Five ways to teach your child coding
A recent article by Mary-Ann Russon at BBC News asked the question, What can we do to get more women into coding?
“We need to teach kids coding with visual, auditory and kinesthetic learning styles,” says Garry Law, founder of Australian coding training firm, Creator Academy, “and we need to adapt this learning method for adults, to attract more people to science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM),”
Playing is a great way to learn for both children and adults, so if you’d like to help your child learn to code or even teach yourself, here are a few tips.
1. Make it more fun
One issue the article raised is how intimidating it can be to learn coding.
It might be hard to ask for help, or even feel like you can take on such a challenge when you look at a code-filled screen! If you own an iPad or Fire tablet, take a look at the Osmo Coding Starter Kit.
Just like the other Osmo games you can use physical objects – in this case, coding blocks – to control the games. So it’s a really tactile way to learn!
2. Get rewarded when you succeed
An exciting reward when you get an answer right or solve a problem can be really motivating for a new learner.
When you’re just coding on a screen, the result can be really small and a little anticlimactic.
Instead, try starting with a coding robot such as the Coding and Robotics kit from Thames & Kosmos.
Programme your robot to move, light up, play sounds, respond to function cards, or pick up objects.
Plus if your robot starts flying off in the wrong direction, it’s much easier to spot where you need to tweak the coding.
3. Learn by creating a problem you need to solve
If like many women you prefer to start from the problem and work backwards, find yourself a problem to solve.
The Botley® 2.0 activity set from Learning Resources is great for this because you start by setting up an obstacle course, then learn to code by programming the robot to navigate the course.
4. Start your learning journey with apps
Some courses and coding toys can be expensive. If you’re thinking about dipping a toe into coding, consider starting with an app.
There are lots of great ones available for just a few quid, or even free.
Codespark Academy is an excellent app for learning basic computer programming skills, and you can try it out for free.
It includes lots of different games with levels that get progressively harder, so you can gradually improve your skills.
5. Progress your skills
Drag-and-drop coding is a great introduction, but at some point, you may want to progress to more complex coding.
Learning to code isn’t just valuable if you want to get into a career in computing.
It also teaches you lots of valuable soft skills such as logical thinking, problem-solving, and creativity that will help you or your child in any job.
Apps and toys are a fun, pressure-free way to practise these valuable skills and it’s something you could even enjoy learning together.