What is all this “coding” that people are talking about, and why is it important? There have been several articles recently about coding. It is important. It is accessible. It is empowering. In December, many important role models in the tech industry (Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg, to name a couple) stepped up to promote what they called “The Hour of Code.” The Hour of Code was aimed at encouraging schools to provide computer science classes. The “code” part is more of a general idea that the basics of computer science are relevant to everybody. Still, what makes it important and relevant?
1) Learning about computers and coding teaches great problem-solving skills. The more a student uses his/her brain, the more adept it becomes at solving problems. If your student plays video games, these skills are already developing. By going through mazes, solving in-game puzzles, and cooperating with others, the student is developing important life skills. Increase the student’s future relevance by going “behind the scenes” with coding lessons.
2) Students learn spatial reasoning skills. What is spatial reasoning? In short, it is the ability to visualize images in your mind and manipulate them. It is “thinking in 3-D.” Why is it important? When students improve their spatial reasoning skills, their math and science skills improve. Indeed, the younger that children understand shapes and how they interact, the quicker they will be able to grasp mathematical concepts, which helps the fields of construction, architecture, computer science, chemistry, city planning, graphic design, music… you get my drift. Spatial reasoning also has been shown to lead to more creative problem solvers! Thus, understanding the world three-dimensionally has a huge impact on solving the world. If a student can’t “see” the problem to understand it, the student is less likely to be able to solve it.
3) Technology is the future… er, the present. Technology is here. Today’s generation is dealing with technology before they can talk. A friend’s then-one year old could use the family’s smart tablet to access kids’ videos! Therefore, the students already have a natural understanding of how technology works. Once again, teaching them how to create it is a natural extension of this understanding.
The jobs of this generation’s future will be rooted in understanding how technology works and how to make it. That is the importance of coding. If we teach our students to understand how to code, it will open doors of careers for them. Not everyone will become a computer programmer or write an app, but understanding it will lead to better jobs overall. Better jobs mean better futures for our families! Check out any of the following sites, and let me know what you think.