Learning to code without a computer may seem a bit unrealistic, but we can break the learning process down into simpler activities. For example, hands-on offline activities can make the subject of coding less intimidating and more interactive. Coding teaches problem-solving, critical thinking, and discipline. These are valuable skills even if you are not seeking a career in the field of programming.
Approximately 90% of parents in the U.S. want their children to learn computer science, but only 40% of schools teach programming. This discrepancy highlights the demand for programmers that will only continue to grow in the near future. The STEM initiative is clearly not enough; reports state that 70% of STEM jobs are in computing, but only 7% of STEM graduates have a focus in computer science. Academic focus must be redirected to programming education.
There are plenty of activities that can facilitate a coding education using offline tools. For example, making a sandwich may seem easy, but imagine having to write out the entire process step by step for someone else to follow. Creating code for a computer to process is similar. Both efforts require a person (the coder) to create a sequence that, if followed, will always produce the same product. Furniture, technological gadgets, or anything else that comes with instructions that details a sequence of steps to achieve a desired outcome is real life practice for programming. When you actually do write code, you must input specific instructions in a particular order to influence the end result.
Getting kids interested in how computers work may seem difficult, but there are many activities that break down the process into fun and easy games. Anyone can use ASCII code to write their name in binary. You can write your name using the numbers themselves, or you could create a cool keychain, bracelet, or necklace with a hidden code. Playing with ASCII, binary, or hexadecimal numbers to write messages will get you going and help you become familiar with these encoding types.
Eventually, you can introduce the reasons each one is used and where.You can encode zeros and ones in two separate beads colors and make a game of making jewelry that hold a message written in binary. This simple activity will help kids work their minds as they convert from binary to decimal or hexadecimal back and forth. This skill is helpful when it comes to analysis and visualization of computer languages, variables, and memory. It’s also a great opportunity to learn about how computers process numbers and symbols. What may seem like an ordinary bracelet is really a sequence that spells out a complete thought!
The parents of every student in every school at every level should demand that all students be taught how to code. Kids need to develop this skill, which will impact every career in the 21st-century world. Any country that recognizes the long-term benefits of teaching all children to code will prosper in the long term. Get a head start in teaching your child to code and try RoboGarden now. Register for free.
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