There is a fascinating conundrum that exists in the realm of educating children in technology –
The people who are most experienced in programming and code design are generally entrepreneurs who feel they know what is best for everyone.
The people who are best at teaching children are generally not the most tech savvy.
Therefore, we have a lot of ill-fated educational resources – either they are overly preachy and aren’t interesting enough for children or they are too flashy and don’t teach them anything useful.
Sometimes, however, you get those rare projects where education and technology come together to make something special.
Rencently, I was speaking to a group of students about a Future Cities project that involved the amazing Sim City game. They were using Sim City, but to them it was just a game. I came in to talk to them about infrastructure, and how the game actually had ramifications in real life. I wasn’t getting through to them until I said this:
“Imagine you are Gru, from Despicable Me, standing in his lair, and whenever you give a command to the game, you are actually talking to Minions. Then, there are Minions who go out and are doing that.
Now, look at our city. There’s a real guy, somewhere in the city, sitting in his lair, and he has Minions too. He creates orders and they go out and do them. If he wants a road built, they go build it. If he wants a building created, they go build it.”
At this point, they started saying “wow, so that’s who those guys are talking to when they shut down roads!” And “I want to be Gru!!!” Or “I want to be a Minion!!!”
To get children invested in coding, you’ll need to speak their language. You can make it a game, but without context they aren’t learning what you expect.
Create code curriculum, software and hardware that is focused around age-appropriate interests, and include a practical context so they can apply things to the world around them.
- At 5 and under, brains tend not to distinguish between fantasy and reality (i.e., Minions are just as real as you and me). Anything is possible.
- From 6-11, the world shrinks, as everything is brand new, and something exists only when you discover it for yourself, or your parents, family or teachers tell you. This is extremely exciting as you want to share everything you learn with everybody!!!!
- From 12-16, you expand your world to include a few other people’s viewpoints (like your friends.) Coincidentally, this is when you also stop sharing your opinions as freely.
With that in mind, you have a basis for creating some amazing things.
Originally Posted: https://www.quora.com/What-are-some-unique-insights-about-how-kids-learn-to-code-and-how-can-those-insights-help-with-teaching
Originally Posted On: 2016-01-31