Coding is a computer language that is prevalent in our world today. Frankly, our children are all digital natives, so they will be expected to know some form of coding as adults. While coding as a language may feel foreign to many of us, there are websites that can help introduce our children to coding. There are lots of different types of code that we should all be familiar with, such as html. If you want to learn more yourself, or teach your kids more about coding, there are several resources that can assist you.
As computer science fields continue to advance, coding will be a new normal, and will be used in many careers and across various industries around the world. The need to learn to code is especially important since many jobs of the past are now automated and machine driven. To increase our children’s marketability, we should provide them with the skills they need to be the brains behind the machines.
I believe exposing children to this language early is critical to students learning it thoroughly. Thankfully, there are many free options that are now available for any person to learn coding. While “free” sounds good, we also want to think about safety and how to offer our children ad-free options. Here are a few resources that I trust to give my kids access to coding.
Five Free Computer Coding Programs
The recommended age is children seven years old and older. Children will have an opportunity to code robots, build apps, explore stem, create mods for Minecraft, code drones, and build games. Tynker is great because it makes learning coding exciting and student-directed. Kids will feel like their playing games, while in fact, they are learning a new language.
“Scratch is a project of the Lifelong Kindergarten Group at the MIT Media Lab.”(1) It gives kids an opportunity to create, innovate, and problem solve from a computer.
Hour of Code
The Hour of Code takes place each year during Computer Science Education Week. It is both a movement and event that takes place each year. The activities section of their website has tons of games that introduce young students to coding adventures.
One cool aspect on the Hour of Code website is that there is a resource for teachers that tells you exactly how to teach computer science at each appropriate grade level.
This site provides online classes for kids to learn how to code. It is a nonprofit agency that wants to connect more women and minority groups to computer science fields. The 100 percent free curriculum is helping code.org reach their goal.
Parents are sometimes relieved when they find out their kids want to create a video rather than just play on one. Stencyl is offers a block-snapping interface and games, so kids can create their video games.
Lego Mindstorms EV3
This program is a paid program that kids and adults who are Lego enthusiasts will enjoy. The learning game comes with three interactive servo motors, remote control, a color sensor, redesigned touch sensor, infrared sensor, and 550+ LEGO® Technic elements. The EV3 Programmer App is a free download available for iOS and Android tablet devices.
These programs provide great free starting points. While the basic levels that will give students a good understanding of how to use the program are free, if parents and kids want to go into more depth with coding there are some paid components available as well.
Proverbs 1:5 states that, “A wise [man] will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsel.”(2) As our world changes, the information that we teach our children will change too. Of course the fundamentals of reading, writing, and arithmetic will always be there, but now we owe it to our children to give them a language that they can build upon later in life.
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(1) Scratch.mit.edu. (2017). Scratch – About. [online] Available at: https://scratch.mit.edu/about [Accessed 21 Aug. 2017].
(2) Kingjamesbibleonline.org. (2017). PROVERBS 1:5 KJV “A wise [man] will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels:”. [online] Available at: https://www.kingjamesbibleonline.org/Proverbs-1-5/ [Accessed 21 Aug. 2017].