Learning Thursday: Why Kids Should Learn to Code

Happy #LearningThursday, We Can Zone! This week we're switching it up a little bit with a post specifically for all you grown-ups out there. 

If you’re a parent or teacher, you’ve probably heard a lot about the importance of education technology, e-learning and digital literacy. Everyday it seems like there is a new trend in ed. tech, a new computer program for kids, and a new way for schools to incorporate technology into their classrooms. This information can be overwhelming, especially if you don’t understand the “why” behind it. I mean, if a pen and paper were good enough for our parents, and our parents’ parents, then why aren’t they good enough for younger generations?!

We feel your pain We Can Zoners, but we’re here to tell you that digital literacy is more than just a buzzword and teaching kids to code is actually, really and truly important.

Here’s why:

  1. Coding helps students understand the world they live in. Kids are spending more and more time online. From smartphones (and smart homes!) to social media to tablets and e-readers, there is almost no way to escape technology. In some cases, babies learn to unlock an iPhone before they learn to say their first word. Instead of encouraging kids to take technology for granted, teaching them to code helps them understand how technology works, why it works and, most importantly, how it can be improved. By learning to code, kids are transformed from passive recipients of technology into digital explorers!

  2. Coding improves critical thinking and problem solving skills. Instead of asking students to solve complicated math problems that have no relation to the world they live in, ask them to create a video game or solve a problem using code. Students will have to understand the problem and think strategically about solutions. Students will also learn to persevere and use trial and error to get their desired results.

  3. Coding improves literacy skills. Coding isn’t just a useful tool to teach math or computer skills, it’s also a great way to teach students how to tell stories in linear and logical ways. By using code, students can create alternate worlds and realities. In doing so, they’re encouraged to think about plot, setting and character. Coding can help students transform their creative ideas into coherent stories.

  4. Coding is fun. Coding doesn’t have to feel daunting! When you start teaching kids how to code at a young age, it can be exciting and satisfying! By starting kids young, they’ll be able to build upon their knowledge slowly but surely.

Coding will open the doors of opportunity. As the world becomes even more technologically oriented, the demand for programmers will only increase. In addition, coding skills are being incorporated into more and more jobs, even those that are not directly related to technology. Being comfortable using technology and having basic coding skills will give kids a serious advantage, regardless of the field that they choose to pursue.

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