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Computer programming is a technique/process used to create executable pc instructions to solve computer problems. In definition, coding is the mainstay of laptop programming, apps, computer software, and websites. It is the language that interprets commands to technology in practice, such as a video game, a purposeful internet site, or a smart door alarm. This research paper addresses pc programming in children, a phenomenon that is now common in this digital era.
Teaching children programming from a young age affords understanding to their digital world. This paper examines the outcomes of teaching programming to children. It moreover explores the methods employed to do that, and the differences in mode of instruction utilized at different stages and ages of children.
A quantitative approach is used using four sources. The research paper is a secondary one. It is produced with the information gained from highly cited resources. Qualitative methods are employed in the four sources different articles as expounded in the literature review. Two sources are published journal articles. The rest are website articles from sites of high repute. All sources remain relevant as they address prevailing issues in the digital age. Information presented is highly comparable across different sources. Programming also referred as coding, is understood correspondingly in all sources. The sources similarly view the teaching of programming to children as having a valuable effect, when coupled with employment of techniques that make it easy for young learners to understand.
As the world advances in technology and people learn more about computers, the world changes on how things works and more computer programming jobs get created. Computer programming is the process of writing a system of instructions in a language, which the computer understands, for the computer to execute particular tasks. In the world today, there is a widespread use of computers, drones, smart phones and other programmable devices. It is, therefore, important for people to learn how to use and utilize these devices.
Computers have brought a revolutionary change in many sectors including the education sector. In the education sector, computers have changed both the contents taught and the methods used in teaching (Nelson & Braafladt, 2012). According to Eric Cantor former United States House Majority Leader, learning computer programming or coding in the present world should be a requirement just like learning how to read and write (Porter, 2016). It should also be introduced in school curriculums to ensure students both in elementary, middle schools and high schools get the right tools and education to be successful in an era of increasing technology.
Benefits of Teaching Programming to Children
Learning to code helps improve the mathematical ability of children (Porter, 2016). In the early days, computers were designed to help solve complex scientific problems. To communicate with these computers, it requires one to develop a good mathematical ability. This skill to code is linked to general mathematical ability. Learning how to program at an early age, therefore, helps the children develop ability in working out mathematical problems with ease. Mathematics is a core subject in most schools around the world.
Coding also improves the memory capacity of children as they continue learning how to program. Programming is an intense memory activity as it requires high concentration and ability to manipulate numbers at the same time. The general intelligence should be high to perform such tasks, Children learning to program would develop their knowledge easily due to the high concentration needed in programming. Analogical reasoning skills of the children also improve. A child who learns how to program can transfer this knowledge to other areas in life. This knowledge acquired is necessary in learning and problem solving throughout the child’s life. To be able to transfer this knowledge into and out of programming classes the child develops an analogical thinking skill (Villavicencio et al., 2015).
Children develop conditional reasoning skills. In programming, there is a use of conditional statements in different programming functions. The conditional statements involve the use of “if and then.” To be a good programmer, the children learn the use of such conditional statements. Their conditional reasoning skills are developed and are important in their day to day life. Programming also comes with educational benefits since the kids would feel more successful in their education by at least getting the computers to do whatever they tell the computer to do. As a foundation for their life, this will help them have a proper management of the technology around their everyday lives.
Computational thinking described as the ability to pass one's thoughts in a logical way (Porter, 2016). Computational thinking is important in life as it involves looking at a problem in life and then breaking it down into single-action steps. Each of these steps is tackled in the most efficient way possible. The thinking of the children who learn to program at an early age shifts and they view how the world works with a different angle. Children also become more creative since programming involves endless ways of coding and solving problems which help inspire children to think out of the box. They also become successful in written and oral communication. An example is a Micro bit introduced to schools by BBC. This device has helped children become creative in creations of solutions to different situations.
Children get good job opportunities such as work in Google, Microsoft, Apple, and other more companies which are well paying. The current job market requires job seekers to be literate in technology. To prepare the children for this job market, it needs them to know how to program and this is possible by introducing computer programming in middle school and elementary schools. After graduating as programmers, they will be highly sought after and are going to get well-paying jobs. A good reason why programming should begin at the early ages.
Why Programming should be taught in at Least Middle School if not Elementary
Opponents of introducing programming in either middle or elementary schools claim that coding is not fun for every child just like mathematics is and introducing it to be compulsory for middle and elementary schools will be to punish children and even waste their time. The people opposed to this new world development suggest that we need to remove codes and do an automation of the process.
But programming has become one of the world’s most used languages. Coding is the new language in a fast growing technological world. Almost every field now relies on a program developed or a programmer for success. Apart from programming becoming the communication language, children who are introduced to start early age programming will be assured to have a chance to get well-paying jobs which are also readily available in the job market.
Programming helps understand the world. Starting computer programming at an early age will equip the children with excellent skills in a world where computers and its associated devices shape the world. Computing nowadays is involved in almost all aspects of life. From education, social media, banking, and communication. Therefore, learning how to program computers is beneficial in other careers of life as nearly all fields involve a component of programming. Programming is an essential knowledge in this era. Children are growing up in a generation where computers, the internet, and cellphones are everywhere. In this digital age, even toys are digital, and some are even programmable. It is important to introduce programming for children in schools as it helps them understand and participate actively in the digital world they live.
Computer programming teaches some important slife lessons. By learning to program, children are forced to take responsible risks and engage in some problem-solving tasks. It encourages students to get out of their relaxation zone and give it a trial in tasks that seem difficult, and children can make a logical attempt to solve a problem on their own. The children also get to learn that they should not be afraid of making mistakes, they get to learn from mistakes, they also learn teamwork is essential, and that perseverance pays off.
Children get to think and solve their problems. Educators always focus on improving the students' ability to solve problems. Learning programming helps children to find out how to give careful attention to detail and be able to break big problems into smaller manageable steps that they can solve quickly. All subjects become important for a computer programming student. The children are required to read more as literacy is critical and mathematics is needed as a wide range of concepts involved in programming need math. It helps them become good programmers.
Creativity grows. Coding is an empowering skill as the confidence and creativity of children get built. Children introduced to programming quickly realize that they have a new avenue to express and create new interesting ideas. These avenues are rewarding. Programming is also fun. Beyond the practical reasons to learn to program, there is the fun part of it. For kids to get to create a game or animation can be real fun for them.
As the world continues to grow in technology, the ability to work with computers without struggle turns into a vital skill for use. Learning is turning to creative problem solving, mental flexibility and logical thinking. Therefore, the children need to learn how to program early for their lives tomorrow. It is also important to start teaching programming in middle and elementary schools since children have an easier time learning skills than adults. The children’s minds are flexible and open to learning new things. Countries should revise the curriculums and introduce coding into their syllabus. Countries such as Estonia and the United Kingdom have already introduced coding in their curricula, and it has proved to be of benefit (Hammond, 2013).
Porter, J. (2016, July 17). 4 Benefits of Learning Programming At a Young Age. Retrieved from https://elearningindustry.com/4-benefits-learning-programming-at-a-young-age-2
Hammond, M. (2013). Introducing ICT in schools in England: Rationale and consequences. British Journal of Educational Technology, 45(2), 191-201. doi:10.1111/bjet.12033
Nelson, J., & Braafladt, K. (2012). Technology and literacy: 21st century library programming for children and teens. Chicago: American Library Association.
Villavicencio, A., Poibeau, T., Korhonen, A., Alishahi, A., & Springer-Verlag GmbH. (2015). Cognitive Aspects of Computational Language Acquisition. Berlin: Springer Berlin.
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