Five Common Misconceptions About Kids and Coding
When you think about the kind of people who code, you might have some stereotypical ideas about them. The image of a nerdy 20 year old kid with thick-framed glasses and a pencil in the front pocket of his oxford shirt probably comes to mind. The truth about coding and the kinds of people who enjoy it may actually surprise you. Here are some common misconceptions and the truth about coding, specifically when it comes to children:
Misconception #1: Coding is something only adults can learn.
People often think coding is something that only young adults can learn by attending university. This of course is a false. Coding can be learned by people of all ages from children as young as 4 to adults even older than 70, and you don’t have to go to college to do so. The important thing is that you use the proper tools for each pupil when learning to code, meeting each student of whatever age on his or her level, and avoid getting too complicated too quickly.
Misconception #2: Coding is just for people who excel in science and math. Artistic and creative kids would not like it.
Lots of parents think that coding is only a good fit for kids who enjoy and excel in math and science, but that’s actually not the case. While being good at math can be helpful, coding and math are not very tightly woven together. There are some programming roles that may involve complex maths, but there are others that will involve practically no math at all.
Contrary to popular belief, coding in itself is in fact an act of creativity. By the very nature of writing code, the programmer or student is creating something. With that being said, art and programming are both forms of self-expression, each in their own way. Coding and music in particular have many similarities. For example, musicians learn to recognize and manipulate keys, chords, and scales. The same thing happens in programming with patterns and pieces of code.
The bottom line is that coding is a great fit for creative kids too because the very essence of coding is creation, and artistic children who like to make or build things often enjoy coding just as much as a child who excels in math.
Misconception #3: Coding is conceptual, not a hands-on activity.
Since coding is done on the computer, people often think that learning to code is strictly a conceptual activity that is therefore difficult for children. This is an incorrect assumption. Coding can actually be taught in a hands-on way, and many children pick it up easily.
While coding in computer science career fields tends to be more technical and not very interactive, it’s not necessary to focus on algorithms or writing theories when teaching young children to code. Though they should learn those things eventually if they choose a career in a computer science related field, it’s not necessary for kids to learn them early on in their coding journey. Instead, young students can work on building simpler projects so that they can see the finished product they created in the end, and actually learn through building instead of learning through theory. Additionally, games they are already familiar with like Minecraft can be used as a hands on activity for learning to code.
Misconception #4: Coding is an antisocial, solo activity.
Even in the professional realm, collaboration is a very important thing when it comes to coding. Since coding is a problem-solving skill that is developed over a long period of time, there is always room for improvement and always something to learn from other programmers. Collaboration helps move the process along and helps create the best finished product. The same is the case when children are learning to code. Students thrive when they work together on the same projects to solve problems. Additionally, when students are able to see what their peers are building, they are inspired to build and create more things.
Misconception #5: Coding is dull and boring.
There is a misconception among young people that coding is boring or isn’t for them, but the truth is that coding offers a world of limitless possibilities for invention. Coding is exciting because the possibilities are endless, and when it comes to children, they can actually use coding to solve problems within their everyday lives. Is your student having trouble with time management or keeping track of their things? Perhaps they need a way to keep track of the chores they accomplish at home. Maybe that creative student can build an app for that.