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Coding will be a game-changer in 2021

By Charu Noheria, Co-Founder and COO, Practically

July 19, 2021    7 min read

We revel in the benefits brought about by the advancement of technology, more so during the last year when it was helped us remain in prolonged periods of lockdown. Whether ordering groceries online or adding the latest tech gadgets to our homes, we are making the best of technology’s conveniences our previous generations never had. From consuming our morning news on a screen to sanitized dishes out of a dishwasher, everything in our life has turned smart.

But we are quick to condemn technology the moment our children are exposed to it. We restrict them from over using the same technology we enjoy. While anything in excess is not good, we are inflicting more harm than good by not providing an outlet for children’s natural curiosity. As adults, we should foster children’s interests and productively manage their time spent with gadgets. No matter how cautious we are as parents and teachers, we have to accept the fact that technology is all-pervasive. Technology is the future for the younger generation and their career.

A useful way in which this can be achieved is by encouraging the need to learn to code which allows them to explore and enhance their mental capabilities and make sense of the world. Coding is the language used by most daily use machines. In simple terms, learning to code is no different from learning new languages.

Coding as a subject

Children must be taught how to think and not what to think. Learning how to code is a great initiator in how to do so. Coding is essentially a set of rules written in a particular sequence to make computers understand our commands. It teaches children to apply logical reasoning and analysis to get the desired outcome. Children understand how errors in their sequence break the logical chain and lead an error message or an incorrect output. It establishes a trial-and-error approach to problem solving and inculcates virtues like resilience and perseverance. When kids use a devices, they don’t understand how it works or what makes it work. Introducing coding at a young age helps them make sense of the ultra-tech world we live in. Hence the introduction of coding for CBSE students of class 6-8 in line with NEP 2020 is a welcome move.

What is the right age to learn coding?

As per studies, it is recommended that kids be exposed to different languages at an early age. In that sense, coding too can be introduced at an early age. Learning coding would introduce children to the necessary skill sets required for a connected world and enable them to see the world from a tech perspective from a young age. This will also make them ready for the jobs of the future preparing them from their foundational years.

Coding is the language of Math

Coding at a young age helps develop children’s math skills due to the problem-solving approach and critical reasoning involved in learning to code. Once a child has mastered the basic level of coding, one will be curious to explore more complex coding projects. As coding involves calculations + collecting, analyzing, and organizing data, the child automatically finds interest in practising and improving math skills. It is a great way to make math interesting for children which is a vital life skill.

Myths around coding

  • Coding is complex and stressful: Coding is fun, engaging and interactive. Children don’t even realize that they are learning a new language when learning how to code without the biases of a more mature learner.
  • Learning to code is hard: This is a prevalent myth. Coding is just like any other language and is taught step by step. For anyone with the aptitude to learn, it is as easy as any new activity they enjoy.
  • It is boring: If children have an interest in learning something new, then coding can be fun and productive at the same time. It flexes one’s creative muscles as problem-solving needs a certain level of creativity.
  • It is a technical skill: Coding is a life skill; one can solve complicated algebraic equations using the power of code. One can even venture deep by applying coding basics towards STEM concepts, evaluating data patterns, and creating intelligent innovations. Its applications are varied.

Learning to code brings a fundamental shift in attitude and mindset. It gives young adults a sense of achievement and confidence, which in this day and age is essential for success. Children acquire a holistic perspective of how the world functions around them. They are more likely to be independent and secure in their academic and personal journeys. Today, coding has many areas of applications and opportunities for children to develop their interests and find their niche. From gaming, animation, artificical intelligence, web development; to industries like retail, finance, and cybersecurity, the world of technology is wide open for those who know how to code.

This article first appeared in The Education Times (The Times of India) on 12 July 2021

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