As cool as technology is, its intricacies and inner workings are sometimes intimidating, especially for young people who may be more interested in what technology can do for them rather than what they can do with technology. However, when students hurdle that obstacle and see the value of computer science — specifically coding — they gain a broadened perspective and the potential for a rewarding career in the tech field. The following resources will help you teach your students the basics of coding and will provide tips on how to keep kids interested as you go.
Tools to Use in Class
Can you make coding fun for your students? Absolutely! These resources point you toward games and other interest-arousing activities that take coding from dull to dynamic. Many of these tools are free or low-cost, putting coding within reach of classrooms on any budget.
- Edutopia presents a list of six resources designed to help parents get their kids interested in coding. One of the websites, Made with Code by Google, specifically aims to appeal to girls. Another resource on the list is a thought-provoking discussion that goes into how and why parents should teach kids to code.
- Games are one of the best ways to foster a love for coding in kids, and this list of 12 games that teach kids how to code provides what you need to start the fun. The list includes games that are appropriate for various age groups. Some of the games are suitable for children as young as four years old.
- Kodu. Move the Turtle. Daisy the Dinosaur. Those things sound like a good time, right? This compilation of code-teaching resources from apartmenttherapy.com includes those activities plus 17 more. The article does not describe the resources in much detail, so you’ll have to do your own exploring to discover more about them.
- Code.org is a nonprofit organization that is all about giving more kids access to an education in computer science. The website includes fun games and lessons. Check out the “Made for Teachers” section that can give you ideas for introducing coding to your students.
- Teaching Kids Programming (TKP) provides free open-source software that aims to get children into the world of computer science.
- Dailytekk.com serves up a list of what they deem to be “The 10 best ways to teach kids how to code.” Their top choice is Tynker, a programming course that comes with a $50 price tag. Other items in the list include Hopscotch, an iPad app; Kodable, which can help kids learn the basics of coding before they even learn to read; and Linkitz, a toy aimed at helping girls learn to code.
- Inc. provides a list of nine places where people can learn how to code for free. The resources on the list are not particularly dressed up to be fun or colorful — in fact, adults are their target demographic — so they will work better for middle-school and higher-school students than for younger learners.
- This compilation from Common Sense Media entitled “Cool Tools to Help Kids Learn to Code” is divided into two sections, one for younger kids and one for older kids. Several of the listed tools are games, but there is also Codeacademy, which provides a challenging interactive course that teaches the languages of programming.
The Facts About Coding
Teaching your students to code is important, but teaching them its practical value is also key in helping them derive the most benefit from what they learn. The following news pieces and articles explore how coding is useful and serve up some fun facts about computer programming.
- Dr. Who is funny and brilliant — and he can teach kids how to code. Sort of. This article from Wired.com discusses a Dr. Who-themed game and its role in the code literacy movement. The article points out that “getting children inspired” is vital in helping them to see the value of coding.
- How important is it that children learn to code, really? This piece, entitled “Should I Teach My Kid to Code?” discusses that question. It also talks about Codarica, a Swedish startup that created a game that focuses on teaching young children to code.
- There is no shortage of free software that can teach kids to code, but the human element is also important in learning. If you are not an expert in computer science, you may wonder if you are qualified to introduce coding to your students. This piece highlights a Google-sponsored program that tries to get coding-savvy people to teach in schools — without burdening the schools with an excess expense.
- Back in March 2014, Edudemic highlighted the value of coding in the post “Why (And How) Students Are Learning To Code.” The statistics in the article’s first section highlight that computer science is a practical field to pursue for students who want a stable career.
- The benefits of learning to code go beyond what it can do for job prospects. As this article from codeconquest.com points out, knowing how to code can help people build their own websites and start a business without having to carry the burden of outrageous tech costs.
- NPR.org argues that it’s possible that coding isn’t quite as valuable for career-seekers as the masses proclaim. However, even if coding isn’t a popular career a few decades down the road, it still offers other benefits. Indeed, learning how to code can help students learn valuable thinking skills that will benefit them for a lifetime.
- What does the future of programming hold? Infoworld.com offers 12 predictions that may interest high school students who want to pursue a career in computer science.
- You may be able to light a fire under students who do not like computer science by using some of the facts on this list from kickassfacts.com (despite the name, the site isn’t full of inappropriate language). The fun information highlights the role that computers play in society.
Even for students who do not wish to start a career in the tech field, learning how to code can be valuable. The above resources will help you bring coding into your classroom in a fun and effective way.