Coding. Programming. Computing. Developing.
For those of us who attended school in the days when it took half of the IT lesson just to fire up the computer and wait for the noisy dial-up internet to connect, these concepts can seem somewhat alien.
Nevertheless, in an increasingly technology-driven world, computer programming is becoming more and more important for children to learn from a young age.
Here, we have compiled a list of 5 great reasons that kids should learn to code, both in and out of school:
It’s Vital for Future Careers
With the rapid rate at which technology is advancing, it’s hard to avoid the scaremongering stories telling us that our jobs are at risk of being taken over by robots. In reality, while many jobs will be lost to new technology, many new jobs will also be created; jobs that few are currently qualified to perform.
In fact, the so called ‘Digital skill gap’ that we have here in the UK was a fundamental factor in the redesigning of the Computing curriculum. 3 out of 4 UK companies have reported that they already have a digital skills shortage amongst staff.
For our children to take advantage of these new jobs and fill the skill gaps, it’s imperative that they gain an understanding of these computer skills as early as possible and embed what they learn by experimenting with coding both in and out of school.
It’s a Big Part of the Curriculum
Since the new national curriculum was released in 2014, the Computing syllabus has required children as young as 5 to ‘understand and apply the fundamental principles and concepts of computer science’. By the end of Key Stage 2, children are expected to use and program a vast range of hardware and software independently.
Unfortunately, with the pressures of many other subjects, Computing probably doesn’t get the amount of time that it deserves in the school timetable, which is why out of school activities are so important.
It Creates a Diverse Skill Set
Got a degree in animation, graphic design, computer science, physics, mathematics, art or software engineering? Then you could become a game developer!
This diverse array of skills show just how complex the art of designing and programming a game is. Even at Primary and early Secondary School level, children use their knowledge of Maths, Physics, Literacy and Design to create their game.
The worry that children spend too much time playing video games is an understandable one, particularly when technology is now becoming so prevalent in schools as well as at home. However, several pedagogists have suggested that ‘gamification’ (the application of typical elements of game playing to other areas of learning) increases children’s engagement in their school work.
From my own experience as a teacher, I’ve seen the positive impact technology in the classroom can have on both engagement and attainment.
It’s also very important to draw the distinction between playing video games and creating video games. The latter is a structured learning process which requires a multitude of skills and a lot of attention!
It’s easy to forget this one, but it’s arguably the most important! Sure, the above points are what us teachers, parents and future employers are interested in. However, from a child’s point of view, the best kind of learning is fun learning. From our experience at Codepod, kids love coding, especially when they realise that they have full control over everything that happens in their game! Children leave the course with a wealth of new coding knowledge while feeling like they have been playing and having fun for the whole week.