The trend to introduce schoolkids to coding at an early age is exploding. More than ever, teachers and parents are talking about coding for kids both at school and at home. A Gallup poll indicates that 90% of parents would like computer programming to be taught during the school day.
However, since most parents are also new to computer programming, it could spell trouble for them to introduce coding to their children, let alone try to help them learn it better. For parents with younger kids, the situation might be even harder, as there are only a few elementary schools in the U.S. offering coding-related classes. The available and appropriate educational resources for them are more limited.
Why Not Learn Together?
Having realized that parents, too, lacked knowledge of coding, researchers and educators came up with many practical and parent-friendly solutions, so parents can teach their kids and learn coding robot themselves at the same time.
Some of the most popular and effective tools in coding education are the new coding robots, along with their associated online resources. And, yes, coding robots are not just for kids anymore.
Coding robots teach kids of any age to code while they play with their interactive robotic toys. For very young children, it’s critical to make learning fun and interactive and keep them from getting bored. A coding robot helps kids stay engaged with the learning process and digest more information, without even realizing they’re getting educated.
The same rule applies to most parents, too. Even with more patience, experience, and a longer attention span, parents are still likely to face frustrations learning to code. Let’s be honest, coding can be complex and this skill just takes time to master. Coding robots, however, can even be used by beginner parents to teach themselves computer programming. In fact, it would be even more fun to figure out how to code a robot alongside your kids and learn together, rather than just watching them play. Plus, that’s real quality time with your children!
Among the many coding robots on the market, Codey Rocky is definitely one of the most popular options for parents and kids. Codey Rocky is compatible with mBlock, a software program that supports both block-based and Python programming. It makes programming as simple as assembling building blocks – so that anyone who reads can learn to program. Codey Rocky makes a great game of the learning process. The creators at MakeBlock structured the learning process as a series of games at different levels. Children and beginner parents can work their way together through these games.
Also, Codey Robot combines software learning with hardware creation. Every line of code parents or kids write can be applied to the robot. Every move made by the robot is designed by the user, and they get real-time feedback. For beginners, this helps them understand each command intuitively and ensures a rewarding experience that motivates them to keep moving forward.
In addition to coding robots, lots of educators and parents recommend using animation apps, such as the Neuron App, as a teaching tool. The Neuron App is incredibly parent-friendly and designed to help users of all ages understand flow-based programming from the point of view of a child. By linking the e-blocks and joining the Neuron nodes in an intuitive interface, both children and parents can experience in real time the results produced by the app in Neuron, helping them understand programming logic and fine-tuning the way they think.
When working with Neuron blocks, users can transform ideas into tangible, fun-packed objects, like a laser sword, a ukulele or a tail-wagging kitten, depending on the Neuron kit you choose. For parents and kids who don’t have much experience using animation apps to learn to code, the Neuron App is equipped with node description cards, which explain in detail the use and working principles of each node. Coupled with corresponding examples and illustrations, the cards help users get started with flow-based programming and master programming logic and knowledge quickly.
Visual Block Platforms vs. Text-based Coding Platforms
There are a lot of coding platforms where kids can learn to code. To help save you time searching for the right platform, here is the major difference between a visual block platform and a text-based coding platform.
Visual Block Platforms
The concept of a block-based coding platform was first introduced by The MIT Media Lab. Researchers and creators at the Lab wanted to develop an interface that made it possible for computer programs to be built with building blocks. It’s much easier to understand simply dragging and dropping blocks, which are the complex programming constructs and commands. Using this concept, the Lab created Scratch, one of the most well-known and popular block-based coding platforms.
Because of its beginner-friendly and gamified nature, block-based platforms are recommended by a lot of educators and teachers for younger kids and learners who have zero starting knowledge.
Text-based Coding Platforms
Before block-based coding platforms were invented, coding had always been, and still remains, text-based, which requires coders to obey and conform to formal syntax. In spite of the process of typing letters, numbers and symbols, it is still the most widely-used coding method and continues to be learned and used by people all over the world.
Unlike block-based coding, text-based coding is a lot less visual and has higher standards for users’ knowledge of computer programming. The advantage of this approach is that students get to learn to create real software programs.
Having learned the difference between these two approaches, you can choose the one that best caters to your needs.
Nowadays, coding is not something you have to study at college. More often than ever, online educational resources provide everything you need to learn computer programming. The following resources are at your disposal.
Made with Code was created by Google with the intention of encouraging girls to learn to code. There are many separate projects that users can work on to get to understand the basic logic of programming and prepare for more advanced coding learning programs.
Khan Academy’s self-paced courses introduce a wide range of fascinating coding concepts to kids. These courses are designed to meet the needs of learners at different levels, from those needing the basics of computer programming and animation to more complex computer science subjects.
Makeblock, a leading STEAM education solution provider in the industry, offers a great number of free resources, from step-by-step projects and video tutorials to lessons that teach and encourage kids and parents to create with computer programming.
Coding is for everyone. In the world of programming, there are no kids or parents, only learners with passion and curiosity. So, understand where you are in the learning process, choose the right tools and resources, and start your coding journey with your kids today.