Coding for kids … make it fun !
The Straits Times of 31 July 2019 carried an article that make us realise how far the changes and emphasis on education today are, from our times (a universal lament !). Coding, today, is considered an essential skill, given the developing and ever-changing digital landscape. The question for parents seems to be how to get children – young children -interested in coding.
Singapore’s Ministry of Education and the IMDA are giving more emphasis to this ability and the new iteration of Code for Fun curriculum will focus on the importance of computational thinking (breaking a complex problem into simpler and more manageable tasks to be executed by computers) and emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence. This initiative probably, in part, takes into account research studies that predict that the fastest-growing jobs in the future will need strong cognitive abilities in numeracy, literacy, problem-solving, critical thinking and creativity.
As a parent with no knowledge of coding, my question would be – how soon before this is also rendered an unnecessary skill by the very same artificial intelligence that the kids are studying ?
However, SingaporeforKids is all for knowledge and understanding and passions. Anything that excites and energises ensures change and growth. And coding does spark an initial interest in technology.
If you want to try to learn or understand coding for yourself, or introduce your children to it, check out these apps.
Swift Playgrounds : Free and available for the iPad, this teaches Apple’s Swift programming language by directing a cute animated character through increasingly challenging puzzles in a colourful 3D environment.
ScratchJr : Free, and available for both iPad and Android tablets, these graphical coding blocks need to be pieced together to make characters run, jump and dance. Users can create their own stories and games.
Glicode : Free, for iOS and Android devices, Pocky biscuit sticks are turned into bite-sized codes, by arranging them correctly and a photograph with a smartphones commands an in-game character in puzzles.
Hour of Code tutorials @ Code.org : Free and available for compatible browsers on computers and tablets. Offers over 200 one-hour coding tutorials feating characters from Star Wars, Frozen and Minecraft. Available in over 45 languages.
Reference : The Straits Times, 31 July 2019