Open Source News

Teaching Kids to Code

I recently saw a great TED Talk from Reshma Saujani founder of Girls Who Code where she talked about how to get more girls into the computer coding field and how girls in general are taught to avoid risk and failure as a society.

What I found so interesting about the talk was the following from Saujani “Every Girls Who Code teacher tells me the same story. During the first week, when the girls are learning how to code, a student will call her over and she’ll say, ‚ÄòI don’t know what code to write.’ The teacher will look at her screen, and she’ll see a blank text editor… But if she presses undo a few times, she’ll see that her student wrote code and then deleted it. She tried, she came close, but she didn’t get it exactly right. Instead of showing the progress that she made, she’d rather show nothing at all. Perfection or bust.‚Äù

This got me thinking about what is available for kids, not just girls, to start to learn coding. Children as young as preschool can start coding with Fisher-Price’s, soon to be release, Think & Learn Code-a-Pillar. Each segment of the caterpillar has a direction on it and depending on the order you place the blocks it will either turn left or right, or make a silly noise.

Scratch is an online site developed by MIT Media Lab that is free where kids can program their own stories, games or animations and then share them with an online community of other kids.

For girls there’s Made w/ Code from Google where you can code a dress that lights up, create avatars or even create your own musical track all with code.

These are just a few options out there. Any google search for activities to get kids into coding (or any variation of that theme) will produce pages of sites and activities for kids. No matter what site, game, book, or product you use the important thing is to get more kids involved in coding. Who knows maybe your child will design the next open source ILS and take the world by storm!

Read more by Melissa Lefebvre