I work in front of my laptop all day and I organize my life with my iPhone. My children see us, their uncles, aunts and grandparents using our computers, tablets and smartphone on a daily basis. Therefore, it would be hypocritical and, to be honest, very selfish to deny our kids time on computers and tablets.
They are 9 and 7. They have set screen times on weekends, which they barely use for TV. They use that time on computers, tablets and sometimes our iPhones to play games, watch PBS shows like Wild Kratts and type up the stories they write.
At school, kids use computers mostly to go on education websites such as Odyssey, ST Math, Myngconnect etc. They do not have coding classes yet. Hopefully, soon. most schools don’t have computer science classes until high school. Therefore, we have to complement it at home during their screen time. This year, we have been encouraging them to go to websites or use apps that teach coding, take lessons and create their own games or apps.
This week, the week of December 8-14, 2014 is Computer Science Education Week. Code.org runs a global campaign called Hour of Code to encourage anyone to learn coding, by starting with an hour during CSEdWeek. But it doesn’t end there. It’s just the introduction.
We’ve done introductory lessons on Code.org with my children. We sit through the lessons with them just in case they need help. Most of these lessons are practically like games. My daughter started with the newly introduced Code with Anna and Elsa. She loved it and completed all the lessons in one sitting. My son completed the lessons with Angry Birds as well as Plants vs Zombies. They also create their own games and check out others’ games on Scratch.
Most of these resources are free with computer and internet access. They are really easy to follow and understand for children. Honestly, since our kids are born into it, they soak it up or immerse in it to describe it correctly.
I’d rather have my children use some of their screen time by learning coding to create things similar to what they play, watch or use. I would like them to be creators and producers as much as users and consumers.
Are you encouraging your children to learn code? Try it out for yourself. Start with an hour of code. Who knows what app or game you or your children will come up with?