Thirty years ago, during the childhood of my generation, the first PC that entered a lucky child’s home was one of the models that came with QBASIC, an integrated keyboard, and a cassette fort for gaming. These computers would mostly be used for playing games or writing very simple programs.
Today’s children are luckier though. Now they don’t just “race cars” on computers. They spend more quality time in front of computers thanks to the applications made in the fields of mathematics, English, life sciences and many more.
Speaking the Same Language with a Computer.
Nowadays, computers are no longer just PCs or tablets that accept and process data only by “clicking” or “keyboards”. They now have different abilities including recognizing and processing complex data as input and transferring processed data to a desired data centre thanks to chips/receivers which express temperatures, sounds and images in numbers.
With each passing day, manual work with the help of a mechanical device under the control of a person is now being done by computers. There is no turning back from this trend. And you don’t have to be a tech guru to tell this.
Given this reality, we need to train new generations in a manner they will become prone to speaking the language computers understand in an attempt to better prepare them for the future. We need to introduce our children to “coding” to ensure that they are not just consumers but also users of these new technologies.
There are very nice applications and websites out there which make it easier and enjoyable to understand how a computer works, enable selecting commands on the screen using figures, and boast interfaces to make it easier to understand the basic principles of coding such as variables, cycles, step-by-step processes (links to be added). Behind most of these initiatives are non-profit educational establishments and communities.
In addition, there are now pre-school education institutions which provide fun paper-and-pencil activities/contents designed in line with the basic principles of algorithm and coding. In fact now there are even educational establishments which only follow such a plan.
Bottom Line: Coding the Life
Children and youngsters who grasp the opportunity of becoming familiar with these kind of studies through their school or family, get the chance to create their own games, interactive stories, and animations using their imaginations via these modern apps. This, in turn, helps the development of some skills including creative thinking and understanding cause and effect relationships.
What’s more important is that while developing such projects they learn certain principles of design without even noticing. The process, which starts with an idea, results in a working project while experiencing the processes such as breaking down the complex problems into simple parts, testing them and continuing with the successful ones, searching for the errors in a part that is not working.
If you pay attention, such experiences are not only true for someone who will later earn their living by “coding”. Later on, your child does not have to become a computer engineer and start writing real software. The skills they will develop in the areas of analytical thinking, problem solving, as well as the experiences they will gain in activities where an opinion turns into a product will benefit them at every stage of their life.
Where Can We Start From?
It would be good to start with one of the following applications or websites.