Jun

29

2020

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Demystifying 4 Myths About Coding

Over the past decade, interest for children learning to code has more than doubled.

As a result, numerous online and school-based programs/curriculums have been developed to prepare the next generation of software developers and engineers. However, not all parents are convinced that their children should learn how to code. Why? Because they believe children should be learning creative and social skills, which will indeed be in high demand in future roles given the progress of automation.

However, this small minority of people fail to realise the creative and problem-solving skills gained by children while learning to code! In this article, we will be exposing 4 notorious myths about kids coding.

1. Kids Are Too Young to Begin Coding

Are kids too young to learn a second language? It’s a well-known fact that the sooner children are exposed to foreign languages, the more easily they can pick them up. Learning to code is much the same. Children interested in digital technologies – games, robots, websites – can start learning the foundations of programming such as sequencing and loops, from as young as age five. Often, this is done through interactive visual block coding games like CodeMonkey.

Block-coding is designed specifically to engage students in the process, but that does not mean it’s inherently basic. In fact, studies have confirmed that teaching kids to code can boost cognitive development. What we’ve found from teaching 30,000 children how to code, is that kids often progress quickly through to text-based coding. They learn languages like JavaScript, Python, and more – the very same that some of the world’s best engineers use at companies like Amazon.

2. Coding Isn’t For Everyone

With the media always talking about the latest deep technologies – such as AI, quantum computing and blockchain, it’s easy to think that programming is a skill reserved only for the extraordinarily gifted. But just like learning any other skill, we reach the advanced topics by first mastering the basics. In fact, anyone can learn to code these days with user-friendly coding languages like flutter, python and JavaScript. Plus, there’s numerous different courses and programs for any age. From programs for kids like Junior Engineers, all the way up to adult programs, learning to code is now both easy and fun.

Of course, and again like any other skill, those who show an early aptitude and/or strong interest in learning to code, tend to make the fastest progress. That makes it especially important to find a learning style that keeps kids stimulated and engaged as they work through progressively more difficult challenges.

3. Coding Lessons Are Boring

Learning to code can be boring and expensive, but it doesn’t have to be. The ‘boring’ lessons tend to be the ones with a heavy focus on traditional rote learning, such as reading and revising technical documentation. But without an ongoing feedback loop, it’s difficult to retain this information, and thereby difficult to improve. Often, interactive or active learning programs involve repetition of key concepts in ways that are not easily obvious, which helps to improve engagement and retention.

In Junior Engineers’ Virtual Coding Program, for example, kids need to use creativity and imagination to solve computational problems and complete the online, game-based coding platform. The interactive program repeats key concepts to help kids develop mastery, while progressively adding difficulty, and they soon understand the ins and outs of “If-Then” statements, Booleans, Sequencing and Loops – all without spending hours reading.

4. Coding Lessons Are Expensive

The irony about this myth is that the advent of computer programming and the internet has vastly reduced the cost of learning. Not just for programming, but for anything. There are numerous free or wallet-friendly resources available in any field you can think of. In coding, programs like Khan Academy, Code.org, various YouTube channels are widely popular. What can be difficult is wading through the vast amounts of information to find the one that’s best for your child and making sure that the content is appropriate for your child’s developmental needs.

At Junior Engineers, we offer award-winning coding workshops. Feel free to get in touch with one of our friendly team if you’re interested in learning more.

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