As one of today’s most in-demand skills, coding has become an extremely useful ability for young children and teens to learn. The tech industry is reshaping what the future of the workforce will look like. As digital tools and trends are becoming integrated into every sector, the need for computer programmers who can think critically, communicate, and work with others to accomplish a goal are in high demand.
Coding is a complicated and captivating language that is continually evolving and can be applied in infinite capacities. The creative application of coding can help streamline a business, provide a service, or even help people in need. Its importance is likely to be a common inclusion in parenting books and school textbooks for years to come.
Why is coding important for students?
Learning to code in the early years of a child's development can lay the foundation for thinking critically to solve complex, real-world problems. As a child's exposure increases, it can lead to improved confidence and a love of learning. These are essential for exploring the world around them and helping them to feel successful through the completion of challenges they are presented with.
The most successful coders have a skill set that goes beyond just their knowledge of coding. Thus, while curriculums that teach coding may focus on just coding, children that develop other essential skills, such as teamwork and communication simultaneously, will be better prepared to tackle the world ahead.
Coding Skills for Every Student: The Four C's
Communication, collaboration, critical thinking, and creativity (also known as The Four C's) are crucial skills for children to learn and succeed in a fast-paced digital world. It takes practice and perseverance to learn how to code. However, with a solid foundation in coding, a child can be the next architect of the future.
While content and curriculum are important, the process in which a child learns will allow them to gain interpersonal skills that will benefit their overall development. By using a mix of hands-on exercises and technology, students can engage in learning using real-life experiences. These experiences will contribute to developing their critical thinking and provide opportunities to collaborate with people from across the world.
The four crucial skills outlined below will help to prepare and foster a child's development as they progress from the classroom into the workforce.
Communication is one of the most important skills an individual can have, and it can often be one of the hardest to learn. By creating and encouraging a safe and comfortable environment, a child is more likely to share their thoughts and ideas. An open communication space will lead to increased curiosity and the desire to ask questions and contemplate different points of view. Just as important as it is to express one's thoughts and ideas, listening effectively and accepting criticism is a vital piece of the puzzle.
A great way to practice communication skills at home or in the classroom is by providing opportunities for the child to participate in video chats, engaging online with fellow coding students, and conducting in-person presentations.
Working together to accomplish a common goal is at the root of collaboration. This skill is crucial as it provides opportunities to gain insights and new perspectives. Children who work together to tackle a challenging coding project will learn to face tough choices and decisions while practicing their communication and critical thinking skills.
Here’s a tip you can use to develop this important coding skill:
Start by establishing small and large group settings so kids can develop team-building, delegation of tasks, and communication skills. Children will gain a shared responsibility in tasks and exercise flexibility and willingness to help make compromises to accomplish a common goal.
3. Critical Thinking
Critical thinking is all about the process of breaking down problems into more manageable components and tackling them one at a time. It is problem-solving at its core. While this skill is important for potential workplaces for future developers or engineers, it is also helpful to use throughout a child's life and continued development into adulthood.
Start by cultivating lessons where a student can perform coding challenges and project-based or problem-based learning. This will ensure the student takes the proper steps to analyze, interpret, evaluate, make concise decisions, and eventually solve the problem. Afterward, take time to reflect on the skill and lesson learned and explore any potential alternatives.
Coding and creativity are the perfect combination and have endless possibilities for a child's development. Children want to be involved in their learning, and they want to be engaged. They want to know why they are learning a skill and how they can use it.
So throw away those monotone lectures and start implementing exercises that allow children to think outside the box to solve a problem. By using different mediums to showcase knowledge and understanding, children can become innovative problem solvers.
How To Develop These Important Coding Skills
As the workforce moves even further forward into the digital realm, coding will evolve and play a vital role in our society's future. Teaching children how to code from an early age will give them the confidence and empowerment to tackle the world ahead.
Technology, when used strategically, can enhance how you use the Four C's at home or in the classroom. If you're wondering how to implement the Four C's, it is recommended to start small. Begin by connecting with other colleagues in your neighborhood or school and build a network that you can use for feedback and fostering creative ideas. As challenging or intimidating as teaching a child coding skills may be, remind yourself that the reward and long-term benefit for the child will be extraordinary.
If you want to start teaching the Four C's at home or in the classroom, Sphero has digital resources and STEM kits so you can provide the ultimate tech development experience for kids. Check out how to use Sphero in the classroom and find everything you need to inspire students to start coding!