Why Is Coding Important For Kids To Learn?
We hear about coding all the time. With the technology built by computer programmers constantly surrounding us – our phones, smartwatches, and even our thermostats – it feels like everyone wants to learn a little bit about this world. Still, your children have a vast array of activities to choose from to enrich their education, so why should learning to code be a priority for your children?
Promoting Logical Thinking
There are a number of reasons why it’s important for kids to learn to code. First, programming concepts teach kids logical thinking. Our students learn how to approach problems systematically, and to implement and test their code one step at a time.
To understand how coding teaches logical thinking, let’s consider programming the game of Hangman (which is actually part of our curriculum!). First, we have to think through what data we need to keep track of and how we will store it in the computer’s memory. We must keep track of which letters have been guessed, what the correct word is, and how many guesses have been made. We need to use our knowledge of variables and data structures to decide how to represent each of these things.
Then, we need to consider the logical ordering of our code. We need to continuously ask the user to make a guess, to check whether that letter part of the word, and to respond to the user about their guess! All of these things allow us to practice fundamental concepts in programming, like loops and conditional statements.
In thinking through how to program each feature of the game, the student learns how to break problems down into smaller parts and work through each one sequentially. This problem-solving skill applies far beyond computer programming; nearly all problems need to be deconstructed in order to be solved. Let’s say your child is trying to figure out how to study for a physics exam. They need to break down the material into manageable chunks, understand how they relate to each other and what sequence they follow, and plan a study schedule to cover all of the topics. The same skills that enable them to build a game of Hangman are applicable to any type of real-world situation.
Coding also fosters creativity in students. There is a common erroneous stereotype that STEM fields are strictly “technical” while fields like English and art are strictly “creative.” This is a false dichotomy – creativity is critical to coming up with technical solutions. Similarly, artistic fields also require a knowledge of technical details to make progress. Coding teaches kids to think creatively about original solutions for problems, and this type of creativity is broadly applicable.
Should Every Child Learn to Code?
Kids have a wide range of interests and talents, and not every child wants to become a software engineer. Still, we believe it’s beneficial for all kids to have basic coding knowledge. Much like reading, coding is literacy for the 21st century. Understanding how we program computers will allow your kids to better understand technology and understand the impact of technological advances on our economy and world.
Coding is a part of so many careers; in fact, over half of all coding jobs are outside the tech field. Having basic coding skills will prepare your child for any number of careers even outside of STEM, including healthcare, art, manufacturing, and law.
This article originally appeared on junilearning.com.