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The Benefits of Teaching Coding to Elementary School Students
The first reason you should consider teaching coding to elementary children is because it gives them a reason to be computer literate.
Too much of modern education is about rote memorization. Kids are being taught how to use spreadsheets, while safe in the knowledge that most will never use it in their careers or real life, and those who do will be using it in ten years when they are in college or have a career.
Teach kids how to code, and it gives them a new way to play with a computer. It gives them a new reason to learn and progress with something that may (or may not) interest them.
Teach Kids the Basics
There are some kids who are not going to get it, and some who will deeply dislike how it works, but that is just how life is. You shouldn’t punish kids for feeling that way. You should do your best to give them a grounding and understanding in what coding and programming is all about, and then let them decide for themselves.
The tragedy is when students are given the opportunity to learn coding, but they are taught incorrectly or in a way that they do not understand. That is like telling a kid you will teach them how to swim and not teaching them how to get into the water, and when they find their own way, they are splashing around and getting water up their nose.
Teach kids the right way. If your current method isn’t working, then use coding classes for kids that you can find online. They often use a gamification model that sometimes appeals to some kids more than others. Give kids a chance to learn how to code and see how they feel about it in the short and long term. Some will grow to love it and may start learning themselves on their own time (either now or in the future).
If you’d like to learn more about when kids should begin learning coding, check our this online safety for kids article.
Teaching a kid something like coding isn’t as important as teaching them about personal hygiene, about stranger danger, about why they shouldn’t pick up the dead animals floor. However, there are re things like swimming and sports that children should be taught. It allows them to share experiences. One of the reasons multiplayer console/PC gaming is so much fun is because even poor quality games are great fun to play when you are playing with your friends.
When kids are coding, especially when they are coding towards similar goals (like coding for Roblox, websites or Minecraft), then it gives them a shared activity that they can bond over. They have yet another avenue for fun and intellectual growth.
Various Career Options
Do not make the mistake of thinking that kids who learn coding will end up in Silicon Valley programming Google’s AI machines. Nor will it help them fight the future robot wars. There is a slight chance that your kid may enjoy coding so much that he or she wants to take it up as a career. Your child may even grow up and build a famous app, game or WordPress plugin and make good money.
However, the benefits of teaching kids coding is a little more subtle than that. They are going to come across things in life where having a bit of coding knowledge comes in unexpectedly useful. From understanding how a company website was suddenly ransomwared, to being able to correctly update an app because it kept trying to install into the wrong file. It will even help your kids in daily life.
Random Examples of Coding Lessons Paying Off
We have no real idea how a few lessons in coding will help your kids in the long run, but there is a good chance that it will.
For example, there is a game called Dungeon Keeper 2, and on map 10 and onward, the new version of the game doesn’t spawn the knight character.
A coder, even a young one, may go through and copy the old maps from the old version of the files to the new game, which oddly enough would solve the problem. This is a completely random problem but imagine if your kid was working as a marketing exec at a website like GOG.com, and that seemingly unknowable fix was suggested. It would make that person the office superstar. It is random, but these things always are.
Even Steve Jobs (of Apple) said he had no idea how he would use his lessons in Calligraphy in his future career, and yet twenty years later he is designing fonts for a leading software/hardware company. Teaching kids coding may help them get a great coding job, but in the grand scheme of their lives, it is probably going to help them out in ways we can’t even imagine yet.
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