“Everyone in this country should learn to program a computer because it teaches you how to think.”
Coding is a 21st century skill. It is quickly becoming a skill that will be indispensable because of the increase in the importance of computers in our everyday life. Jobs of the future might require basic coding skills as a non-negotiable skill just like being able to use a computer is right now.
It is also a skill that improves critical thinking and logical thinking. It develops creativity and pushes the kids to think outside the box. It is not uncommon to hear about kids these days who have learnt basic coding by the time they enter their teens.
Algorithm is the abstract way of asking computer how to do a task. The algorithmic thinking helps students to divide a task into different sub-tasks and to understand the concept, considering minute details attached to it, to form instructions and predict what will happen on execution, so that the computer can perform the task effectively and efficiently. It’s one of the ways to develop a problem solving approach in our kids.
“Learning to write programs stretches your mind, and helps you think better, creates a way of thinking about things that I think is helpful in all domains.”
– Bill Gates, Chairman, Microsoft
We live in a digital world where computer programs are the basis of everything from business, marketing, aviation, science and medicine. An article in Irish Independent by Ciaran Cannon states that by 2020 there will be 25 billion devices connected to the internet, three for every single one of us on earth.
Considering the importance of coding, many countries are introducing coding in schooling in as low as primary level. A study conducted in October 2014 among 20 European Ministries of Education, found that computer programming and coding is already part of the curriculum in 12 countries: Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Poland, Portugal and the UK (England). Seven more countries also plan to integrate the topic into their curricula in the future reports School Education Gateway.
There is disinvestment in teaching coding to kids in some countries as we don’t want them to become coders. Art is taught in schools with no expectation that the students should become artists. Similarly, not everyone taught coding will become a coder or have a career in information technology. However, being introduced to coding gives students an appreciation of what can be built with technology pushing their thinking and imagination to a higher level.
Irfan Lalani, an educator in Ahmedabad, is working to ensure that kids in Ahmedabad learn coding and that teachers in Ahmedabad are skilled enough to teach it to them in the schools. To do this, he has written a book called ‘Code (with Scratch) to Enhance Learning‘.
The book gives a basic introduction to coding using Scratch’s block based programming language. The beauty of the book lies in the easy language, illustrations and variety of visuals used to scaffold learning of basic programming skills.
It empowers kids/beginners to create simple applications and showcase their learning or express themselves with the help of multiple projects. The content is also integrated with English, Science and Math. These projects are shared on the Scratch site and can be accessed when needed.
For example, creating a project showing earth revolving around the sun and kids adding details to it as per their liking could be a creative way to integrate the classroom learning and coding. They will analyze and synthesize their classroom learning and use coding skills to make projects and present it to others.
This book is for kids above 9 years of age having access to a computer. They can create small projects in Scratch. This book is for parents who want to engage in activities to create learning experiences for kids as they can code with their kids to make creative projects and also for teachers who want to teach code as it will help them plan their beginning lessons.
Any enthusiastic person who wants to learn to code can benefit from this book.
Irfan Lalani currently works with schools to support them in bringing coding to their students by designing curriculum, resources, training teachers and setting up need based structure for the implementation of the program on how to teach to coding to kids.
You can contact him at : irfan.lalani2014 [at] teachforindia.org. You can buy a copy of his book here. You can learn about there book here.
Here are a few photos of the Program: