Teaching coding

Teach your kid coding? Should we?

We all have seen ads where all of a sudden, a kid becomes an app developer, coder, and entrepreneur all at the same time. Investors thronged his gates to invest in his app. Elated Parents drifting in their thoughts of becoming a millionaire anytime soon.

Riding on the same boat, The other day one of my friends asked me this.

How should I introduce coding to my school-going, kid?

Before answering him, I asked him a counter-question.

Why do you want to teach your kid coding?

As expected, Over ambitious, highly expecting parent in him replied, I want him to develop an APP, An android or web which he can deploy in the play store or Internet. The way his face twitched while speaking, clearly indicated that my good friend, who happens to be an engineer can’t do it himself.

I replied, your purpose might be the end goal but should not be the main goal of introducing coding to your kid.

The main purpose should be developing

1>Cognitive skills and Logical Thinking

Coding helps in the development of mental health. Every coding problem gives the child an opportunity to be creative in solving it. While coding kids are working with a problem that may have many solutions. Finding the best solution develop logical thinking and improves concentration.

2>Decision making

When a kid is writing an if-else block of code, they are making a decision. They are creating the condition. They are the ones who are evaluating all possible outcomes based on those conditions. Coding makes them problem solvers. It allows them to express their arithmetic and logic skills.

3>Computer literacy

Learning coding involves creating files, deleting files, creating folders, typing, mouse movement, etc. These are basic computer skills, which when introduced early help kids to become computer literate. This is a huge advantage, who can imagine life without digital literacy in the present world?

4>Confidence building:-

Coding helps in both boosting confidence and handling failure and frustration at an early age. Sometimes writing code for some problems might be tough and confusing. Sometimes you may get frustrated after failing many times, but success, in the end, may contribute to a stronger sense of coping in stressful situations.

World bank has mentioned that Teaching coding to children can result in improvements to cognitive abilities. Abilities like attention and memory, as well as non-cognitive skills like teamwork and collaboration, do develop while coding.

Now which computer language you should start with?

I suggest Python. Start with basics like Variables, Datatype, conditional and iterative statements, etc. Once you are done with the basics pick any one of the below-mentioned python libraries.

1>Turtle:-This is one of the best ways you can start python. It’s kind of a drawing board, which lets us command a turtle to draw different shapes and figures all over it. You can draw houses, clouds, cartoons, flags, etc by writing python commands.

2>Pygame:-You can introduce game development using this library. It has many modules that are used to create video games.

you should think of coding just like you think of other subjects like Math, English, etc. Coding skills build over a period of time and you must provide that time to your kid. As far I think you should start teaching code after class 5 when kids are equipped with basic numeracy and language.

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By ANISH SINGH

IT Analyst at Tata Consultancy Services. Follow @aniluvall

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