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Most agree that all children need to be able to read, write, and do arithmetic. But should coding be added to the core curriculum? Maybe. It’s a great way to:
Teach problem-solving skills
Build digital confidence
Understand the digital world that we live in
Think like a computer ‘thinks’, to make advanced coding easier
We’re constantly surrounded by technology, whether we’re working in a kitchen in New York City or programming servers in a datacenter in Chicago. Everywhere we turn there are digital solutions to existing problems. And powering all of this?
Code. Lots and lots of code.
But for most people, coding is an abstract thing, something that people do deep in the recesses of their basement or in the bowels of faceless organizations. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Everyday people can and are learning to code, and are better positioned for jobs, more capable of complex problem solving, and better equipped to engage in our digital world. And as more and more entrepreneurs and computer science graduates recognize the importance of coding in their lifetime, they want to pass that on to their kids.
Linus Torvalds, the Finnish software engineer who built Linux, said that people don’t program for money or because someone’s telling them to. Good programmers write “because it’s fun to program.” We need to shift the impression of coding and programming away from the basement-dwelling geek and towards what it really is – smart people getting together and creating amazing things for others.
And it starts with our kids.
While you’re waiting for the school curriculum to get on board, there are lots of things that you can do show your kids how much fun digital creation can be. We’ve put together our favorite websites, apps, robots, and board games you can get to teach kids that coding’s fun.
Hope you like ‘em.
Transcript: Fun Ways Kids Can Learn to Code
Everyone can agree that children need to learn reading, writing, and arithmetic, but should computer coding be a “must learn” skill now? A number of computer science experts and entrepreneurs think so. There are plenty of toys, games, and other ways for parents to help their children learn how to code in a way that’s fun.
Why Kids Should Code
Teaches problem-solving skills
Learning how to create programs (or fix the mistakes in them) teaches children to find innovative solutions to problems
Builds digital confidence
Digital literacy makes children feel more empowered about technology
Better understanding of the world around them
Almost every facet of life is becoming digital, and children that can code will be better able to adapt and interact with these changes
Learn how to think computationally
Coding requires children to think differently than normal
Children that code learn how to break big problems into smaller ones
Learn how to turn specific solutions into general ones
Changes them from consumers to producers
By learning to code, children actually create digital things
They no longer just passively consume what others have made
Head start on the job market
By 2020, computer-related employment will rise by 22%
Computer science-related fields pay well
Average annual salaries for some CS careers:
Systems Administrator: $75,000
Software QA Engineer: $91,000
Mobile Application Developer: $102,000
Different Ways for Kids to Learn
While some schools are starting to integrate computer programming into the curriculum, parents can give their kids a jump start. There are a number of ways you can help your kids learn to code, depending on how old they are and how much you want to invest.
Websites and Downloadable Programs
Kids can access these websites and downloadable programs and learn to code on their computers:
Spencer studied politics and psychology at university in New Zealand, which sparked his interest in efficient communication. His interest in technology just developed along the way. When he's not writing, he's usually attempting to bake sourdough while listening to "This American Life."