3 Reasons Why Schools Are Teaching Your Kids to Code

On Dec 8–14, millions of students will be learning the basics of coding in school during the Hour of Code. The author is an Hour of Code tutorial partner.

When I was 12, I was following my interest in art and taking an animation class outside of school. One day, my instructor showed me that I could add a line of code to a button so that viewers could replay my animation. After tweaking the same line of code, I could have viewers use the arrow keys instead. Toying and refining the code some more, I became the proud owner of an avoid-the-falling-objects game. ‘Wow’, I thought, ‘now that’s cool!’

This was an eye-opener for me, and it’s the exact kind of experience that the Hour of Code is trying to instill in youth.

It‘s an experience that shows kids that they can make a computer do a countless number of things, limited only by their imagination.

1. Coding fosters transferable skills

By definition, programming, or coding, is simply the way people tell a computer what to do using instructions that the computer understands.

Anna and Elsa Tutorial at code.org

Whether the language you learn is an industry standard like Javascript or C++, or a visual programming language like the one used in Code.org’s Anna and Elsa tutorial, using that language to tell the computer do what you want, is coding.

And writing code requires all of the following:

  1. Comprehension: understanding what the commands in a language mean
  2. Planning: deciding how to approach a problem
  3. Creativity: testing ideas, writing programs, and executing those programs to see results
  4. Problem Solving: debugging and reasoning to get to a correct solution
  5. Teamwork: working in teams to arrive at more efficient solutions

All these skills are easily applicable to any other subject area, and are only a subset of the skills that are nurtured while kids learn to code.

2. Coding acts as a great motivator to learn new things

3. Computers are everywhere

The Hour of Code

Danny Yaroslavski has been coding for over 10 years, holds a Bachelors of Computer Science from the University of Waterloo, and has worked at reputable games companies including EA and ArmorGames.

He is the creator of Lightbot, a puzzle game that teaches kids the basics of coding, including sequencing, procedures, loops and conditionals. Lightbot is a tutorial partner for the ‘Hour of Code’ 2014.

Lightbot Puzzle Game

The ‘Hour of Code’ is nationwide initiative by Computer Science Education Week [csedweek.org] and Code.org [code.org] to introduce millions of students to one hour of computer science and computer programming.

This piece was edited with the help of Dalya Gershtein.

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