The first time I heard the word kids programming was back in my college days – where all the syntax structure and logic was thrown at me, all at once. It was hard. There were days when the logic would work and the computer would throw syntax errors at me. And then, there were other days where I cracked the syntax but it would take me ages to crack the logic to solve a problem. With the tools being used, it was impossible to separate both logic and syntax. They had to be learned together due to which, I had developed an aversion to programming. But as days passed, I have overcome that and developed interest in coding. Of course, it needed a lot of practice and determination.
Kids Programming Today
But the present generation kids is blessed with some amazing coding tools which uses the concept of building blocks. These tools help the students to focus more on the logic and less on syntax making it easy for beginners. It makes complex programming easy to understand and code. It lets the students to get the taste of programming, both to expand their understanding of the world around them and to motivate them to learn text-based languages later. It helps them to pick up the programming languages quickly, since they are already familiar with the basic concepts.
Learning a programming vocabulary is hard. Blocks simplify this problem – as picking a block from a palette is easier compared to remembering a word. Code is hard to use as it presents a high cognitive load for new programmers. Blocks reduce the cognitive load by breaking the code into a smaller number of meaningful elements. Block-based programming is a wonderful way to expose the kids to the fun aspects of programming (creativity and design) without requiring them to deal with the less fun aspects such as syntax and obscure errors. This way, it saves a lot of time too – for both learning and using the tools.
Below images clearly depict how an interesting piece of quote, can be made to look boring using the regular coding interface and how a complicated piece of code, can be made to look simple and interesting using Block based programming tool.
On that note, I would also like to share an interesting conversation I once had with one of my students:
Student: Ma’am, what language are we using to do the coding?
AFTER A COUPLE OF DAYS
It clearly shows that the way the block programming tools have been designed, it keeps the young kids more interested in programming.
Block-based programming gives the young kids a chance to explore, learn, make mistakes, identify problems and create solutions. It teaches one how to divide a huge problem into small bits and make it convenient to deal with. It emphasises on the approach to solve a problem, at the same time teaching them that there could be more than one way to solve a single problem – which indeed applies in life too.
Block based programming is wonderful for kids as it improves their confidence and leaves them with the satisfaction of creating something. With Block-based programming, students are able to solve real life problems. They learn block coding, they observe their surroundings, they identify the existing problems, they divide the problem into different blocks, and then code to solve. Some of the most popular and efficient software are developed using the same methodology.
Block based programming is indeed the best way to form a connection between the students and the world of coding.
OBSERVE, IDENTIFY PROBLEM, DIVIDE INTO BLOCKS AND CODE TO SOLVE!!!