Coding inspires Innovation
Learning to code is a valuable skill for youth to develop. From self-driving cars by Google, home automation and smart appliances in our homes, to reusable space rockets by SpaceX, it is clear that coding has a huge impact on our lives. Coding is a fundamental skill that all youth can leverage to improve their lives and help lead the technological movement. I have been fortunate to witness this innovation first hand in our Young Innovator Programs at the Okanagan Innovation Institute. By applying a project-based curriculum and attending to student learning styles, I have learned to give youth enough runway to get their projects off the ground and to resist the temptation to put my adult thoughts/procedures/ideas in their mind's eye.
"Good habits formed at youth make all the difference."
Coding builds Confidence
I spent my summer teaching youth to code. I provided the framework of knowledge and they built some fantastic projects. Their attention captivated by the projects they were creating, I witnessed pride flourish and self-confidence grow. Youth are aware that their future will be greatly influence by technology; it surrounds their everyday life. This awareness implies the need to develop the tools to navigate the journey. And youth really do possess an innate desire to not just use the technology but to also understand it, to master it, and to use it in ways limited only by their imagination. By giving our youth the opportunity to learn coding at such an early age, we are providing them with the gift of not only growing intellectually, but also growing in self-confidence.
"One important key to success is self-confidence. An important key to self-confidence is preparation"
- Arthur Ashe
Learning to code is very much like learning a new language. Research shows that children's brains are developmentally primed to learn to learn new languages. And language learning increases problem-solving abilities, critical thinking skills, flexibility in thinking, and - you got it: improved creativity. Learning to code is so much more than a technology: it gives us a chance to create. I believe youth need to know how to create, rather than simply consuming.
After teaching a computer language, I always ask the students in my class how many languages they know. It is truly amazing to watch as they realize they really are learning a new language!
"I believe that learning how to code - learning how to program a computer - essentially how to create, should be for all kids and not just for some kids"
- Karen Brennan
Coding paves the way for Success in other areas in Children's Development
Learning how to code does not mean youth will grow up to be computer programmers. Learning to code supports learning in other academic areas, such as math, reading, and sciences. What a fun vehicle coding is to foster and support critical thinking and logical problem-solving in youth.