys drawing, painting, digital art, and animations, as well as a keen table tennis player and a great admirer of classical music.