With technology and the use of computers only getting more prominent, teaching children how to code is at the forefront of some people’s minds. This is especially so with the introduction of ‘Computing programmes of study’ coming into the curriculum from September 2014.
As coding will be entering the classroom in the not so distant future, now maybe the perfect chance to get a head start. Or it may give you the perfect excuse to learn at the same time as the children, so that you’re more prepared come next school year.
As coding is becoming a necessity for all, here are three tips to help you spark and sustain a child’s interest in programming.
Coding may not be for all children, however you can adapt the methods of teaching – twisting it so it relates to something that they do like. There are many apps out there that cater for different abilities from Daisy the Dinosaur, Light-bot and Kids Ruby to Cargo-Bot and Tynker – if you look around there’s sure to be an app to suit all the children in your class.
If it’s not the app or programme itself, hone in to what they like doing. If, for example, they like sport, they could build a website that lets them keep track of the latest results.
Coding is a fantastic method for people to get creative and make things come to life, from drawings to games and applications. Many assume that coding is all about science and maths, which to an extent it is, but they forget it also has a very creative focus to it as well. This needs to be reiterated to children to capture their interest. Remember to keep it fun, not all children will like coding, so the more enjoyable it can be the more engaging it may become.
Encourage the children in your class to experiment and explore with coding. Find age appropriate tools that they can learn and develop from, without needing instructions. They will gradually become familiar with the coding process of that app (for example) and will need to progress onto something more mentally demanding.
Don’t forget not all children will take to coding or even like it for that matter, pushing coding on to them may be more detrimental.
Encourage those who do like coding to be curious and to solve different problems. Those who do enjoy may get into coding somewhere down the line, even though they may not have thought about having a job that involves coding. It will open up a world of possibilities as more and more jobs depend upon coding skills.