Real Programming 4 Kids Logo

Byte-sized Brilliance: How RP4K is Crafting Future Innovators

Published on April 15, 2024 | Posted in  

STEM subjects are so popular now and have been for years because parents understand that we live in a digital world. Computers control everything around us and knowing how they work gives people a sense of control.

We’re all dazzled by the technology we use every day, but there’s also a feeling that it cuts in both directions: if we don’t control it, it will control us. Parents want their kids to use technology in healthy, productive ways, and peeking behind the curtains to see how it really works helps them engage more beneficially with video games, apps, and websites.

Knowing how to write the underlying code also helps create a foundation for future innovation. Many RP4K students go on to study coding later in school or use their knowledge to work as professional video game programmers, or in any other number of jobs that open up to expert coders.

Let’s review all the ways that RP4K’s weekly online coding classes craft future innovators.

In-Demand Coding Languages

Some STEM programs are designed to give kids a sense of what coding is like or improve their general computer skills. Drag-and-drop programs like Scratch only show what coding is like, but professional coders never use it in their work. Instead, RP4K targets the coding languages used today to build the most popular video games, apps, and websites.

Students walk out of our classes with the specific skills to work as programmers because the languages they’ll know are the ones used by professionals and those blazing their own trails in the field. We’re proud to teach such powerful, popular coding languages as:

  • Python
  • Java
  • JavaScript
  • C#
  • C++

Kids get many secondary benefits from learning to code, but nothing replaces the specific knowledge of how to write code in the languages that employers expect their teams to know. Whether your child grows up and decides to make their own app, create their own game, or take any of the many jobs available to expert coders, knowing how to write code in popular languages gives them the perfect foundation.

Young kids can begin learning Python without any prior experience coding. As they develop within this language, we’ll refine and test their knowledge before advancing to the next coding language.

Small Classes

Our online coding classes are supportive because they’re very limited. We never allow more than four students per class, so every session will include your child and, at most, three other students.

young people around a table, each at a laptop

In our over two decades of teaching, we’ve found this cut-off to create the most supportive atmosphere. Students have friends and peers they can talk to and share tips with, but they also have their teacher’s close attention.

Students shouldn’t have to shout over each other to be heard or worry their teacher doesn’t remember their name because there are too many students packed into each session. Likewise, teachers shouldn’t have to struggle with discipline or classroom management issues that can arise in over-stuffed classrooms.

Parents will also be happy to know that the session is guaranteed to run when they sign up because there’s no mandatory minimum; even if their child is the class’s only student, the program will run.

Healthy Mental Habits

Learning STEM subjects is all about giving kids the explicit knowledge to thrive in a digital world, but also the healthy mental habits they can use later. After all, future innovation will require new ideas and new types of thoughts. By definition, it’s impossible to give kids today the specific information they’ll need to break new ground tomorrow.

Instead, we help foster the healthy habits of mind associated with engineers so kids can solve problems more confidently and effectively. RP4K teaches kids to embrace mistakes, to view mistakes as providing invaluable data needed to get the solution right.

Kids inevitably encounter difficulties or errors in the course of programming. RP4K reinforces that this is a good thing! Programmers need to weigh data independently and think outside the box. The “mistakes” programmers make should be cause for excitement, as they yield important clues about how to move forward.

This is a much healthier attitude to foster than one which responds to mistakes with lowered self-esteem. Students may not be able to use their knowledge of C++ directly outside of coding situations, but they can apply coding concepts to real life when their feelings and thought patterns are involved.

Learning to code teaches students important lessons about critical thought, testing and retesting hypotheses, and improve problem solving skills. It also teaches kids how to feel better throughout the learning process, which helps them remain life-long learners.

Math at the Core

Nobody can say today exactly what tomorrow’s innovation will look like, but whoever is at its helm will be doing advanced calculations. Coders need to learn math because, in many ways, coding is math.

RP4K’s founder, Elliott Bay, is a mathematician who holds advanced math degrees. He has proudly taught math for years and has designed RP4K sessions to hold semi-secret math lessons. The kids don’t tend to notice they’re learning fundamental math concepts like vectors, integers, or even trigonometry because our classes teach kids to build video games.

Advanced, older students will learn math they wouldn’t otherwise encounter until their first year of university when they design and code their video games. In other words, kids enjoy learning so much that they don’t even realize they’re learning math. The video games are much more alive to them. Thankfully, they can learn math without being conscious of it.

Games Are Everything

Finally, RP4K helps launch tomorrow’s innovation by making coding skills fun to learn. Buzzwords about technology and STEM skills being the foundation for tomorrow’s technology can often be true, but at the end of the day, RP4K is an extracurricular program for kids, and nothing is more important than kids having fun.

Thankfully, teaching kids how to design and code their own video games is both a blast and effective pedagogy. We harness the power of gamification, so sessions are as engaging for kids as playing video games.

Parents are right to want their kids prepared for tomorrow’s world and the future economy. Don’t think that such serious-sounding topics must forego play and pleasure!  RP4K is proud to give children a healthy foundation for being an innovator, a responsibility we take seriously, but we always make it fun for kids.

linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram