Coding for Kids

Computational power is embedded in so much of what we do each day and these tools are designed and developed by human beings. It’s not magic. It’s coding. The demand for more people experts in getting computers to do what we want them to do are needed each year, yet graduation rates for computer science and related fields are not keeping up.

Have you ever seen a toddler effortlessly take a tablet (or your mobile phone) and swipe left and right… and make an app do something useful (or expensive)? Kids get it today. Adults get it, too, but just need more time to “learn the language” since we were not born with digital devices in our hands.

I’m confident that toddlers today would not fare so well with the VT100 from 1978… I know adults certainly didn’t either.

While kids can learn and adapt faster than adults, this phenomenon is also due to human design and programming — we develop user interfaces that make sense. So, computers work because we make the work. If we want computers to continue empowering our species to thrive for the long-run, then we must foster the next generation of computer designers and programmers to create the next generation of computer hardware and software.

The critical subject of computer science is still taught in our school system with a very limited capacity, if at all. There is a growing wave of support to bring more computer science into the classroom, largely with the efforts of Code.org. So, the education system is likely to evolve and adapt toward emphasizing more computer science… eventually. 

What about right now? What about your children today? There isn’t time to wait, so many online offerings are currently available to support a robust independent learning program of how to make computers do what you want them to do. Also, since computers are integrated with activities across nearly all professions, establishing a strong foundation in computer science will benefit any future career path.

The following resources are recommended by Dynamic Patterns Research to begin your child’s exploration of computer code or to expand on previous experience — for children and adults. Since it’s never too late to learn to code (especially for those adults who as young ones struggled with the likes of the VT100!), these self-learning resources are great to launch anyone of any age into the 1s and 0s of the future.

Recommended Resources for Learning to Code 

• Khan Academy | Computing modules, from an intro to JavaScript to a behind-the-scenes look into how Pixar creates digital magic.

• Code.org | Student online coding lessons for grades K through 12.

• Hour of Code | An annual global movement enabling kids to discover the power of coding (Computer Science Education Week, December 3 – 9, 2018 in honor of the birthday of computing pioneer Admiral Grace Murray Hopper).

• Scratch from MIT Media Lab | Program stories, games, and animations to share. 

Kodable | Programming games covering problem-solving to JavaScript. Free trial for parents and educational accounts for classroom adoption.

• Google Support for CS for Youth | There would be no Google if there was no computer science. 

 

 

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Last updated November 26, 2018