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Coding for children

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“Everyone in this country should learn how to code because it teaches how to think.” Steve Jobs

Among many children’s courses like swimming, dancing, karate, playing the violin, the piano, yoga, etc., there is coding course or computer programming. From a little age, kids can learn to plan, communicate with computers to give you simple tasks and commands.

But what does coding mean? It consists of writing instructions that explain to a computer how to do certain things. These guidelines are codes and numbers, just learn how to put them in the right order, and everything happens like magic: the computer does what you say.

In spite of common belief, coding is not just stuff for computer engineers or industry experts. It is in fact, within reach of everyone, even of the little ones. Children’s coding courses and platforms are designed to get used kids, usually between eight and sixteen (and also programs for the youngest ones), to the computational or algorithmic thinking, that implies the ability to solve problems, and then find a solution to a problem creatively and efficiently.

In this way, children can become the protagonists of technology and can make a video game or an application instead of downloading it.


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Where to learn to code?

There are several platforms, courses, laboratories where you can learn to code. Here are some:

Code.org

It is a platform created by a US-based organization that promotes teaching and learning in the primary programming languages. Its motto is: “Everyone has the right to learn.” Here, through games and videos, it is possible to learn to face different challenges. The site has into two macro-sections: one for teachers and one for students. An exciting way is the Time of the Code where you can take an hour of computational thinking with different settings such as Star Wars, Minecraft, Moana, Angry Birds.

Coder Dojo

The dojo coders are free clubs which goal is also the teaching of computer programming for the youngest. In Italy, more than 40 dojos from across the country have been active since 2012 and new volunteer groups are approaching the movement every day to open a new venue to host regular meetings for children in their area. Numerous children participated in these meetings, learning to use programming languages like HTML, Javascript, and CSS. The also create small video games with Scratch and program hardware with Arduino.

Codeacademy.com

It is an interactive site that offers JavaScript programming without age limits. Lessons consist of some learning-by-doing exercises: you learn through practice, all within a secure environment where you can make mistakes without jeopardizing work files.

Scratch

It’s a platform that lets you create interactive stories, games, animations, art, music to share with other community members using blocks and without writing any lines of code. Based on the graphical programming, it is inspired by the constructive theory of learning. The idea is to make children or inexperienced people understand the programming languages, learning important concepts of mathematical calculus, think creatively, and also work in a participatory manner.

As you have seen, technology offers many opportunities for growth. Our kids and us, just need to learn how to make the most of its potential.


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Letizia Grasso, Educationalist
“All grown-ups were children, but few of them remember it” This phrase is engraved on my heart. The child who marvels at small things is always with me. I firmly believe that the school should focus on self-construction of knowledge through direct contact with the outside world and, therefore, through the experiences of life. A school open to life and from life itself learns. A school that teaches to observe every little thing, to wonder and to asks questions. A school that forms adults who know how to reflect and put into a relationship the mind and heart.”

Mash&Co