Technology has brought about significant changes in the field of education. The widespread use of digital devices and online resources has transformed how students learn and make information more accessible. However, while students may be proficient in using technology, they often need a deeper understanding of how it works. This knowledge gap has become increasingly evident to educators, who recognize that teaching students how to code can help fill this void and ensure they are better prepared for the future of work.
As parents, we all know how much technology impacts the world for everyone – including our children. It’s increasingly important for children not just to learn how to use technology but also to understand how it works – and this will be more critical as children start thinking about career opportunities. It may not be obvious, but by introducing kids to learning to code at a young age, we can help them develop essential life skills that will serve them well.
While it was once considered intimidating to all but a few, computer science has moved into the mainstream to become one of the most in-demand skills worldwide, with surging career growth.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that “job openings for software developers are slated to grow 21 percent between 2018 and 2028 — more than four times the average rate for all careers.”
However, learning to code early is more than preparing kids with tech skills for the job market. Kids who begin learning to code early on see numerous advantages in school.
Coding education introduces kids to critical concepts that are applicable in everyday life. Sequencing is an essential concept in coding, which involves arranging steps correctly to achieve a desired outcome. This concept is equally valuable for everyday life, whether following a recipe, assembling furniture, or following directions on a map. Teaching kids sequencing through coding can help them develop skills to approach tasks logically and systematically.
Conditional logic is another crucial concept in coding that can help kids develop problem-solving skills. Conditional logic involves creating statements that produce different outcomes based on specific conditions. This concept can be applied in everyday life when solving problems that affect various conditions, such as deciding what clothes to wear based on the weather or choosing what route to take based on traffic conditions.
Composition is another important concept in coding that involves breaking down complex tasks into smaller, more manageable parts. This can be applied in everyday life when tackling complex projects, such as writing a research paper or planning an event. By breaking down a project into smaller, more manageable parts, kids can approach it more organized and methodically.
Pattern recognition is another crucial concept that can be taught through coding. Pattern recognition involves recognizing patterns in data, essential in fields like mathematics, science, and engineering. It’s also helpful in everyday life, such as recognizing patterns in traffic to find the most efficient route or recognizing patterns in speech to improve language skills.
Finally, computational thinking is a critical concept underlying all these skills. Computational thinking involves breaking down complex problems into smaller, more manageable parts and then using logical and analytical thinking to solve them. This approach can be applied in everyday life when solving problems, whether fixing a leaky faucet or planning a vacation.
By developing and applying these critical concepts in practical everyday life situations, kids who learn to code early can improve their executive function. Executive function refers to mental processes allowing individuals to plan, organize, and execute tasks. This can help children to focus and sustain attention, improve working memory, control impulses, and regulate their behavior.
Coding education requires children to engage in various activities that develop executive function. For example, coding involves breaking down complex problems into smaller, more manageable parts, which requires planning and organization. It also requires children to pay attention to detail and to use logical thinking to solve problems, which are critical components of executive function.
Furthermore, coding education can improve children’s ability to focus and sustain attention. When coding, children must stay focused on the task and avoid distractions, enhancing their ability to concentrate and remain focused in other areas of life.
In addition to improving attention and planning skills, coding education can also develop children’s working memory. Working memory is the ability to quickly hold and manipulate information in your mind, a critical component of executive function. When coding, children must remember and manipulate information, such as code syntax, in their minds as they work on a project.
Coding education can also help children develop self-control and regulate their behavior. When coding, children may encounter obstacles or bugs in their code that they need to solve. This requires them to exercise patience and persist in the face of frustration, which can help them develop perseverance and self-control.
Overall, the growing emphasis on teaching children how to code represents a new revolution in education. By teaching kids to code at a young age, they can develop and apply critical concepts in practical everyday life situations while improving their executive function. With the increasing demand for digital skills, coding education can prepare kids for various career opportunities.
Whether it’s creating their apps or developing software, kids who learn to code have the potential to be active contributors to the technological advancements that are shaping our world. By providing students with the skills they need to thrive in the digital age, educators are helping to ensure that the next generation of learners is prepared for the challenges and opportunities of the future.
Also published on HACKERNOON