What are Microcomputers and Why Kids Should Learn About Them?

A microcomputer sounds like some fancy technological miniature, but it’s exactly as the name implies – a small scale computer. Many modern notebook laptops, such as the Chromebook, fall into this category. They run on a microprocessor and use a single circuit board to perform.

With technology taking up so much of the modern world, it’s become apparent that our children need to learn how to properly use these devices. As our future generation of teachers, doctors, and leaders, having a basic understanding of computers and how they work is essential.

One of the ways schools and extracurricular science programs have been incorporating computer learning children’s curriculum is through microcomputers. Whether set up in classrooms, learning centers, or day camps – microcomputers make an impact on tech learning.

If you’re wondering what makes microcomputers so important, and whether your child should learn to use them, you’re not alone. At iCode, we get lots of questions regarding the use of technology education. Here’s what you, as a parent or educator, need to know.

Preparation for the Future

Technology has taken a front seat in our lives and it isn’t slowing down anytime soon. From your self-cleaning oven to Siri on your iPhone, there’s technology all around us. One of the things we believe strongly at iCode is, it’s not only important to know how to use technology but to understand how it works. We encourage children to ask questions and understand what’s going on inside a computer, not only outside a computer. Working with microcomputers gives children the basics to understand a variety of other devices. This sets them up for success in life, whether they become a veterinarian or an engineer.

Recently, an educational project in Denmark, provided 65,000 microcomputers to children aged 10-11. The aim of the project was to teach the children a new language. The language of technology. Each microcomputer had the ability to run just like your laptop might at home. Using code, the children were tasked with the job of getting the microcomputers to function. Throughout the assignment, children would learn code, the internal components of a microcomputer, and the importance of technology in everyday life.

Self-Reliance and Self-Esteem

It’s well-documented that children have an easier time adopting a new language than adults do. Learning code, procedural programming and circuit board development are no harder than learning music or French. Therefore, it’s not an unrealistic goal to set for a child. Setting learning and outcome goals for children helps them build real-life skills. Not only for positions in technology-based jobs, but also for life outside the classroom and workspace.

Working with microcomputers explores the multifaceted world of science and technology. As your child develops the skills necessary to create code, modify programs, and even build a circuit board from the bottom up, he or she also learns the skills necessary to feel confident in their work and themselves. Self-reliance and self-esteem are two very special outcomes of the STEAM programs, we at iCode use to increase the role of science, technology, engineering, art and math into the lives of children. We see the confidence these programs build, the smiles on the faces of students as they achieve the desired outcome, and the dawning of understanding that they CAN do it.

Independent Thinking with Microcomputers

There are many areas of school and extracurriculars which improve social skills and teamwork. While working with microcomputers can foster relationships in STEAM programs, the real skillset your child will gain from this experience is independence and independent thinking. With a basic understanding of code and computer components, your child can put their knowledge to work independently and create or fix something without assistance from others. This is a massive accomplishment in the world of a child.

Independent thinking is a life skill that we use every day. Not only at work or in school, but in regular everyday activities like grocery shopping, banking, and even choosing which path to take on a bike ride.

Learn More About Microcomputers

Programs with microcomputers are becoming more abundant. If you’re curious about how these programs work and what they teach, we encourage you to visit us online. Through a variety of afterschool programs, summer camps, and day courses, iCode school works with children to deliver the many benefits of a STEAM education. We’re confident in what these programs offer children and their future aspirations. Understanding how things work is the first step to overcoming related fears and anxieties. Contact us today for more information.

Is Your Child Interested in Developing Games? Here is What They’ll Need to Learn

Playing video games is no longer a mere hobby, it’s flourished into a profession. In gaming competitions, conferences, and conventions, people of all ages celebrate their accomplishments both in play and design.

With so much revolving around these digital pieces of art and entertainment, it’s no surprise that the field of video game development is booming. At iCodeschool, we offer a wide assortment of computer-inspired programs and courses, including those necessary for game development. Here we’ll take a closer look at the skills necessary to break into the game design industry, and how your child can achieve their developer dreams.

Codes and Programming Languages

If you’ve ever played a high-quality game, you’ve noticed the amount of detail involved. It’s more than just the graphics. It’s the way graphics seamlessly integrate, the way choices unfold during game play, and the transition between scenes within that game. When you put it all together, it’s an intricate puzzle of codes and programming languages.

That’s right, we said languages. Just as you’re reading this update in English, a computer game is read in its most basic form as a programming language. There are many programming languages to learn, including:

  • Java
  • C++
  • HTML
  • BASIC
  • C
  • CSS
  • COBOL
  • Ada
  • FORTRAN
  • Pascal

At iCodeschool, our STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math) programs include some of the more popular languages, such as HTML, CSS, and Java.

Game Developer Education

To work in the video game development field, companies require candidates to hold a university degree. Useful degrees include computer sciences, mathematics, computer information systems, and software engineering.

While it’s possible to teach yourself the programming required to develop a game, most video game companies prefer applicants with a technical education. Fortunately, your child can start learning early with extracurricular STEAM activities at school, summer camp, after school programs, and more.

Gaming education isn’t just about computer programming. There’s a lot of math involved in game design, especially with the rise of 3D technology. Everything from basic geometry used to deduce angles and distance to complex equations will arise. Bulking up on math, science, computer, and engineering courses will improve knowledge and skills for a future career in this industry.

This means as your child enters high school, enrolling them in advanced math courses like pre-calculus and calculus will bring them a step closer to the ultimate goal of game development.

Roles of a Video Game Developer

For gaming enthusiasts, the dream of developing video games as a career is a common one. So much goes into the design and creation of these products. Storylines, character personalities, and the mechanics of the player/character relationship must all be thoroughly planned. In this sense, video game design is more than just code, it’s art, drama, literature and technology wrapped up into one great product.

Working as a video game developer, your child could choose to work in any number of departments, such as:

  • Production
  • Design
  • Engineering
  • Graphics
  • Coding
  • Quality Control

There are also different platforms where games are played, and each platform has different design requirements. For example, your child may choose to design apps for iPhone or Android devices. This requires a separate form of coding and compilation than games designed for larger consoles like the xBox or PlayStation.

When deciding on a career in game development, it’s a good idea to invest some time in each of the departments and game styles mentioned above. In fact, many programming courses start game design with a basic mobile app before moving onto more complex design and application.

Learning Game Development with iCode

With so much to learn, it helps to provide a strong foundation for your young learner before they commit to a gaming education. Enrolling your child in an extracurricular STEAM program encourages them to be more active in science, technology, engineering, art, and math. At iCode, we offer a diverse selection of technology-based courses.

Each of these courses is paced for the level of the learner. We call these paces, “belts.” For example, a student beginning our White Belt Course, begins programming with Scratch, while our Yellow Belt Students begin HTML programming, and our orange belts learn HTML5 and CSS. As students progress, they also take courses on 2D and 3D Game Development and get the opportunity to design worlds within their favorite games like Minecraft and Roblox.

The world of video games, like all technology-based industries, is constantly evolving. Beginning to hone these skills young gives your child a better understanding of what’s to come, and an easier time transitioning into each new programming language. The added benefits of this journey is that students will develop the problem-solving and creative thinking skills that will help them throughout their academic life and in a future career.

Value of After-School Programs

After-school programs were introduced in the early 1900s as a form of extended childcare. Today, these programs have evolved into organized applications of play, academics, and hobbies. While the original benefit of childcare is still implied, many programs offer far more than babysitting. 

When you enroll your child in an after-school program, you provide opportunities for personal, educational, and social growth. Throughout this article, we’ll explore more closely the benefits of these programs and how they might help your young learner.

Encourage Educational and Social Skills

According to a New York University study, after-school programs successfully improve educational and social skills. The study found that a positive after-school experience directly impacted academic scores of the 256 youth being observed.

Children diagnosed with social and behavioral issues also experienced a boost in self-esteem, which was reflected in future interactions and academics. 

Foster Positive Classroom Behavior

All children need to blow off steam from time to time, but some struggle to find appropriate outlets. After school programs encourage students to find their passion. This inspires improved behavior and generates more focus on the prospect of a successful future.

Youth.gov, a government resource, mentions the potential of after-school programs to encourage a positive association with classroom learning. It helps children enjoy future learning and better manage emotions and behaviors in the classroom.

Incite a Greater Incentive to Finish School

As much as parents and teachers express the importance of education, some youth still choose to leave school early. Encouraging children to get involved with their peers offers a reason to continue. The same youth.gov resource shows a decrease in dropouts among students who participate in after-school programs. This suggests that students who take part in extracurricular activities are more likely to stay in school.

Promote Better Attendance

Whether it’s a sick day or the beach beckoning during homeroom, missing class can cause problems with future academic endeavors. Having fun with peers and interacting over a shared interest makes school more appealing. An impact report on after-school learning centers in New Jersey showed improved attendance, work ethic, and homework completion for students in after-school programs.

Being present during a lesson ensures young learners have the tools necessary to succeed. Missing classes encumbers this goal.

Improve Literacy

While there’s been an increase in early literacy campaigns across America, there are many students who still struggle with reading. A report submitted to the Institute of Education Sciences in Washington, D.C. saw students flourish in reading when participating in after-school programs. The type of program wasn’t important, as both academic and leisure-based after-school programs resulted in the same academic improvement. That makes after-school programs an attractive option for proactive literacy support.

iCode School and STEAM-based Programs

After school programs come in many shapes and sizes, from academic and sport-based to free-play programs. One thing they share is peer interaction and common interest. At iCode School, our after-school program combines these components with a specially designed computer science curriculum.

We use project-based learning to encourage young scholars to explore computer science in a fun and interactive way. With eight levels, we tailor each program to meet your child where they are, from our foundation belt, where students learn basic computer skills and algorithm encryption, to our black belt, where students learn advanced data structures and Java.

The iCode School after-school programs use a STEAM approach, combining science, technology, engineering, art, and math. Recent studies encourage the use of STEAM learning in classrooms, summer camps, and after-school programs. A 2014 dissertation from TAMUCC in Texas found project-based STEAM learning supported substantial growth in math, literacy, and science among students.

The Future of After-School, and What It Means for Your Child

All parents want to see their children succeed. After-school programs open doors to skills students will use for years to come. While much of the focus resides in academics, all after-school programs offer advantages. These include:

  • Novel experiences
  • Social engagement
  • Learning new skills
  • Building self-confidence
  • Developing interests

As an additional benefit, after-school programs offer an economical option to parents looking for after-school care. These social settings, often with an academic basis, provide an appealing alternative to standard childcare.

Like all extracurricular activities, it might take some research to find the right program for your child. At least you know they’ll have plenty of fun along the way!

Why Future Technology Is the Answer to Saving Remote Communities

As technology continues to evolve, it tends to end up more centralized in more urban areas, reaching more rural and isolated communities (farming, island or mountainous communities) last.

As technology gets more advanced and more people move from rural areas to the big city for work, a tech gap forms between the rural folk and the city folk.

Not only is it leading to further isolation, but without more tech-savvy people, rural communities are getting left in the dust with even fewer opportunities to learn and adapt.

Does future technology have what remote communities need to escape poverty?  Let’s find out.

Empowering The Next Generation

As time marches on, some cultures and their history are prone to being forgotten.

Eventually, members of isolated communities of unique cultures end up in poverty and are forced to go to more popular places to assimilate, learn the language and find work. However, with advancement in technology, comes new opportunities for the young.

As a community and culture, we can give the next generation the tools they need to succeed financially and carry on their own traditions.

Thankfully, this can be as easy as giving them a laptop and internet access. With all of the various resources available to them for free, the children of today can learn to be professional programmers from just about anywhere in the world, becoming the virtual computer science liaison of tomorrow.

In the future, countries with the ability to export technology – either through scholars at universities abroad or new software – can be the key to bringing wealth to remote communities. And, most importantly, computer science could very well be a universal language.

A.I. Empowered Farming

Photo: CNH Industrial

Farming is expensive. Not only is it expensive, but it’s labor-intensive and with a high risk.

An alarming number of farmers are around the age of 58 which is a common age for people to look towards (or be forced towards) retirement.

Plus, younger people are often being scared away from the profession as a failing industry, and those who aren’t might still lack interest or fail when they try to break in.

What if there was a way to combine the need and love for working the land with a generation of technically gifted youths?

Although pricey, automated farming might just be the way. With proper financial backing and some skilled young computer scientists and engineers, farming could become easier for young farmers and old farmers alike.

Older farmers, with proper coaching, could work their entire field with the push of a button instead of manually driving a tractor for hours while young college grads can combine their love for their country with their tech skills and degrees by applying their knowledge to A.I. farming.

Interconnecting Communities Via Devices Empowered By Internet of Things

Many things rely on computers these days. As a result, a lot of things send off a signal jam-packed with information in the form of invisible 0s and 1s through the air and to various other things. This is the Internet of Things.

Many things, from computers to cars and even the ships that come and go at Lochmaddy’s port, often have tiny computers in them and a signal being sent to and from a cloud.

This “cloud” is where all the information is stored and shared with other tiny computers. For example, a weather forecaster may send information up to a cloud where it will then be forwarded to tiny computers in ships, websites and cars. Now all of these other platforms will have answers to things like where the wind is coming from and what the weather is like.

This kind of connection can allow more rural communities to access additional technology and resources that will put them in touch with other parts of the world, including bigger cities that may be ahead of them in this regard.

In Summary

Technology and the world are both evolving, but the addition of new things doesn’t mean we should do away with old and important traditions and ways of life.

Like most things that have been around for thousands of years, everyone, even cultures, must adapt. What other benefits do you see technology bringing to YOUR culture’s survival?

Article Credit: Katherine Lutz, a student of Florida State University

The Importance of Summer Camps

More than just fun, but an experience.

Summer camps are more than just a fun way to spend time during your break. They’re an opportunity to learn, grow, and explore oneself. Approximately 11 million children attend summer camp in the United States every year. With a seemingly unlimited supply of themes to choose from, it’s impossible not to find something your child is interested in. From sports camps to art camps to technology summer camps, no child is left out.

One camp style that’s making waves in the U.S. is the STEAM camp. An education-style camp, STEAM stands for science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics. While tech camps have been around since 1977, they’re very different from modern STEAM camps. These programs focus on technology and science in new and exciting ways. From creating your own online game to building your own robot, campers can choose from a multitude of interesting activities.

Your child is sure to enjoy time spent at summer camp, but what are they getting out of the experience? Before spending all that money, it’s nice to know there’s more than s’mores and swimming involved. Throughout this article, we’ll explore the importance of summer camps and how your child can benefit from attending a STEAM camp this year.

Summer Camps Introduce New Experiences and Interests

A major incentive for any parent considering summer camp is the potential for skill-building and interest diversification. That is especially true of camps that deal in real life skills. A study published in the Journal of Technology Studies focused on the impact of STEAM summer camps for girls. The paper discussed a general disinterest in engineering, math, and other science programs in ninth- and tenth-grade girls. Researchers thought this might be due to misperceptions and a lack of understanding. Following a week-long STEAM camp experience, girls came out with a broader understanding of physics and a greater interest in careers that focus on the sciences.

The digital world is constantly growing, and having skills in computer technology is a huge asset in any industry. Summer camp opens the door to mastering skills that could be used in school and later at work.

Summer Camps Provide Personal Improvement and Socialization

Your child doesn’t need to attend a public-speaking summer camp to gain self-confidence. Any summer camp can instill this trait by exposing kids to situations where they must speak up, contribute, and work together.

According to the Journal of Family Issues, children who attend one week of summer camp show a drastic improvement in social relationships and self-esteem. The authors of the article gathered information from 2,300 parents to learn more about pre and post summer camp behaviors. Parents felt there were many new positive behaviors, which appeared immediately after camp and some that surfaced up to six months later, such as leadership skills.

Summer Camps Inspire Creativity

There’s an abundance of creativity to be had in summer camp. In 2017, a study showed that STEAM camps encouraging children to model with digital design and 3D printers promote creativity and problem-solving. They also improve spatial reasoning skills.

Creativity is an important trait in any discipline or industry, whether it’s veterinarians designing prosthetics for three-legged pets, dentists implementing new forms of teeth alignment, or video game designers writing scripts for their latest game. Developing these skills early will help your child succeed now and later in life.

Summer Camps Promote Independence

We don’t want our kids to grow up too fast, but when they do grow up, we want them to be successful. Summer camps promote independence in a safe and supportive environment. Children who come to summer camps might arrive feeling shy and unsure. After a week of teamwork, individual projects, and flourishing under the guidance of a counselor, children leave feeling good about themselves and what they can do.

These skills carry forward into schoolwork, life experiences, and eventually, the workforce. The Journal of Youth Development found that it’s not the theme of the camp that matters; instead, the camp provides a structured program, defined mission, skill-building, and chances for accountability and positive reinforcement.

The Relevance of Summer Camp in Young Lives

Summer camp is a fleeting annual experience with steadfast positive results. Campers dive head first into lasting friendships, discover new interests, learn what they can do, and feel good about themselves.

In an age where so many children are unsure of what they want to do when they grow up, summer camp offers a glimpse into a variety of potential skills and opportunities. Try a few different summer camps every year to find a favorite theme and skill set.

How to Improve Your Child’s Independent Thinking Skills

What is Independent Thinking and Why Does It Matter?

Independent thinking is the desire to assess on your own whether information is true or reasonable. Independent thinkers use their own lens to filter information, rather than accepting it as is. Many people believe what they are taught without question, but independent thinkers use observations and experiences to determine if something makes sense.

Children must develop the desire and ability to think on their own. It’s the key to acquiring critical problem-solving skills. Independent thinkers are more discerning about things they see and hear. Over time, they learn to question assumptions and build the confidence to defend their own viewpoint. They also feel secure saying, “I don’t know.”

Children with independent thinking skills can lead a group to better ways of doing things. They strengthen teams by sharing new ideas and asking questions. In order to do this, especially in childhood, self-esteem is a critical factor. Children must have confidence in their thoughts and opinions in order to voice them in a group.

Independent thinking is critical in the digital world, where children are inundated with information. It’s also essential to becoming an entrepreneur, which requires making independent decisions, trusting in your own thoughts, and finding new ways to solve problems.

Helping Your Child Develop Independent Thinking Skills

Guiding your child toward independent thought is a process that takes time, effort, and patience. The following techniques can help:

Reading

Reading a wide variety of materials exposes kids to a range of viewpoints that they wouldn’t otherwise encounter. They are challenged to explore their own outlook and beliefs when they understand that other people experience life differently.

Interacting with New and Different People

Talking and playing with kids of different ages, cultural, and ethnic backgrounds, genders, and socioeconomic circumstances can open a child’s mind to different worldviews and opinions. They are also likely to find lots of common ground. That can help kids be more open in their views and their approach to problems, and it allows them to grow as individuals.

Traveling

Experiencing life in different parts of the country and other parts of the world can open children’s minds to different cultures and experiences, allowing them to understand that there are many ways to think, act, and live.  

Pretending and Independent Play

Allowing a child to play alone supports imaginative play and leaves room for creativity and trying different approaches. Encourage your child to pretend to be different people, animals, or other creatures.

Asking Kids Questions

Challenging children with difficult questions will inspire them to stretch the boundaries of their thinking. Ask questions that require them to think creatively rather than rely on known facts. That encourages thinking on their own about difficult concepts and being inquisitive about why things happen.

Encouraging Kids to Ask Questions

Kids are curious about the world, and they want to know how things work. Encourage them to ask questions and always make time to answer them properly, no matter how large or small the question. Acknowledging their curiosity and giving a thoughtful answer inspires them to continue seeking knowledge.

Allowing Opposing Views

Allow your kids to disagree and let them explain their reasoning, as long as they remain respectful. Kids should be allowed to make up their own minds about topics that are important to them. Encourage healthy debate at the dinner table.

Giving Freedom to Make Mistakes

Kids learn through trial and error, but sometimes, they feel afraid to make a mistake or to fail. “Spoon-feeding” and protecting them from making mistakes are not helpful in developing independent thinking skills. Allow room for failure and encourage them to try again until they figure it out.

Promoting Problem-Solving

Allow children to solve problems independently. Whether it’s schoolwork, a challenging puzzle, or a disagreement with a friend. Let your child brainstorm, experiment, and find a solution independently.

Coding to Improve Independent Thinking Skills

Learning to code challenges children to try out many of these techniques. Kids learn to approach problems with an open mind and find creative solutions through experimentation and multiple attempts. They learn to handle uncertainty, admitting when they don’t know the answer but trying different solutions until one works. They assess information and determine for themselves how to proceed.

Troubleshooting, perseverance, and finding creative solutions all lead to stronger independent thinking skills. A person with these skills grows into someone who is better equipped for school, the digital world, and the modern workforce. If you’re ready to help your child open up his or her mind by learning to code, we’d love to hear from you!

5 Reasons to Work on Your Child’s Fine Motor Skills

Fine Motor Skills: An Essential Part of Child Development

When we talk about fine motor skills, we’re referring to the use of small, precise movements of the muscles in the hands, fingers, wrists, and forearms to manipulate objects and use tools and equipment. These movements enable us to carry out an endless number of daily tasks, from buttoning clothing to using utensils and playing with toys to writing with a pencil.

So many activities require good fine motor skills, and it’s important that children develop these skills on the right timeline. Fine motor skills begin to develop in infancy and strengthen throughout childhood, and they’re an essential component of proper development. Children need to acquire strength and dexterity in their hands, but it takes many years for their skills to mature to an adult level. As kids grow and hone their skills, they are able to carry out a wide variety of tasks with greater ease.

As with many things, some children develop fine motor skills more easily than others. Providing an environment that fosters development is important, as is offering many opportunities for practice. Encouraging fine motor skill development has some surprising benefits that reach far beyond accomplishing daily tasks with greater ease and proficiency.

5 Unexpected Benefits of Working on Fine Motor Skills

1. Better Hand-Eye Coordination

Good hand-eye coordination means that a child is able to complete activities requiring simultaneous use of the eyes and hands. As fine motor skills improve, so does the brain’s ability to use the fingers purposefully in coordination with information received through the eyes. This is a complex cognitive ability that’s essential to normal child development and success in school. It’s also what enables us to perform daily activities throughout our lives, from putting on shoes to driving a vehicle.

2. Better Handwriting and Drawing Skills


Improving fine motor skills leads to greater control when using implements like pencils, crayons, paint brushes, and scissors. That results in more consistent, legible handwriting and superior art and drawing skills. As strength, flexibility, and dexterity of the hands increase, children experience fewer barriers to school work and creative pursuits.

3. Greater Independence


Children with well-developed fine motor skills are able to handle a greater number of daily tasks on their own. Being able to bathe or shower, wash their hands, brush their teeth, get dressed, and comb their hair independently is achieved in part through fine manipulation of the fingers, hands, wrists, and arms. The more a child’s fine motor skills improve, the more tasks he or she will be able to accomplish without assistance.

4. Improved Self-Esteem


An increase in independence gives children a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment. As their fine motor skills progress, their self-esteem often increases. Recognizing their own ability to handle their personal care, to write and draw with proficiency, and to complete other daily tasks leads to greater confidence and pride in their own capabilities.

5. Higher Mathematics Achievement

Fine motor skills are the underpinning of many other aspects of child development. Research has linked fine motor skill development to higher achievement in mathematics. In multiple studies, researchers have concluded that better fine motor skills in young children predicted higher success rates in mathematics over time. Even when accounting for non-verbal IQ scores, better fine motor skills consistently predict greater math ability. If you wish to see long-term improvement in your child’s competence in math, working on fine motor skills may have a positive effect.

Coding Develops Fine Motor Skills

Learning to code is an ideal way for children to improve their fine motor skills while also gaining technical expertise, cognitive flexibility, and critical, real-world skills. iCode’s programs for children teach foundational programming skills to enable children to build websites, apps, and software and to work with robotics. Children also learn organizational and problem-solving skills and the ability to focus on a task and notice details. Fine motor skills are a part of that learning, as children manipulate the physical components of robotics kits, electronics, and controllers. Using a computer keyboard also requires highly coordinated finger and hand movements, and studies have demonstrated that typing can lead to improvements in the fine motor skills of children.

If you’re ready to get your child started on a journey to learning technical, cognitive, problem-solving, and fine-motor skills, find an iCode school near you. We’re excited to help your child become a better thinker, problem-solver, and innovator! Summer camps are a great way to work on your child’s fine motor skills. Sign up for a summer camp today!

Teaching your Kids to Code – Best Resources

There was a time when coding was considered a hobby for computer nerds and science geeks. The technicalities involved in the process weren’t for everyone, so only the elite programmers had the capability to code. Times have changed now, and coding is considered an essential ability. It has even become a part of curriculums in schools across the country. Even primary school kids are being taught the skills to help them deal with the rise of computer science in the coming future.

The foundation programs of coding for kids start with the basics and provide kids with everything they need to know about coding. The beginner’s program allows kids to learn computational thinking and provides them with the skills they need for problem solving. Now that the world is becoming increasingly reliant on technology, there’s a dire need for people who can code. A bright future awaits them and that’s the reason most parents are investing in their kids’ future. If you are a parent who wants the best for their kids, you would want to get them started on coding soon. With the right professional programming classes for kids, your children can learn the necessary skills that will help them succeed in a world that’s dependent on technology.

You don’t have to worry about a thing. Coding for kids isn’t a tedious program. Some people consider coding to be a dry and boring subject, but with the right people and an experienced trainer, coding can be fun and exciting too. The thrill of creating something new and learning a different language is enough to grab the attention of kids. They get something new to do and learn something that is now considered cool. The playful modules of coding make it an enjoyable experience for them, allowing them to learn something new. Furthermore, they get a sense of accomplishment from creating new things and learning a language that most people find too difficult to learn.

The foundation modules of programming classes for kids help kids learn how to program and everything that goes in the process of programming. Kids need something interactive and fun to get them interested. That’s the reason it’s important to use games, kids and apps to make the process more engaging.

If you want to teach your kid yourself, you need to take care. Portraying things the right way is really important if you want your child to grasp the basics of the concept. Teaching this creative activity requires patience and quite a bit of technical knowledge. Or maybe not! 

With the help of some tips on teaching coding for kids, you can do a great job, even if you have no programming background yourself. So read on and find out how you can help your child make the best of this learning opportunity.

 

Age Appropriate Coding Application

There are a number of coding apps in the market that can help with programming classes for kids. However, the most important thing is choosing an option that is appropriate for the age, interest and skill level of your kid. For example, Scratch is a great option for younger kids, especially the ones who aren’t proficient in typing. As your kid gets better at coding and their skill level increases, you can help them move onto another programming software that is more compatible with their learning goals. Where young kids get to learn much from Scratch and Alice, teens can reap the benefits of Python. It can help teenagers produce readable codes and gain expertise in the field of coding. If your child has already mastered Scratch, then Python should be the next step for them.     

 

Show Source Codes

Some parents avoid showing their kids the source code and just discuss the concept with them. As your child progresses and becomes proficient at block-programming applications, a time will come when they’d need to learn about variables, functions and loops. By helping them learn how to write a code and all that it entails, you’d be easing away their fear of actually coding. If you are proficient in the subject yourself, write a code and let them help you out. Explain the process so that when it’s their turn to write, they can do the job well on their own.   

Make it Exciting

Programming is a tiresome process and sometimes too boring for kids. If your child is interested in learning these skills, it’ll require you to take on a different approach. Get your kid started on programming video games, which are the best way to make the whole process more engaging for your kids. With the help of coding concepts from simple games, you can help your kid make a game of their own.

Start off with something simple so that once finished, it’ll give your child a sense of accomplishment. Your kid might want to develop something quite similar to their favorite game, but be warned that it can be quite hard to achieve this goal, especially during the early stages of their programming classes. Most of these games have teams assigned for each feature— hence their high quality. Simple games like Tetris and Tic-tac-toe are good projects to start with. They can help your child gain the expertise they need without overcomplicating things.   

Provide Hands-on Practice

Your child needs all the help they can get to grasp the concepts of coding and that’s what you are there for. But without some hands-on experience, your child won’t be able to go far. If you take control of the mouse and keyboard at all times, your kid won’t be able to learn just by watching you do all the work. Let them take the wheel and just be a spectator. You can guide them, but do resist the urge to take control. Tell them what to type and let them make mistakes. Just direct them where to go and what to do. Watch them make mistakes and achieve their goals, but don’t interrupt their creative flow. You might be tempted to type the code yourself, but it’s the practice that counts. Let them struggle so that they learn from their mistakes.

These tips will allow you to help your child get the best of coding and learn these skills in no time at all. Well, it might not always be easy, but with the right guidance, you can make things easier for them.

Coding for kids at a summer camp.

Young kids are taught the principles of programming with the help of block programming. With the help of colored blocks, children can figure out the basics of programming easily, making the learning process problem-free. If you are a parent who doesn’t have much knowledge on coding, there are other ways to help your child.

There are many apps that can help kids have better control over their programming skills, and they can be the answer you’ve been looking for. Professional yet simple enough for kids to comprehend, these applications are just what your child needs to level up their coding skills.

If you are looking for some helpful applications to get your kid started, there are a few that will prove their worth.

mBlock

This easy and kid-friendly interface application is graphical programming software. It is based on MIT’s visual programming language and can help your kid understand coding within a few minutes. There are pre-written g instructions that guide your child each step of the way. Even if you don’t have the technical knowledge to help your kid, there are pre-existing blocks in the app that can help kids make just what they want to. From the simplest action to something as complex as controlling an animated character’s expressions, mBlock can teach your kids everything they need to know about coding. This kid-friendly programming software provides your child with a low entry barrier into the world of coding.

Scratch

Developed by MIT, Scratch is a free kids programming language. How do you know it’s worth your kid’s time? Well, it was developed by MIT’s Lifelong Kindergarten Lab and provides some of the best getting-started tutorials. There’s something even for the parents. By including some curriculum instructions, the developers have made sure that parents don’t lose their way and are adequately equipped to help their child. These instruction manuals are a goldmine if your kid ever gets stuck somewhere.

But if that doesn’t help you, no need to get all worried. Scratch has a robust user community that is always ready to help you. Just post a query that’s hindering the learning process of your child and users from all over the world will provide their prescribed solutions to solve the issue. This group can help teach the basics of coding for kids.   

How Does it Work

Using the building-block programming theme, Scratch provides your kids with a simple visual interface that’s easy to understand. All the kids need to do is stack the commands together, such as operators, actions and events. This scaffold experience means the utmost convenience for kids and an easy to use interface. 

The best thing about Scratch is that each block has been allotted a certain shape. These shapes only combine with compatible objects, allowing kids to learn the distinguishing properties of commands early on. With the help of games and real animation, kids can enjoy the learning process and since the service is free, you don’t even have to worry about the funds that’ll be spent in the process. The app can be used even without an internet connection, so your kids can have access to easy learning no matter where they are.

Alice

When your child is confident enough to move onto object-oriented programming, it’s best if they use Alice. The free 3D programming tool teaches the concept of languages like C++. And although it uses the same approach as building-block apps, it makes the process even easier than Scratch. The drag and drop interface of Alice is less confusing for beginners and allows them to program camera motions, scenes and 3D models.

It was developed by Carnegie Melon University and is known for its straightforward design that can help kids learn more easily.

Twine

If your kid is interested in just one aspect of programming, i.e., gaming, then Twine is just the right app for them. It also works as a storytelling app, and the best part is that people of almost all ages can use it. With its help, your child will learn how to structure and efficiently develop nonlinear games. The stories module in Twine has pages of texts and images, which can be modified to present a complete story. All you have to do is download the application and your kid will be ready to get started.   

Although these apps can help your kids get the basics of coding, they still need expert supervision to learn the technicalities of the process. With a system that they can relate to easily, your kids can step into the world of coding and reap the benefits that it provides and will continue to provide in the future. Computer Science is the most in-demand career these days and is expected to become a lucrative career path in the future too. If you want your kids to become computer programmers, you will need more than just these apps to help you out.   

iCode Learning Campuses are the pinnacle of quality with the latest technology to help your child accelerate growth in their coding journey. If you’re interested, contact our corporate office at 469.608.7023. or visit one of our iCode franchises near you.

Teach My Elementary Schooler Java!

,

If only we had a dollar for every time we’ve heard that…

When learning Math at school, students start by familiarizing themselves with numbers, then addition, subtraction and so on. They certainly don’t dive headfirst into calculus in kindergarten! When you teach a child to swim, it’s the same thing: first they get comfortable with just being in the water, they graduate from using floaters to noodles to finally swimming on their own. Would you put your child into an 8-foot deep pool and leave them to fend for themselves on day one of swim class? We hope not!

This exact same principle applies to teaching kids how to code; it’s temptingly easy for parents (especially parents who are familiar with computer science or working in the tech industry) to disregard the initial stages of curriculum as ‘baby stuff’ or ‘not something my child will need or use in real life’. There is something to be said, however, for taking it slow and steady, following a well-thought-out and painstakingly developed curriculum (shameless self-praise but we really are so proud of it!) rather than jumping the gun and exposing your child to a language as complex and detail oriented as Java when they may, in fact, not be physically or mentally ready for it. The absolute last thing we ever want to see at iCode is a discouraged, disillusioned student.

The iCode curriculum is proprietary, and our Belt System is carefully re-evaluated at regular intervals to ensure that we’re always on top of our game, offering the best possible path of progression to ensure that our students are enjoying what they’re learning, comfortable with their progress but also sufficiently challenged. Our Belt System was designed keeping in mind the general progression of cognitive development in children; up until 7 years of age, the average child is developing his or her sensory and motor skills. Operational and logical skills don’t really begin developing until 7 or 8 years of age. Concrete operational skills and the ability to grasp abstract logic, usually develops in the pre-teen years. Our Belt structure reflects this as well: the White Belt introduces Scratch, the Red Belt explores Game Design and Development and the Blue Belt gets into the more meaty Python (pun absolutely not intended!)

In conclusion, as much as you may want to see your child master the most advanced of languages and/or programs at a young age, don’t push them to do this at the expense of their joy in learning. It is great to focus on the end goal but enjoy the journey your child will take to get there; the innumerable and transferable skills he or she will pick up along the way, the fundamentals that will become part of a rich learning experience. Trust in the process of learning that opens imaginations to new and amazing possibilities. Trust the structured curriculum, designed to provide a rock-solid foundation in computer science. Trust iCode as an educational institute that is firmly committed to the progress of each child.

Summer Camps through the Eyes of a Former Student

If you have ever been to a summer camp, you will almost certainly have witnessed an unforgettable experience and remember many great moments. The camp is an experience different from the others for everything that involves leaving home and living with new people in a holiday period, free of daily duties. The best experience in teaching and practicing come from former students; from the people who have been on the harder side of the desk for years and then get the opportunity to be on the other. Here is a young Briana, a girl who has spent the summer on campus and has told us her experience while teaching children.

Briana has been teaching the white and yellow belt program at iCode’s East Frisco campus since August 2017 and her experience is quite satisfying. She is talented in computing and coding, but also likes game development since she loves the artistic features engineering.

Briana believes the STEAM camps at iCode are worthwhile for children with all types of interests as they encourage kids to think outside the box and be creative in solving challenges. Practice makes perfect and recalling what they learn is one of the steps towards the vocation of programming, says Briana. In her experience, she notes that kids like the ability to create their games, and she is frequently amazed by their vivid imaginations.

“The way kids understand programming is awesome. As we teach them logic, it quickly becomes second nature to them. They visualize things better than adults. So sometimes all we need to do is to show them the right path and then simply sit back and watch them create.”

Briana is also aware of her being one of the few female representatives on the campus, and she agrees that sometimes women are perceived as less capable in the field of engineering or programming. She adds that emotions do drive women, but they are also helpful in teaching and general understanding. Thus, she particularly enjoys seeing girls on campus, confident in their abilities and equally creative as boys in creating and developing new ideas. For more information on iCode’s summer camps, visit www.icodeschool.com/summer-camps.