Thursday, January 22, 2015

What is Computer Coding and Why Kids Should Learn to Code

Coding is the language of speaking to a computer. It allows the programmer to tell the computer what it wants it to do and when. It is critical that our children are learning skills that prepare them for career and college readiness. Coding is one such skill. Currently, the state of Illinois has 27,041 jobs open in the field of computing. To fill those jobs there are only 3,119 students graduating in that field! Women make up less than ten percent of those in current positions and companies like Google are currently trying to recruit more.

While many students may not be interested in following this as a career in becoming a computer scientist or software engineer, having a basic understanding of digital literacy will be greatly beneficial in our world where technology is deeply embedded on a daily basis. To that end, our fourth through sixth grade students are spending the month of January learning about visual coding in the library through the creation of games. We are following a set of puzzles on to create Angry Birds and Flappy Birds. 

Visual coding is the process of using pre-written code to manipulate characters and actions. While this is coding at its most basic form it does require that students use critical thinking and active problem solving skills. These skills push students to become more creative in their thought process as they make a bird fly through the air or another bird chase and catch the pig. These and other free online programs can be used at home to expand their skills. Ask your student to tell you what they have been learning or better yet, let them show you how to do it! You will be impressed with what they are able to do!

Use the link below to find some of the lessons on how to code. Coding Practice

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