Teaching Children to Code (by Jonathan Vazquez)

boy-110762_1280Introduction

Technology is an experience that has become part of our lives. Whether it be from using our debit cards for purchase, accessing online store, hybrid cars and video games. We are continuing to grow outside our boundaries, pursuing new concepts that peak our interests. Every passing day, new advancements in technology are achieve ranging in the automotive, consumer and transportation industries. One of the biggest aspects of technology is the growth it has on education. Education is the panicle of our society, without it we are not allowed to grow and expand. By targeting our younger generation, we can assure ourselves that the future will prosper with advancements in technology, specifically software. By teaching them software through games, puzzles, movies, or any form of interactive media, will help us expose software to children. Children are like software, constantly changing and growing. Providing children with the technological education will improve every aspect of our society.

 

The Proposal

Software is constantly changing. Updates and revisions are being worked on a daily. Most of these software applications are based on open source. Open source is a licensing agreement that allows the user utilizing the software to view the original source of the application. With this they can inspect, mimic and improve the application. This form of movement in the technological environment improve the idea of social coding. The idea of allowing strangers to share in a common similarity, which is coding. Much like children, we can become friends and share our passion with each other without having to be in the same vicinity. The article from CBC, “Why kids should learn to code and how to get them started,” states “Understanding code helps explain the world”. This simply topic allows us to acknowledge the great aspects of programming and how beneficial it is today. They also state “If grade-schoolers are taught biology and mathematics in order to understand the world around them, then knowing the basics of how computers communicate and how to engage with them should be a give”. Understanding the importance software and computers play a role in our life is important. By teaching them at a younger age, we can help improve their thinking and creativity. CBC also states, “Computational thinking allows preschoolers to grasp concepts like algorithms, recursion and heuristics even if they don’t understand the terms,” which in its own is a large concept but it will force a child to think smarter and better. The benefits of software and computers is increasing dramatically.

Not only can children adapt and learn at an extremely rate, they can also offer a skill most adults lack, creativity. We as adults view the world through a different perspective unlike children. We are drowned by the realization of commitment and responsibility. Unlike children, we are not able to reach certain aspect of our mind. We lack the creativity and the open mind to success. Only a few selected adults can achieve what others can’t. Adults such as Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Jobs, Elon Musk are all phenomenal business men who could achieve success through their hardship and creativity. Creativity is a skill we should hone to improve overall success in our life. Children are great at becoming creative because they lack self-doubt and worry. Children can over exceed life expectations and increase abnormal features. Our job as adults is to nurture that ability our children have. Increase their access to technological education. For example, a typical child would enjoy a set of Legos.

Legos is a great tool that allows for creativity building. What if we changed Legos and added other features such as batteries, motors, microcontroller and software. Now the limitations of Lego would diminish substantially. The child will now be able to expand from the basic mounting blocks into creative project that provide actual functions like robots, remote cars, etc. The software market is growing, specifically for education. A local store named, iToys, inc. provides STEM toys. STEM refers to science, technology, engineering and math. These specific store offers many toys of ranging ages and difficulties. A great tool to help improve your children education. Increasing exposure to these tools will increase a Childs potential in their career and help improve our software industries. A wonderful statement by Andrew Duff during the Hour of Code in the article by CBC mentions, “My wife and I wanted our kids to be introduced to computer coding, with the hopes they’d develop their love of making things”. This idea and concept is a great target for software. Increase the child engagement into technological groups specifically software will expand their viewpoint. Another great group for children group in coding is Maker fair. Maker fair as stated in The Guardian, “Should kids learn code” article, states repetitively the great aspects of Maker fair. The ability to gather groups of individuals with like interest and mind to showcase their latest creation. This is a great motivation for children and amazing field trip. Gathering kids together to show them at a visual level the power of coding and how to create cool toys and inventions. A child is visually stimulated, so viewing robots, cars, toys, etc. will peak their interest.

My approach for bringing technological interest to children is merely through the concept they already know. A child will be interested on toys such as dolls, cars, video games, etc. By using what they’re already comfortable with, we will be able to introduce software. There is a famous software platform name Scratch. It is intended for children. The use of this specific programming language platform is to teach children the fundamentals of programming and coding without the hefty list of lines. The approach is using block like shapes. Each block will contain a purpose, then we can add more blocks to extend the purpose of simply produce another action. You might wonder, how blocks help? Well scratch is based around the idea of using objects to represent the action. In other words, children will be able to drop blocks in to their platform and see the object perform the action. For example, a platform might have an animated frog sitting on a leaf. The child will tend drop blocks which consist of “Move Up, Down, Hop, etc”. Each block contains an action. The child will then drop the action they desire, and see the animated frog immediately perform. This is a visual stimulation of coding at its finest. By introducing basic concepts, we can expose and make children comfortable with the idea of coding. Software can only be learned by doing and never by watching.

Why should we teach our children to code though? The answer to that question is simply, “Why not?” Why should children be neglected the ability to expose themselves to different activates. Children are at an age that absorb information like a sponge. Writing software and coding will help them increase their problem solving. Software has many good and bad sides. Good sides are rare, but bad sides are common. They range from not having a good internet connection, to a bug in the system, not been able to connect, etc. All these issues and concerns in software are solved through problem solving and trial and error. Increase these characteristics in a child especially at a younger age will benefit their overall lifestyle during adulthood. Start your day by teaching your child the world of software.

Work Cited

Elgersma, Christine. “Cool Tools to Help Kids Learn to Code.” Common Sense Media:       Ratings, Reviews, and Advice. N.p., 15 Mar. 2016. Web. 27 May 2017.

“Coding for Kids.” Tynker.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 May 2017.

Hinsliff, Gaby. “Should Your Kids Learn to Code? | Gaby Hinsliff.” The Guardian.        Guardian News and Media, 03 Dec. 2015. Web. 27 May 2017.

“Why Kids Should Learn To Code (And How To Get Them Started) |       Learning.” CBCnews. CBC/Radio Canada, 09 Mar. 2017. Web. 27 May                            2017.

Annotated Bibliography

Elgersma, Christine. “Cool Tools to Help Kids Learn to Code.” Common Sense Media:       Ratings, Reviews, and Advice. N.p., 15 Mar. 2016. Web. 27 May 2017. This article is a great article because it already assumes your child is learning code. List a bunch of great tools to teach your child. These can be Tynker, lightbot, etc. All these tools are great resources to introduce coding to your child. This is proof that software movements are already in play. Children of ranging ages are becoming comfortable learning software. They are not bothered by the issues software can bring. Each option redirects to a resource that specialize in a specific part whether it be robotics, coding, games, etc.

 

“Coding for Kids.” Tynker.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 May 2017. This website really isn’t a resourceful blog but rather a store. Why do i want to use a store as a resource? I want to give the readers a reason to visit the store. Apart from adults loving to spend, it is another website that offer children tools for programming and coding. This is a way to reach adults, let them know that there is already a large following of programming for children. Many of these toys are children but can also double as adult learning tools. Working together as a group, Parents and kids can help stimulate the learning process of programming. Please check it out guys, not sponsored but i love tech based stores.

Hinsliff, Gaby. “Should Your Kids Learn to Code? | Gaby Hinsliff.” The Guardian.        Guardian News and Media, 03 Dec. 2015. Web. 27 May 2017. The article above was a wonderful article because it helped me realize the idea behind children learning to code. It also elaborates concepts of why girls are not so excited and enthusiastic about programming. Also brought forth some concept regarding Maker Fair and how beneficial they are. Great source with a ton of information.

“Why Kids Should Learn To Code (And How To Get Them Started) |       Learning.” CBCnews. CBC/Radio Canada, 09 Mar. 2017. Web. 27 May     2017.      The above source is a smaller more personal source regarding children and programming. It still brings many ideas and concepts to mind regarding why children should learn to code and how to approach them. I personally enjoy this source because of the personal approach it reached.

 

 

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One comment

  1. Hi Jonathan,

    Thanks for sharing this very well written post about teaching children how to code. My cousin recently become a junior software developer for Ebay and would have enjoyed reading this essay! (so I’ll probably have to forward it over to her as I’m sure she’ll want to raise her kids this way.) 🙂 I, however, disagree with the idea that children should learn to code and use technology at such a young age. I’m just extremely old fashion in the way that I believe children should be raised out doors, face to face with their surroundings and with a little technology as possible. Now, I’m fully aware we live in a technology based world and if one doesn’t stay current on everything it can be easy to fall behind but I just can’t seem to get on board with young people being glued to their phones/computers/technology etc. To be honest, how quickly it’s all escalated in the past years is crazy and I can’t even begin to imagine where we will be in another 10+ years. I think if it slows down that wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing! I do want to commend you on how well this was written and how much knowledge you have on this particular topic. I’ve read a few of your other essays this quarter and have really enjoyed your writing and the skills you posses when you put it all together. You have great flow and direction. Thanks for sharing your ideas and hope you have a wonderful summer!

    -Lindsay

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