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How Coding Helps Kids Improve Their Digital Literacy

Published on March 4, 2022 | Posted in  

Parents today grew up in a very different world of tech than their children. When smartphones first came out, the idea of children handling them seemed somehow uncomfortable. Were young children ready for such advanced technology at such a young age?

Today, that question has been answered decisively — yes! Kids live in our digital world, so why should they be excluded? Like anyone, they need a healthy amount of time away from screens.

Technology is at the heart of modern society. Incorporating how it works rather than shying away from it involves delving deeper, peering behind the scenes to learn how computer coding works. There’s a major difference between knowing how to work a phone and knowing how to build the app the phone is running.

Digital literacy is a broader subject than digital competence and involves many primary and secondary skills that workplaces require, like, collaboration, creativity, effective communication, and more. Let’s take a deeper look at how classes teaching coding for kids in Toronto can help improve their digital literacy.

Real Programming Languages Only

The coding classes at RP4K teach kids how to use the coding languages that professionals use in the field, rather than drag-and-drop programs like Scratch that, if you will, only scratch the surface. Kids as young as seven are ready to learn Python, and as students progress, they’ll learn more advanced coding languages and delve deeper into each one.

When your children enroll in online coding for kids with RP4K, they can learn Java, JavaScript, C#, and C++. These coding languages drive platforms like Netflix and games like Minecraft. Kids need the direct and immediate coding skills they’ll be expected to know in the workforce, but they also give children the independence to create whatever they want.

Lateral Thinking and Problem Solving

Digital literacy is all about how to approach tech openly and find a creative solution for the problem before you. Technological problems require specific coding skills, but cultivating an open mind comfortable with making errors along the way is a crucial mental habit.

Thinking like an engineer often involves approaching a complex problem, making deductions, and testing them out. The mistakes you make along the way aren’t seen as errors made by a bad programmer!

Rather, mistakes provide invaluable data that lead to the right answer. It’s hard to overstate how important it is for kids to become comfortable making mistakes rather than beat themselves up and suffer a loss of self-esteem. Such a lesson will serve them well moving forward in school and beyond, setting up the foundations for them to become lifelong learners.

Digital literacy has very broad implications, as technology influences how we see the world, speak to each other, and more. Learning how to work with the technology powering modern society is to become fluent in helpful secondary skills.

Coding Helps Language Skills

People tend to think of computer coding as a specific technological skill rather than a language like English or French. People who are fluent in different languages report thinking differently in each one. The language of a person’s internal monologue influences and impacts their actual thought processes.

In programming, a language is any set of rules that convert strings or a graphical program element to various kinds of machine code outputs. Each computer language is one of a kind, with its own grammar and logical system requiring coders to think in accordingly different ways.

Children as young as seven can learn a kids programming language, like Python, then absorb progressively more complex ones from there.

Small Sessions

Students of all types thrive in small classroom environments, where they don’t need to compete with their peers for their teacher’s attention. RP4K is proud to offer small class sizes, where each session has a maximum of four students per teacher.

We tend to hire undergrads in computer science for a couple of reasons. Not only do they have the expertise in computers necessary, but they also have invaluable first-hand experience growing up playing video games.

RP4K puts video games at the centre of our lessons, so it’s crucial that teachers know what it’s like to be a kid in love with gaming. Our students learn how to build, code, and design their own video game. It’s a great challenge that keeps them engaged, and they’ll have all the support they need when the online sessions are small and manageable.

Plus, having young teachers gives children and teens a great resource to learn from about what coding is like beyond high school.

Instill the Values of Tinkering and Improving

Learning how to code encourages students to see digital products as always being in a state of flux rather than finished products. People who don’t know how to code may know how to navigate a website or play a game, but they’re unlikely to see the digital world as something that could be added to, improved, or modified.

Digitally literate people have the sensibilities to look at apps, sites, and games and have an intuitive sense of what’s going on under the hood. Put another way, they have a different relationship with technology, seeing it as something open they can interact with, rather than something complete and closed.

Guy and girl on a laptop and tablet in a living room, people using tech

The tech world is perhaps society’s most quickly evolving space. It’s impossible to be a contributing member of the tech world unless you see its potential for growth and change in real-time. When kids feel confident going behind the scenes and tinkering with the code in the programs they use, there’s no telling what digital wonders they’ll be able to invent one day.

Signing up your children for online coding classes is a great way for them to drastically improve computer skills, but it will also change how they conceive of technology and relate to the devices we all use every day. From issues like keeping safe online, avoiding harassment and bullying, preventing hacks, and even knowing how to use Cloud storage safely, digital literacy keeps you safer and better off in numerous ways. Learning how to code will change how kids understand and interact with the world around them, so don’t hesitate to sign up your child for a free trial lesson today.

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