Information technology is blooming. It is perhaps the only industry that is evolving and expanding to the extent of affecting every other industry thus directly affecting our lives. Just consider how the internet turned the world upside down by bringing this brand new concept of communication and information sharing, opening endless opportunities for education and work. Due to the increased demand of software development, employment in the industry is set to grow in the following decade, which makes the perfect opportunity to teach young generations how to code.
However, presenting the concept of programming to children and getting them to become passionate about coding can be a challenging task.
Start with the basics – what is coding?
When explaining coding concepts to young learners, you need to make it relatable to their way of life. Compare it to something they are familiar with and provide as many examples as possible. Define programming and make it clear how it can be used and what it can be used for.
You can also present a simple coded game as an example and explain the coding logic behind. This is a fun way to actually grab the students’ attention and make them realize coding is not some abstract concept, but something interesting and applicable.
Introduce programming languages
Once the students understand that coding is just a set of instructions sent to a computer to explain to it what to do, you can talk about different languages used to write these instructions. Programming principles are basically the same for many languages. Mention a few mostly used programming languages and compare them with the world languages. Just like English, computer languages also consist of a set of rules and vocabulary that need to be used and applied correctly in order to get your message understood. And if someone doesn’t speak English, they will use a different language to communicate their message.
Getting students interested in coding
Briefly introduce the basic terminology of a language and try to have the students participate every step of the way. Prepare as many exercises as you can and have them actually do something with what has been taught.
Once a few smaller tasks have been completed, have them do an assignment a bit bigger. Step by step, like a puzzle until all the pieces fall together.
Coding cannot be learned without continuous practice. You should always give homework. Try to avoid making them read theory. An interesting idea would be to have them watch short video lectures or tutorials with practical examples to make them visualize how everything works.
Make it fun
Young learners need to be inspired to unlock their potential and become enthusiastic about any activity. Pay attention to the students’ interests to decide on the appropriate activities that will get them really involved.
Coding games should become part of every lesson. There are various illustrated educational books on programming that come with an app as well. Coding toys are a perfect way to introduce children to the world of programming. You may also suggest some of the platforms designed for kids they can use to practice at home.