Technology has moved steadily ahead over the years, but it has evolved by leaps and bounds in the past decade or so. Smartphones have been a revolution and a revelation. Even video games have become increasingly sophisticated and have overtaken the movie industry in value.
If technology keeps developing on this trajectory in the future, the next generation of coders will need online lessons today. Before signing up for your child, here’s what to look for in a program.
Fun is Everything
For now, put lofty things like your child’s eventual career or the fate of future technology out of your mind. The extracurricular programs kids sign up for need to be fun! Industry leaders like Real Programming 4 Kids make their courses revolve around teaching students to create their own video games.
Kids don’t need to be pushed very hard to play video games, and they are just as drawn to programming them. They can play the games with friends and family after, which is a big motivator.
The best online coding courses also harness gamification dynamics in the sessions, so the same things that make games so addictive and engaging for kids are used for learning.
Credit: Mati Mango via Pexels
Even the best teachers teaching the most engaging subject will struggle if there are too many students packed into a classroom. This is true in online and offline classrooms.
Look for a program that limits class sizes. Four is a great cut-off number, so there is only your child and, at most, three other students. Teachers shouldn’t have to deal with classroom management issues, and students shouldn’t contend against teachers who can’t remember every student’s name because there are so many.
Ideally, the program hires teachers who also grew up playing computer games, as their passion and first-hand experience reach students. Plus, they also have practical experience navigating the job market as a coder, and older students have someone whose brain they can pick about where coding can take them later on.
Vital Coding Languages
Learning how to code teaches many useful general computer skills and even fundamental math concepts, like integers, vectors, and trigonometry. Still, kids must also learn the direct skills powering today’s most popular apps, websites, and video games. Employers expect the people they hire to know these languages, and this knowledge lets kids forge their own paths in whatever direction they like.
Here’s a list of the coding languages elite programs teach:
Learning how to write computer code teaches kids how to use lateral thinking like an engineer, problem-solve, and other intangible mental habits. However, nothing replaces knowing the specific languages needed to make programs work.
Society needs to keep up the torrential pace of technological innovation, and parents are looking for fun, beneficial extracurricular activities for their kids today. Even if your child never becomes a professional video game developer or programmer, they’ll be excited to learn and play in a safe, stimulating environment every week. And maybe after they advance in coding, they will develop the next multimillion-dollar video game or generation-defining technology.