Coding is a top priority for many people these days. With all the talk of bolstering STEM education in the United States (not to mention STEM + and STEAM) and all the changes in the economic landscape that have pushed technology companies to the forefront, it is apparent that large-scale change is on the horizon. Coding class may even become an integral part of early education as reading, writing, and math are today.
Fortunately, you don’t have to wait for “someday” to get your school coding. Here are 5 ways to help you spark and sustain a child’s interest in Coding inside and outside the classroom.
1. Emphasize that Coding = Creativity
As a teacher, you want to emphasize the Creativity involved in Coding. You can do this by showing students how they can use Coding to express themselves and learn more about their world. Coding is a way to explore your creativity, whether it’s through making video games or creating websites that express your unique interests or hobbies. In addition, Coding also allows you to create new things—for example, an app that helps people find books on their favorite topics!
By emphasizing these ways that Coding is creative, you’ll make sure your students can have fun while learning at school!
2. Encourage Exploration
One of the most important parts of being a great teacher is encouraging students to explore. Whether you’re helping them learn about the world or themselves, exploration can be a powerful way to do it.
Exploration is fun! Encourage your students to experiment with different programming languages, even if they won’t use them in their careers. The experience will teach them new skills and open up possibilities for future learning. They may also discover some things about themselves along the way—like how much more creative they are when they’re not following someone else’s rules.
3. Tap Into Each Child’s Passions
To get the most out of your coding class, you must tap into what your students are passionate about. If you know someone interested in sports, teach them how to code a basketball game or make a website about their favorite team. The same goes for music: teach them how to create a drum kit with drag-and-drop blocks and let them play with it. Maybe one of your students likes science; show them how they can use code to aid their experiments!
It’s also important that you don’t shy away from teaching things that might seem intimidating at first glance—like math or physics—because some children may be afraid of these subjects and could benefit tremendously from having an outlet through which they can learn them safely (i.e., Coding).
4. Make Coding a Social Activity
You can make Coding a social activity by including your classmates in your work. The best way to do this is through pair programming, where two people work on the same code simultaneously.
This will help you and your classmates learn from each other’s mistakes and get more out of the class. You’ll also have something in common with everyone else—your shared love for Coding!
5. Find a Mentor
Finding a mentor is also a great way to improve your coding skills. A mentor can be anyone: from the local community, school, or family. Mentors don’t necessarily have to be programmers themselves—they can even be friends who are more familiar with computer science than you are.
It would be best if you found someone who has the right personality to mentor you. A good mentor should love helping others and not mind doing their part to ensure they learn everything they need to know while still keeping things fun and interesting!
Once you’ve found a great mentor and established some ground rules for how your relationship will work (whether it’s weekly meetings, texts, or emails), then go ahead and start learning about coding together!
Hopefully, these ways will help your child get interested in learning to code. Introducing children to Coding will open up a whole world of possibilities for them later in life, not to mention the enjoyment they’ll get from having new tools to create with today. It’s also important to remember that Coding isn’t for everyone. Not every child likes to paint or play baseball or dance, and not everyone will like to code either. Please don’t force it. Show them the apps, provide some support, and let them drive. If they don’t show an immediate interest, they may return to it later.