Over the past few decades, coding has steadily progressed from a nice-to-have to a must-have skill. This is not a surprising trend, given that an increasing number of organizations completely rely on computer programs to run key aspects of their business. In fact, a recent report suggests that jobs requiring computer programming skills are growing at a rate of 12 percent, with about half of these jobs actually in industries outside of technology. That means that every industry — not just STEM — is on the lookout for computer programmers.
Here is the 12-year-old Thomas Suarez giving a TEDx talk on just how computer science is tree that never stops giving.
That said, would you be surprised that only 40 percent of schools currently offer lessons in coding? In many cases, educators become intimidated by the prospect of coding, having not been formally introduced to it themselves. Luckily, there are lots of organizations that are taking the time to address this problem through various programs.
Resources to Help Teach Kids to Code
Are you looking to teach your kids the basics of coding in a single lesson? Here are some resources that can start you off on the right track.
Code.org is a free course repository for students of all ages and levels, with several lessons available to help kids and adults learn in ways that best suit them, at their own pace. Code.org also provides “unplugged” resources for teachers to teach coding without computers. Kids can learn how to break down a problem and formulate step-by-step solutions to enable a machine to comprehend the solution. Stellar programmers like Mark Zuckerburg and Bill Gates could be your fellow teachers during your session!
Scratch is a website and downloadable program from MIT that enables students to create stories and games with a simple drag and drop interface to form commands. Students can also publish their games and invite their friends to play which acts as a great incentive to work on innovative ideas, making it a great stepping stone to mobile application programming. littleBits uses Scratch in our Droid Inventor and Hero Inventor apps to help kids code movement, sound, and lights into their droids and Super Hero gauntlet, respectively.
Compute It is a flash-based game that has over 50 levels of coding puzzles that students are challenged to solve using only arrow keys. A great tool to learn the basics of algorithm design and advanced functions.
Made With Code
Produced by Google, Made With Code is another platform that uses the Blockly language to teach coding. There’s plenty of resources to learn animation or even program electronics with code.
Armed with a curriculum and STEM product library that lets you combine programming with other subjects like English, Math and Science, Tynker Games has a fun challenge for every student from grades 1-8.
littleBits Code Kit
If you’re looking to incorporate coding into STEM lessons in your classroom, littleBits provides the next step with the littleBits Code Kit — which enables students to learn to code with electronics, paving the way for some cool robotics.
Learn How to Teach Code in an Hour
Teaching computer science and coding might seem like a daunting task but it can be quite accessible. By committing to a single introductory lesson on this topic, you can inspire a lifetime of interest in young students.
Looking for more insight into how you can teach code in one lesson? Join littleBits on October 25 at 4PM ET for a webinar that will address:
- Explaining code to novices
- Implementing littleBits Code Kit lesson “Hello World”
- Real-time assessment