A popular question is: when should my child start to learn to code? The answer is, as soon as possible and here’s why.
Schools around the world are beginning to implement computer and tablet programs. Instead of hand writing homework, students are solving math problems on tablet applications, collaborating with their peers on projects through Google Drive, and studying using videos on YouTube.
The majority of these students, however competent in their typing and stylus usage, do not understand the technology behind the screen. Think of programming technology like a car’s engine: everyone knows how to drive their vehicle, but as soon as something breaks down, the vast majority seek professional services to fix their problems. What if students knew how to fix it on their own – evading the costly repair jobs and possibly leading to future success in the field? With the right tools, your student can learn not only how to navigate programs, but how to debug and build them. These students have an opportunity to learn more about computer science at a younger age than any generation before them.
More than ever the tools young learners need to become successful developers are just a few clicks away. In learning not only how to drive their success, but how to build the vehicle itself, some students are getting ahead of their peers.
If you’re wondering whether your little Einstein is ready? Start by asking them what their favorite game on the App Store or Google Play is? What are the best parts of the game? What makes it fun? Are there any things they wish they could change? Once your child is excited about one of their favorite activities, give them the computer, logged onto a track, and tell them ‘We can make that game, this is the first step!’
Programming is a major part of our children’s future. It’s not just something that will help them get a job in a Silicon Valley start-up it’s the essential ingredient that will open up doors for them in every single profession you can think of.
In September, Treehouse will be launching a set of courses aimed at getting kids 11-15 excited about coding. Why? Because we think it’s as important as learning to read and write.
When I started Power Up Tech Academy, I thought my youngest students would be starting around age 8 (3rd grade in the US). Since that time, I have experimented with teaching kids as young as 5, and I even had one exceptional 4 year old in a class.
There is a lot of real learning that can happen at ages 5-7, but it’s not the same as teaching older kids. We don’t spend as much time “truly coding”, but rather use an integrated program of group discussions/lessons, unplugged games and activities, videos and iPad apps.
To teach younger kids, you need to think about fine motor skills, attention spans and reading levels. There is also a lot of variation in kids at that age, and some kids will respond better than others.
My advice is to keep it fun, mix it up and remember that the race is long – you don’t need to learn everything about coding when you are 5 years old! 🙂
Thanks so much for sharing your valuable experience and observations Tamasin, we really appreciate it! Best of luck with Power Up Tech Academy, keep us updated on how things progress! 🙂
This is such an important theme, i want my kids to learn but we are from Portugal and when I use a platform written in english I think that learning to code AND learning english at the same time is difficult (he is 7).
What do you think about this language gap?
This is awesome! I have a baby on the way and had this exact question! You all should consider courses aimed toward ages even younger than 11.
Thanks Cj! I absolutely will! I only started at Treehouse a few months ago but I’m working hard to build down from the existing Treehouse courses.
Nice. It’s exciting to think about a future where most people know some basics of programming. That would really open up the potential for amazing applications to be created because of the diverseity of minds looking at common problems. Level up humanity!
I couldn’t agree more! Thanks for your comment 🙂
I think its never too late for anyone to learn coding and for kids its earlier the better. At Karkhana we think that coding is next universal language that is common to both human and machine. We are also developing a project based programming curriculum for kids where they will make electronic music using code. We are also looking into visual programming platform like the Scratch from MIT for kids to learn logic. We think being able to understand and develop logic is far more important than the programming language. It would be helpful if you can share you idea on how can we teach kids to code in next blog.
Thank you for sharing your thought.
This is a brilliant post. This is one of Marxent’s key messages and points of concern for the future. This is such a brilliant idea there are a few new ways to teach kids how to code. The first one I ran across is a board game. Where the base is teaching the players how to code and is designed for young children. It is great because mom and dad can get involved with it, and I love a good board game along with quality family time. The name of the board game is Robot Turtles and is $25 at retail.
Here is the link if you wanted to check it out: http://www.robotturtles.com/
The second new technique for teaching kids that I have run across is within the ever popular Minecraft. Created by ThoughtSTEM and uses achievements, various levels and the fun of sharing what you have built with friends. There are video tutorials and use of a Tetris mini game to teach java script.
Here is the link if you wanted to check it out: http://www.engadget.com/2014/08/18/learntomod-teaches-coding-via-minecraft/
I am looking for options that we can share and use with Marxent to help develop a bright future for coding and programming. If you have any please feel free to share.
Thanks for sharing your useful information.this is very useful information.
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