Introducing Children to Coding

Part 3: Why Should I Do It?

A graphic of a man standing at the top of four stairs holding a flexing pose. He is in front of a large web page that contains some basic formatting.

In my last two blogs, I discussed internet security and content ownership. I also covered some of the roles they play in our lives. Let’s take a step back from all the technical jargon for a post to look at some of the philosophical sides of things.

I never had dreams of writing code when I grew up, but instead, life seemed to push me in that direction. After years of trying to figure out what I wanted, I applied for game design, only to find out I’d have to wait a few more years for a position in the program. Fortunately, they offered me the opportunity to study web design instead, and in hindsight, I’m glad it didn’t go any other way.

Learning to write code has taught me many things, and it changed how I see the world. Coding reignited my love for problem solving and mathematics. It awoke the teacher inside of me. It provided me a method to be creative in ways I never could do by hand. And it also blessed me with many other gifts that are harder to put into words. These are just some of the reasons why we coders believe it’s beneficial for everyone to learn a little bit of programming.

A graphic of a man sitting down and reading a book with the Pi symbol.

Problem Solving & Math

I remember a substitute teacher in Grade 4 who presented us with daily “brain teasers” and other forms of combining learning with games. Even math was a competition, and we would race to see who could complete our sheets the fastest. Nothing was at stake but a piece of candy and maybe bragging rights, yet I consider those games a significant factor in my ability to process numbers quickly. I view this type of learning as very beneficial to someone like me.

I also mentioned the brain teasers, something I wasn’t quite as naturally gifted with as math. It required critical thinking to crack the code behind the problems, and this was before you could simply Google the answer. I was successful far less often, yet I enjoyed them a lot more. When that substitute teacher left, I remember hoping I’d have another teacher like them one day.

Teaching

Fortunately, I did encounter a few more teachers that left an impact on me. Yet, it wasn’t until my last year of high school that I even considered if I would enjoy teaching, and even then, I quickly shelved the idea. Law or Physics had my attention at the time, and I decided I wanted to “get out into the field” first. It wasn’t until I went to post-secondary and learned to code that I would find out I enjoyed teaching.

When you’re coding something, you’re essentially teaching a computer how to execute a task. Let’s consider tying some shoes. It seems like it would be simple to tell a computer how to tie shoes because it’s easy and we’ve done it so many times. But the computer hasn’t, nor does it know what laces are, or a knot, or even a shoe. You’ll need to break the task down into the most basic steps and then put those together in the most efficient way possible that a computer could understand.

This process helped me view the same task from many different angles. Through trial and error, I eventually grew better at understanding what I was trying to accomplish and how to arrive at that goal. I also noticed I was better at explaining myself to others and finding relevant examples from their interests to get the point across. For a gamer, I would use video game references. For an athlete, I’d use a sports analysis. The message would be the same, just the steps to get there would slightly differ. Suddenly I wanted to learn how everything worked, so I could have some reference to help others understand.

Creativity

Growing up, I would have never deemed myself to be that creative. Sure my imagination ran free, but I could never translate it to anything that made me proud. I loved the arts, but I just never considered they could be for me. That all changed when I learned to break it down into more consumable pieces. You’d be amazed at what you can draw using only triangles and circles, especially considering you can place them with the click of a mouse.

Photoshop class led me to take Colour Theory, and in that class, we went to the art gallery to view some historical paintings. Examining the works through a trained lens was an eye-opening experience and something I’ve continued with ever since. It also led me to take a Photography class. I knew I couldn’t paint like those artists, but perhaps I could use photography to tell a story.

The combination of these three classes showed me an entirely different world. I noticed the shapes of the things around me and how or why they’re selected or work. Colour suddenly had much more meaning, and different shades stood out more than before. Textures, contrast, shadows, and all sorts of other things combined to create stories through the scenes in front of me. Greatest of all, my imagination felt more clear and vivid.

Other

There are also plenty of benefits that are harder to put into words. Understanding how the underlying processes work in technology allows you to pick up something new and quickly grow proficient with it. As the world continues to adopt new digital technologies, the challenge will remain to learn how to use them. More time spent in the learning phase will take away from applying the knowledge in practice. This learning is inevitable in many cases. Why not try to get ahead of the curve instead of waiting until the last possible moment.

A graphic of a man sitting on top of a bubble with an "incoming chat" icon. He is surrounded by two other bubbles that contain "text block" icons.

Final Thoughts

Coding was never something I intended to pursue, yet it opened more doors than I could have imagined. I previously mentioned that I decided to study game design before taking my web design program. Primarily, this was due to my passion for gaming, which has remained strong until this day. Fortunately, I can combine both. Rather than designing the games, I’ve decided to focus on compiling projects that make it easier for others to approach gaming. That’s the beauty of learning to code: it feels like anything is possible if you put your mind to it. If you could make anything, what would you create?

Links

Apps for Learning to Code

Websites for Learning to Code

Apps to Help Organize Your Life

Introducing Children to Coding

Part 3: Why Should I Do It?

In my last two blogs, I discussed internet security and content ownership. I also covered some of the roles they play in our lives. Let’s take a step back from all the technical jargon for a post to look at some of the philosophical sides of things.

I never had dreams of writing code when I grew up, but instead, life seemed to push me in that direction. After years of trying to figure out what I wanted, I applied for game design, only to find out I’d have to wait a few more years for a position in the program. Fortunately, they offered me the opportunity to study web design instead, and in hindsight, I’m glad it didn’t go any other way.

Learning to write code has taught me many things, and it changed how I see the world. Coding reignited my love for problem solving and mathematics. It awoke the teacher inside of me. It provided me a method to be creative in ways I never could do by hand. And it also blessed me with many other gifts that are harder to put into words. These are just some of the reasons why we coders believe it’s beneficial for everyone to learn a little bit of programming.

A graphic of a man standing at the top of four stairs holding a flexing pose. He is in front of a large web page that contains some basic formatting.
A graphic of a man sitting down and reading a book with the Pi symbol.

Problem Solving & Math

I remember a substitute teacher in Grade 4 who presented us with daily “brain teasers” and other forms of combining learning with games. Even math was a competition, and we would race to see who could complete our sheets the fastest. Nothing was at stake but a piece of candy and maybe bragging rights, yet I consider those games a significant factor in my ability to process numbers quickly. I view this type of learning as very beneficial to someone like me.

I also mentioned the brain teasers, something I wasn’t quite as naturally gifted with as math. It required critical thinking to crack the code behind the problems, and this was before you could simply Google the answer. I was successful far less often, yet I enjoyed them a lot more. When that substitute teacher left, I remember hoping I’d have another teacher like them one day.

Teaching

Fortunately, I did encounter a few more teachers that left an impact on me. Yet, it wasn’t until my last year of high school that I even considered if I would enjoy teaching, and even then, I quickly shelved the idea. Law or Physics had my attention at the time, and I decided I wanted to “get out into the field” first. It wasn’t until I went to post-secondary and learned to code that I would find out I enjoyed teaching.

When you’re coding something, you’re essentially teaching a computer how to execute a task. Let’s consider tying some shoes. It seems like it would be simple to tell a computer how to tie shoes because it’s easy and we’ve done it so many times. But the computer hasn’t, nor does it know what laces are, or a knot, or even a shoe. You’ll need to break the task down into the most basic steps and then put those together in the most efficient way possible that a computer could understand.

This process helped me view the same task from many different angles. Through trial and error, I eventually grew better at understanding what I was trying to accomplish and how to arrive at that goal. I also noticed I was better at explaining myself to others and finding relevant examples from their interests to get the point across. For a gamer, I would use video game references. For an athlete, I’d use a sports analysis. The message would be the same, just the steps to get there would slightly differ. Suddenly I wanted to learn how everything worked, so I could have some reference to help others understand.

Creativity

Growing up, I would have never deemed myself to be that creative. Sure my imagination ran free, but I could never translate it to anything that made me proud. I loved the arts, but I just never considered they could be for me. That all changed when I learned to break it down into more consumable pieces. You’d be amazed at what you can draw using only triangles and circles, especially considering you can place them with the click of a mouse.

Photoshop class led me to take Colour Theory, and in that class, we went to the art gallery to view some historical paintings. Examining the works through a trained lens was an eye-opening experience and something I’ve continued with ever since. It also led me to take a Photography class. I knew I couldn’t paint like those artists, but perhaps I could use photography to tell a story.

The combination of these three classes showed me an entirely different world. I noticed the shapes of the things around me and how or why they’re selected or work. Colour suddenly had much more meaning, and different shades stood out more than before. Textures, contrast, shadows, and all sorts of other things combined to create stories through the scenes in front of me. Greatest of all, my imagination felt more clear and vivid.

Other

There are also plenty of benefits that are harder to put into words. Understanding how the underlying processes work in technology allows you to pick up something new and quickly grow proficient with it. As the world continues to adopt new digital technologies, the challenge will remain to learn how to use them. More time spent in the learning phase will take away from applying the knowledge in practice. This learning is inevitable in many cases. Why not try to get ahead of the curve instead of waiting until the last possible moment.

A graphic of a man sitting on top of a bubble with an "incoming chat" icon. He is surrounded by two other bubbles that contain "text block" icons.

Final Thoughts

Coding was never something I intended to pursue, yet it opened more doors than I could have imagined. I previously mentioned that I decided to study game design before taking my web design program. Primarily, this was due to my passion for gaming, which has remained strong until this day. Fortunately, I can combine both. Rather than designing the games, I’ve decided to focus on compiling projects that make it easier for others to approach gaming. That’s the beauty of learning to code: it feels like anything is possible if you put your mind to it. If you could make anything, what would you create?

Links

Apps for Learning to Code

Websites for Learning to Code

Apps to Help Organize Your Life