“Don’t Just Play on Your Phone, Program It.”
There’s nothing cooler than being a computer nerd. A lot has changed over the last 30 years, and thanks to the rise of global tech companies like Google, Samsung, Android and Apple, more kids are becoming curious about how the world behind the screen works.
Code – like reading, writing and numeracy – underpins much of what we use everyday, from financial touch-points like EFTPOS machines, ATMs and self-serve checkouts; to online mediums like social media platforms, websites and games, or essentials you don’t even consider like electricity, water, your internet connection, traffic lights, hospitals and so much more. We are surrounded by a river of code.
Computers are wonderful, there’s no doubt about it, but who tells the computers what to do? Code acts like a computational nervous system, sending signals between man-made instructions to ensure the end result on your device is precisely what you expected. Have you ever wondered how a backup generator knows to kick-in during a hospital blackout? Anything from your FitBit to complex industrial systems are ruled by lines of code triggering a vast array of pre-written actions!
While this all sounds like grown-up stuff or something to study in the later years of high school, children are better placed to learn coding than most adults. School aged children exhibit a greater receptivity to new ideas and alternative ways of thinking, free from the strictures of long-term socialisation. In short, kids have the potential to learn problem solving, critical thinking, logic and creativity skills coding requires with less barriers – they’re less afraid to ask, test and investigate why or why not!
Literacy, or the ability to read and write without outside assistance, opens countless doors to many people, regardless of socio-economic upbringing or social position. Think about it, you have the power to sit down with a book, blog or news report and form your own opinion, instead of relying on somebody else to guide you through the text, trusting their interpretation would be similar to your own. Literacy is quite literally freedom of thought.
But what does coding have to do with literacy? The ability to decipher their from there and they’re has very little to do with computational syntax, right? Not anymore. Educators, politicians and business owners are beginning to recognise the immediate and future importance of code – the ability to create instead of merely consume technology is fast becoming the modern version of reading and writing, as code-literate people are increasingly in demand. We’ve become reliant on programmers to help us make sense of our lives, similar to a pre-school child looking to their literate parent to find our what happens next in the story.
School curriculums are still playing catch-up, moving to include coding in their computer science courses. Although your kids may be eager to learn, and teachers are excited to teach them (and learn more themselves), educational programs like CodeMonkey fill the gap,delivering an online platforms that challenges the idea that only certain people can jump on the computer science train and succeed. Digitisied learning is arguably the best way to teach kids programming – it’s available anywhere, everywhere and at any time. Transforming consumers into pioneers doesn’t only begin in postcodes populated by tall buildings – it can start in your living room. Their bedroom. Regional schools or a School of the Air.
The reasons why your child should engage with online learning begins and ends with your family circumstances – do you live regionally? Are you busy? Are you already stretched between work, life, weekend sports and after-school extracurriculars? Are you concerned with ongoing costs? Do you want to be part of the journey? Encouraging your little ones (or big little ones) to learn code online could magically make each and every concern highlighted above (plus many more) disappear. CodeMonkey grows with your child, in both age and skill, actively engaging their competitive streak much like any XBox game with the added benefit of learning in a meaningful way. And they don’t have to leave home. You don’t need to pay extra fees per term or find budget for shoes and uniforms as they grow. CodeMonkey is more than a hobby – it’s a potential key to career success!
As parents, teachers and mentors, it’s our responsibility to ensure the next generation are ready to do more than survive in a computer-ruled world – they should be at the heart of it, telling the machines what to do.