One of our most critical roles as a parent is preparing our children for their future.
We are living in the Fourth Industrial Revolution. The First Industrial Revolution used water and steam power to mechanise production. The Second used electric power to create mass production. The Third used electronics and information technology to automate production. The Fourth Industrial Revolution is characterised by a fusion of technologies that is blurring the lines between the physical, digital, and biological spheres. The rate of change is unprecedented.
Also read: This children's book series is teaching children to think like a programmer
If your child enters Grade 1 this year, they will matriculate in 2031 and enter into a world that is radically different from the one that we know. It is important that we prepare them for the future by ensuring they keep up with the rapid evolution of technology.
So, what is coding?
Coding is what makes it possible for us to create computer software, apps and websites. Your browser, your operating software on your cell phone, your favourite apps – they’re all made with code.
Learning the language of code has benefits for your child’s personal and academic career. It is a way of solving problems, sequential thinking, creating, designing, and working with others. These are all characteristics of a 21st century learner – and skills needed to succeed in today’s technology-driven world.
Also read: Great coding apps for kids
It is crucial to better prepare students for the Fourth Industrial Revolution by exposing them to the language of code through extramural and school holiday programmes, ideally incorporating “the 4 C’s of coding’. These 4 C’s enable students to make sense of the digital in the world and to develop the critical skills that are essential for the 21st century:
Encouraging students to maintain a ‘can-do’ attitude towards solving difficult problems. One of the coding concepts taught is the term ‘Debugging’. This is the process of identifying and fixing a bug. Students learn that it takes perseverance to solve a problem and debug their code. When they solve the problem, there is a sense of achievement and the confidence to try new and different ways to solve problems.
By teaching our students to experiment, make mistakes, explore their ideas and question their assumptions we are developing their questioning mindset which is where creative thinking begins. Instead of being passive technology users they become active inventors and innovators.
Working in teams is an essential life skill. Coding may be seen as an independent task but it calls for collaboration. Many projects or apps were designed by teams.
4. Computational thinking
By starting young, children will be better prepared to succeed and thrive in the 21st century. Computational thinking provides children with a new way of thinking that can be used to solve a variety of problems. Computational thinking is a problem-solving process.
Also read: Technology can help kids learn, but only if parents and teachers are involved
There is a lot of hype about the importance of teaching children to code at the moment but there is a very important reason behind the hype.
According to Code.org, 71% of all new STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) jobs are in computing, yet only 8% of STEM graduates are in Computer Science. Programmers are in high demand and learning to code will increase your child’s chance of securing a successful and lucrative STEM career.
It is predicted that Coding will be the most important skill in the future to have. Future jobs are often listed as the main reason that children should learn to code. Almost every company today has a presence on the web so having an even basic understanding can give your child the upper hand.
A big push for our country at the moment is entrepreneurship. Learning to code gives children a skill set that can be used to become an entrepreneur by bringing their brilliant ideas to life through developing their own app or website.
Take the first step in preparing your child for the Fourth Industrial Revolution by signing up for one of Think Ahead’s coding programmes. As Steve Jobs once said, “Everybody should learn to program a computer, because it teaches you how to think.”
Do you have a child that enjoys coding? What have they learned so far from it? Email us and we may publish your comments.