Coding has been hailed as one of the most important subjects of 21st Century education that every child needs to learn, but is it really all that important? Here’s why learning to code is more than just learning another language…
“I think everybody in this country should learn how to program a computer because it teaches you how to think.” – Steve Jobs
Why should we learn how to code?
- It increases problem solving skills – being able to follow programming logic trains the mind to think in more analytical ways; debugging a program leads to better problem solving skills – Golpin, 2014
- The true educational power of coding is seen when children build their own games – as they construct, hypothesise, explore, experiment, evaluate and draw conclusions in the process of creating a game – Schwarz, 1999
- Computer programming inculcates good work habits – Brian Heese, 2014:
- checking own work for details
- applying logic
- persisting with a task
- collaborating with a team
- It promotes computational thinking which has applications that extend way beyond the field of computer science since it can help students solve problems in any discipline, such as mechanical engineering, fluid mechanics, physics, biology, archeology and music.
Computational thinking teaches you how to tackle large problems by breaking them down into a sequence of smaller, more manageable problems. It allows you to tackle complex problems in efficient ways that operate at huge scale. It involves creating models of the real world with a suitable level of abstraction, and focus on the most pertinent aspects. It helps you go from specific solutions to general ones. – Dan Crow, The Guardian
Getting Started Coding
Tickle is the world’s first app that enables anyone to program an air drone. It’s also the world’s first visual programming app for the Star Wars BB-8 Droid, Sphero (SPRK) robotic ball, Ollie 2-wheeled robot, Parrot Rolling Spider, Airborne, and Jumping Sumo mini drones, Arduino LightBlue Bean, Philips Hue smart home lighting system, and Dash and Dot by Wonder Workshop – all wirelessly from your iPad. You can also program interactive stories and games using our library of animated characters and sounds.
Tickle is easy to learn, yet incredibly powerful. Learn to code the same way as the introductory Computer Science courses at Harvard and UC Berkeley. With drag-and-drop programming for real-world objects, and “the most awesome blocks programming environment for iPad”, you’ll be making drones fly and flip in mid-air, and robots move through obstacle courses in a few minutes.
- Intro to JS: Drawing and Animation
- Intro to HTML/CSS: Making webpages
- Intro to SQL: Querying and managing data
- Advanced JS: Games and Visualizations
- Advanced JS: Natural Simulations
- HTML/JS: Making webpages interactive
- HTML/JS: Making webpages interactive with jQuery
Scratch is a project of the Lifelong Kindergarten Group at the MIT Media Lab. It helps young people learn to think creatively, reason systematically, and work collaboratively. With this program, you can program your own interactive stories, games, and animations — and share your creations with others in the online community.
Lightbot is a programming puzzle game- a game whose game mechanics require using programming logic to solve levels. Simply guiding a robot to light up tiles and solve levels using commands, Lightbot cultivates a real understanding of procedures, loops, and conditionals for players.
- Lightbot is recommended for children age 9+
- They also have a dedicated app created for children age 4 to 8 years
- Lightbot is also available for Android
Tynker is the easiest way for children to learn programming. Solve puzzles to learn concepts, easily build your own games, and control robots and drones using our new step-by-step coding tutorials. 50+ free starter templates included for games, apps, drawing, music, physics, and more.
You can also join the Hour of Code which is a global movement that takes place every year in December from the 7th to the 13th. The goal is to reach 200 million students in 180+ countries and give them the experience of an hour of code.