As our world becomes increasingly digital, coders will become more and more important, and the language creativity will move from pencil and paper to screens and keyboards. As parents, we need to future-proof our children, and help them develop and further their computer knowledge. How? Luka from Kano tells us why building a computer is good for your child.
For those of us that are not too tech savvy it can sometimes feel daunting when we hear about coding and words like Java, Python and C++ that go along with it. But really we needn’t be – computer programming in its simplest form, is just a way to talk to a computer and get it to perform specific tasks.
Even though they have huge processing power, computers are actually not very clever, and we need to learn very precise commands for them to follow.Building complex computer programs is of course not easy, but, as with anything, it is always possible to start with something simple.
As our world gets increasingly digital, coders will become more and more important, and the language creativity will move from pencil and paper to screens and keyboards.
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The engineers, architects and innovators of the future will be those who can create imaginative solutions to the problems that we face, using the processing power of computers.
Increasingly, programming languages are going to become the modern standard of digital literacy. Presently, however, our kids are not given sufficient computer education.
So how can you help your kids get involved in computers and coding?
Make Their Own Computer
Have them make their own computer – Kano Computer Kit is a computer that anyone can build. It is based around the Raspberry Pi 2, a credit sized computer.
Kano starts by assembling the hardware, and then leads kids through coding retro games like Pong, modern hits like Minecraft, creating musical masterpieces, and building their own games in Scratch. It also servers as a springboard for more complicated projects like sending tweets from your Raspberry Pi and building your own Minecraft Server.
Kano was founded with a straightforward goal, to make building a computer “as simple and fun as Lego”, and they have created an adventure that can teach kids of all ages how a computer works and the languages they speak. The kit contains a Raspberry Pi 2, speaker, memory card, wi-fi dongle, a snap together case and a story book that leads kids step by step through the building process.
By building their own functioning computer, children develop a greater knowledge of both the hardware and the software, and help digitally future-proof your child.
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More Coding Options
There are plenty of other coding options available to kids too:
Code.org is trying to improve diversity in computer science, by encouraging girls and those of minority to get involved in coding. They launched an initiative called “Hour of Code”, which encourages people to get coding for the first time, with loads of challenges including coding Angry Birds and Frozen.
2. Khan Academy
Khan Academy is an online not-for-profit, that teaches topics ranging from mathematics to economics, as well as computer science. They got involved with the “Hour of Code” with Code.org, with challenges that teach the basics of programming, and focus on inspiring people who have had no previous experience with coding.
Scratch is a great place for budding computer programmers to start.
It is a “drag-and-drop” language, which means that no code is actually written, instead pre-set commands are organised to create games. It is simple to start with, but surprisingly powerful with examples of people building Flappy Birds, Mario and Pacman remakes.
4. Join a Coding Club
- Code Club is a community of volunteers that run free programs teaching kids aged 9-11 how to code. It started in the UK, and now has over 2,500 clubs across the UK and Ireland and is expanding into Europe and the United States.
- Coder Dojo, similar to Code Club, is also volunteer run, and teaches kids (and young adults) skills in web development and application creation.
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Over to you! Does your kid like to code, or have they tried building their own computer? Let us know in the comments below.