I'm guessing that if you are reading this, you don't need to be convinced why it is important to teach your children to code. You may be aware that Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple, is pushing Apple to help teach K12 students to code. You've heard the facts that the US Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts by 2020, there will more than 1.4 million software developer jobs than qualified applicants to fill.
Over the last month, I've researched and written a number of articles on the topic of coding for kids.
For my last article in this series, I turned to experts in the field of parenting, education and computer science. I asked them to share the most effective service, methodology or tip for teaching children how to code. Below we have advice from a former Gold Cannes Lion winner, an extraordinary 8th grader who is already making an income via computer science, the founder of Educents, a parenting marketplace for educational resources, a best selling author who is inspiring young girls, and a number of CEOs.
“For children, early exposure to coding will open doors they may not have known existed”-Teacher, August Deshais.
I'm sure you appreciate how important technology is to our lives. It's remarkable how much impact technology has had on our world in just the last five years. Do you remember how hard it was to find a taxi-cab? Or stay connected with long-distance friends & family? Or find a great fast food joint in the middle of a road trip. Nowadays you can simply ask your kitchen speaker, and she'll tell you the answer to any possible question you have.
(On a side note, imagine what it must have been liked to work on the product teams that created these technologies. Pretty amazing I bet).
And I'm sure you realize that this impact on our lives is going to significantly accelerate as augmented reality, artificial intelligence, virtual assistants, speech recognition and more continue to develop.
In this brave, new world, learning how to code isn’t just for information technology professionals or software engineers. It could be your children’s ticket to better personal and professional opportunities regardless of what career they choose. When it comes to preparing your child for this swiftly digitizing world, helping your K12 child learn to code isn't a nice to have, its a must do!
I wrote a whole article on why coding is a fundamental skill, no different than chemistry or learning a language, which I recommend you read: What does Apple believe should be required in every school?
But simply put, learning how to build websites and simple games helps kids enhance and polish their logic, academic, creativity and, problem-solving skills.
If you are a regular reader, you know that we subscribe to Amazon.com's monthly STEM Toys Club where every month we are sent a new educational game, kit or experience. Last month, we reviewed the National Geographic Dig Kit which we loved. This month we unpacked Thomas & Kosmos Physics Workshop. Last weekend we finally found some time to start building!
The beauty of the club is you get a new toy every month for only $20. Considering the Physics Workshop costs $39 on Amazon.com today, this is a saving of almost 50%! If you'd like to sign up for the STEM club, please consider using our affiliate link which gives us a small commission at no charge to you.
If you're reading this, I'm assuming you are a parent that already knows the value of coding. You want your child to learn how to be more logical, creative and have a mindset for solving problems. Maybe it's getting close to the end of the year, and you've heard about Hour of Code or Computer Science Education Week. Or you are a parent that has heard how the US Govt is projecting there will be more than 1.4 million unfilled software developer jobs by the year 2020.
Regardless you are here because you know why teaching your child to code is valuable. You need help on the how.
Back in late 2016, I was in your shoes. I'd heard how Apple Retail was partnering with Hour of Code to teach children how to program. I wasn't able to find a spot in the Apple Retail stores, so I did the next best thing. I enrolled Khadija into Hour of Code on code.org.
She's been using code.org ever since.
I'll share what is code.org, how it works and why it is so valuable. I'll share what type of parental controls and reports you'll have access to. I'll compare code.org against Tynker, including a deep dive into code.org's unique partnerships. Most importantly, I'll share my daughter Khadija's progress after more than a year on the platform, and our review on whether you should sign your child up.
I'm guessing you're a 21st century forward thinking parent. You've heard about Hour of Code, and you want to encourage your child to code. You know that coding fosters creativity, problem solving and innovation. You've read why Apple believes coding should be required in every public school?
You understand the why and the what. You just need help with the how?
I think I know how you feel.
I'm sure you know how important it is to read. You know the research confirming how early readers have an advantage over other kids.
If you know anything about me, you know I love to read. In fact, I wrote an entire article about reading: How reading has changed my life and how it can change your kid's life too.
Reading is my favorite hobby. So I was determined to pass on this behavioral skill to my children as early as possible. Back when Rizwan was getting close to four years old, I started to investigate the most effective methods for teaching kids to read. There wasn't a shortage of options! Everything from flashcards to YouTube videos to cutting-edge Apps
Yet, my research found that THE MOST EFFECTIVE WAY TO TEACH READING is a more than 30-year-old book called “Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons.” I bought this inexpensive book and started the daily lessons with my child.
Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple, is not just the leader of the biggest company in the world, but is also a leading advocate for making coding a requirement in every public school.
In fact, Tim on a recent trip to France said: "If I were a French student and I were 10 years old, I think it would be more important for me to learn coding then English..I'm not telling people to not learn English - but this is a language that you can express yourself to 7 billion people in the world". In the same video, Tim went on to say that coding should be "required in every public school in the world". "It's the language that everyone needs, not just for the computer scientists. It's for all of us," said Cook.
Every month, Amazon.com ships us a new STEM Toy as part of their STEM Toys Subscription club. For $20 a month, you'll receive a new toy each month that is usually discounted by 25% to 50%. We love it. If you're considering joining Amazon's club, please use our affiliate link to sign up. There is no charge to you, and it helps us offset some of the cost of hosting this site.
This month's toy is the National Geographic Mega Fossil Dig Kit, where you can dig up to 15 real fossils. These real fossils include Dinosaur Bone, Sharks, Coral, Sting Ray, Clams, Mosasaur Tooth, Gastropods and more.
I hope you'll agree with me that we have a serious lack of female engineers, software developers, architects, and mathematicians. Women are painfully underrepresented in the industries and fields responsible for making the products we all use on a daily basis.
The problem is significant & complex. Many governments & businesses including Apple & Google are actively working to root-cause why the results are so dramatic, and what business, governments and individuals can do to reverse the tide.
The good news is the economic opportunities for our girls is massive. Later in the article, I'll share the facts around the projected growth opportunities for STEM careers, and the huge demand there will be for women innovators, engineers, programmers, architects and more.
I've spent the last couple of weeks researching and preparing my most significant article yet. It will genuinely reflect on why there are so few women pursuing STEM careers in specific fields such as coding, and what you can do to help make an impact, starting with your girl. One of the key points I'm going to make is the lack of strong female role models in the lives of our girls is just one reason why so few females think they have the capability to be good at science, technology, engineering & math.
As a new blogger, I've been listening to Pat Flynn's podcast, Smart Passive Income, to learn how to podcast. For anyone interested in making money in the digital economy, he's certainly an expert and regularly features interesting guests who generously share their journey and advice for listeners. While catching up on older podcasts, I was intrigued by the title of his September 2017 podcast, SPI 282: How Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls Rocked the Kickstarter Scene. So I gave the show a listen and was glad I did. In the show, he interviews Francesca Cavallo and Elena Favilli, the creators of Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls, the biggest crowdfunded book launch of all time!