Understanding the world of technology can unlock so many new and interesting pathways for students. Boys and girls alike are needed in many sectors related to technology and programming. Computer skills are incredibly beneficial to students learning in many ways that we’ll discuss today.
In addition, programming, coding, and other tech skills will help develop students in a way that other activities simply cannot accomplish. The demand for tech workers is ever-increasing. So, now is the time to help students get interested in programming.
The Effect of Technology on Children’s Learning
To start, it’s important to acknowledge the fact that having access to computers is fundamental to every child’s education. Exposure to technology and consistent internet access has been proven to help children’s learning. For example, when low-income students were given access to internet-capable devices, schools found that their test scores went about 30 percent.
Just that in itself is enough of a reason to give children all of the access they require to educational resources online. However, children who are exposed to technology early have the chance to grow certain essential skills that they’ll use for the rest of their lives. Not only will they be able to better use technology, they’ll understand it better. Our world is connected to technology in so many ways; helping your children to understand technology (through activities like programming and coding) can help them to understand how the world around them and so many useful tools work.
Furthermore, children who get the hang of technology early and are interested in how technology, programming, and coding works will begin to develop other crucial skills as well. Alongside a general better understanding of our world and how it works, boys and girls who start working on these activities will grow much better critical thinking skills earlier on.
Understanding technology also means understanding why it sometimes fails. Children who are exposed to technology in this way will begin to understand troubleshooting and will be forced to employ critical thinking in order to solve problems. What’s more, so much of early programming and coding skills has to do with trial and error. Young programmers learn cause and effect and begin to understand how to make technology work for them.
What’s more, it’s so incredibly important for children to understand that programming truly is a skill that anyone can learn. Regardless of gender, technological skills are crucial and advantageous for all girls and boys to learn early on. To further illustrate this point, kids can learn about public figures, like Ada Lovelace, who was the first ever computer programmer.
Her story is inspirational to anyone who is interested in learning about programming. She created the first ever computer programming system back in the 1800s and was a skilled mathematician as well. She developed an interest in programming at an early age through the study of science, math, and invention from teachers and family friends, which was unusual for women at that time. Although we might not hear about facts like this as often as we should, her story is a fascinating one that goes to show that anyone can become a great programmer.
How to Get Your Child Started With Programming
If you think that your child might be interested in programming and/or you want to start to develop their technological skills, start small with things like logic-based board games and video games. This is a great warm up for any child before moving on to some more advanced techniques. From there, there are actually many games out there that are specifically built for children that help get them acquainted with programming language and what it looks like to build something from scratch.
For example, games like Kodu (for the Xbox), Scratch (for PC), and Swift Playgrounds (for iOS) actively engage children with programming language and structure. They can start to see a clear cause and effect to the changes they make behind the scenes. They can even begin to build their own small words via code!
From there you can decide to do something a bit more advanced and introduce your child to actually programming classes. If you have local classes available, that’s a great start, but you can also do online classes.
CoderZ, for example, was created specifically to teach STEM to children, through cyber robotics, programming and coding (at their own pace).
The Growing Gap in Tech Skills
There are so many incredible reasons why programming, coding, and technology usage in general are wonderful tools to aid student’s learning. However, the need for these skills goes even deeper than that. The demand for boys and girls who graduate with adequate computer skills is increasing. As of 2017, it was estimated that over 500,000 jobs were available to skilled tech workers. However, research shows that only around 43,000 students graduate with a degree in computer science (or something similar) each year.
In addition, students who graduate and enter the workforce have been reported to not have sufficient technology skills going forward. As technology expands and adapts to our lives, it seems that workers aren’t quite able to keep up. About 44 percent of hiring managers say that employees cannot keep up with advances in technology.
Only 15 percent of employers say that their employees actively seek out forms of training or tech education. So, this truly doesn’t only apply to students who are naturally gifted in things like programming, but to all students. All workers must employ a willingness to evolve and expand their technological knowledge in order to keep up with trends and changes in the workforce.
Being a part of a community, like programming, shows students of all genders how important their role in society can be. Not only can they be hands-on with technology and essentially control how technology effectively works for us in the future, but they can learn so many other important skills along the way.
An interest in programming opens the door to so many incredible opportunities. The need for skilled tech workers doesn’t appear to be slowing down any time soon, so if your student or child (regardless of gender!) seems to be technologically inclined or interested, show them how valuable a career in programming can be.
This article was written by Devin Morrisey, who connected with CoderZ via Twitter. Devin writes from his garage in Daly City, CA, stopping periodically to build robot cars with his nephew. He is a stark advocate for technological integration in educational policy.