In this post, Teachers on Call shares 5 reasons to encourage your child to learn coding.
You may have already noticed that coding has been added to the Ontario curriculum, but you might not be sure as to what that means or why it’s important. At its heart, coding is defined as learning how to give commands to a computer to make it do tasks that you want it to. Every child could benefit to experience and gain some proficiency with coding.
It’s foundational to all kinds of programming.
The most obvious benefit, of course, is a fluency in understanding programming, giving children opportunities to pursue a wide variety of careers in fields like entertainment, game development, app and software programming of all kinds, and IT. Employment in computer programming and by relation interactive media developers is expected to grow at a rate higher than the national average, due both to increased demand in the field and a retiring workforce.
It teaches computational thinking.
Computers can do many tasks for us, but they have a failing: they are not good at solving complex problems without our help. Therefore, it’s an important skill to be able to take complex problems and be able to systematically break them down in ways that they can be more easily processed. This is called computational thinking. The great thing about computational thinking is it’s not only helpful for working with computers – it’s also an excellent way to present complex problems to people (for example, in project management, management, and delegation).
It can help with other subjects, especially math.
In a paper written by George Gadanidis and others, it was believed that coding could help elementary children with mathematical concepts in three important ways, particularly in Abstraction Made Tangible, Automation and Dynamic Modelling, and in providing a low-floor high-ceiling environment that gives students more agency.
In essence, it provides a virtual playground where students can turn concepts that are highly abstract into a visual medium, risk-free.
It’s also great practice in logical thinking.
One of the earliest lessons learned in coding is the value of ‘If-Then’ statements. If the character I’m writing a program sequence for encounters a wall, then it can move no further in that direction. If I put in this specific command, then it will perform this action.
Where computational thinking helps you break down a complex task into components, logical thinking is about being able to analyze and draw conclusions based on input. It’s not only the backbone of a great deal of computer programming, it’s also an essential life skill, as this is reasoning. Coding is a great way to introduce your child to simple, tangible examples of logical thinking that later they will be able to apply in formal and informal logic in language context, too!
There are great resources all over the web and many apps designed to teach children of all ages and experience levels. For true beginners, we recommend looking at a coding language called Scratch from MIT, which starts kids with a visual block-based system. Check out OntarioMath.Support for support by grade level.
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