Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Heads up: CBC Article for Parents on Kids and Coding

Just popping in for a quick link to a story by Erik Missio that I read on CBC News today. The article itself is kind of sappy-sweet and disturbingly uncritical (zero mention of access/digital divide issues, etc.) but it does also include a number of great points about the enormous value of teaching kids to code at a very young age. I personally LOVE that the fact that it's fun is included as a benefit...this is way too often overlooked in the standard, overly-instrumentalized narrative of why kids should engage with tech (or literature, or any activity) at a deeper level. And it does indeed provides some good tips about where and how to start, including links to Scratch and Raspberry Pi.

Here's an excerpt:
Four- and five-year-olds can learn the foundations of coding and computer commands before they can even write and spell words. Older kids can learn to code through classes, mentors and online tutorials (see below for learn-to-code resources for all ages).
Learning to code prepares kids for the world we live in today. There are tons of jobs and occupations that use code directly, like web designers, software developers and robotics engineers, and even more where knowing how to code is a huge asset—jobs in manufacturing, nanotechnology or information sciences. However, for most kid-coding advocates, reasons for learning to code run much deeper than career prep.
That last sentence is really key. Missio goes on to highlight how understanding code "helps explain the world." I'd add to that that of equal importance is that it empowers kids, enables them to start questioning and challenging the status quo, and to think more deeply and critically about of how the code (programs, etc.) they encounter in their leisure, at school, etc. affords and constraints particular activities, ways of being, types of use and users. 

Full article here: Why Kids Should Learn To Code (And How To Get Them Started)

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