Why Your Kids Need to Learn Coding and How to Help Them
Guest: Jordan Chapman
Head of Education | Code Camp
Code Camp is an educational program for kids aged 5 - 13 teaching game design, coding, problem solving, app building, and more! Code Camp was founded in November 2013 due to it's Co-Founders being consistently asked to teach their friends children to code. Noticing a gap in the tech space for teaching kids to code, Code Camp was born and hosted their first camp at Kambala for 8 girls. Fast forward 5 years and the company has grown massively with over 80,000 Australian kids learning to code thanks to Code Camp. We talked to the Head of Educt Code Camp about why learning to code is so important for children today and the best ways to help your kids learn from home.
Why is it important for this generation of kids to learn coding?
The World is changing! Technology is everywhere, it is ingrained in everything we do. From going to the supermarket and using one of those annoying self-service checkouts to robots carrying out life saving surgery. A large chunk of the jobs that are around today will not exist in 20 years.
At Code Camp we strive to challenge children’s current mindset on technology. It is so important for kids to not just become passive users of technology, but to understand how it works and the effects it has on their lives.
But how do parents (who aren't coders) help their kids learn to code at home?
I love this question! We get it all the time from parents, usually containing the words “I’m not very tech savvy’’, well guess what? That’s fine!
We understand that coding has built up a very intimidating reputation (you can blame TV & Movies for that one). At a fundamental level though, you don’t have to be tech savvy to understand the basics of coding, especially the concepts.
We play heaps of offline games with the kids to get them to understand the basics. For example, one of the primary concepts of coding are If Statements. This is basically letting the computer know what to execute if a certain condition is met.
Now hearing a term like ‘’If Statements’ can be quite intimidating, but what if I told you that there is a fun childhood game that I can guarantee you have played before? Simon Says.
Simon Says is a fantastic way to introduce kids to a fundamental coding concept that is easy to understand and simple to play. There are heaps of other online and offline activities.
The beauty about coding or problem solving is that it is everywhere. I call it stealth learning. Everything you interact with can be used as a coding learning experience, you just need to know how to connect the dots.
Let’s use baking a cake as an example. How do you bake a cake (problem)? You follow the recipe (solution). The recipe is effectively the code for baking a cake. It’s a process that breaks down a problem into its key elements, which through logical thinking, ultimately leads to a solution.
I'm worried about my kids becoming screen zombies. How can I help my kids learn coding offline?
Coding is just coming up with logical solutions to problems and there are heaps of benefits for coding offline from a young age.
Our Little Heroes camp is heavily based on offline activities. The main reason we do this is because the younger children benefit greatly from an interactive hands on approach when learning about the fundamentals of coding.
It is very easy to intimidate children when using words such as sequence, branching, algorithms etc. In our camps we use interactive offline activities to lay the foundations of understanding the concepts.
Using the concept of algorithms as an example, we have the children pretend to be little coders and little robots. We pair the children up, with each child taking turns at each role.
The aim of the activity is for the coders to give the robot specific instructions (move forward 10 steps, turn right 90 degrees etc) to reach an object on the other side of the room.
Taking part in this activity, provides the children with a fun, engaging and most importantly a less intimidating introduction to a fundamental coding concept.
MY CREATIVE BOX OFFLINE CODING
Learn to think, problem solve and move like a real computer but offline!
Introducing the Offline Coding Creative Box and Digital Learning Pack! We have jam packed these learning tools full of activities that will teach your child the fundamental skills behind computer coding all completely screen free and offline to ensure they experience the BEST hands-on fun!
Your child will become familiar with coding language such as learning about debugging, decomposing, coding and algorithms while using sequential thinking, reasoning and problem solving skills.
Code Camp would love to run one of their much loved after school coding programs for your child and their friends. Introduce Code Camp to your child's school, and if our conversation is successful, as a thank you, we'll give your child a free term of After School Code Camp! Head to www.codecamp.com.au/refer to refer your child's school.