A new school year begins ─this time marked by the uncertainty that COVID19 has brought us─ and it is time to choose the extracurricular activities the younger ones will attend to. There are many types of extracurricular activities and the most important thing is that each child finds one that he enjoys and which motivates him to continue discovering new things and enhancing his skills.
If you already know that your kids like technological activities and STEAM projects, it is time to look for a coding and robotics after-school program. What should we take into account when choosing an after-school activity like this?
1. It is an extracurricular activity and this means that children must have a good time. Kids who want to learn to code will have to work on it every day, but there are many ways to do so. One of the best ways to have fun while learning to code is by betting on game-based learning methods or gamification techniques.
2. Playing is fun and many of our children love video games. But what if instead of being consumers of video games, they were able to create their own video games as well? A programming after-school program should encourage their creativity and provide them tools so that they can materialize all kind of stories they imagine.
3. Is it better to choose a robotics activity or a coding activity? It depends on what we are looking for. Many children want to get started directly with robotics but programming is what really allows them to build their own robots. If they learn to code they will be able to design their own robots from scratch, as well their own video games, apps or software ─instead of learning to use only educational robots. If they learn to code, they will become technology creators.
4. In this sense, it must be taken into account that technology changes very quickly. That means that what we have learned today will only be useful for a while and then it will become obsolete. That is why it is important to choose an activity that helps us to acquire long-term knowledge and does not limit us to just learning how to use certain programs or languages that will no longer exist tomorrow.
5. It is a cognitive extracurricular activity. Learning to code teaches us how to think. It makes us work on computational thinking, which is a set of techniques that help us solving problems. Therefore, a good option is a cross-learning activity in which different areas of knowledge are worked: we do not know if our son will be a software developer or a game designer ─perhaps he will be a doctor, a lawyer or a translator, but computational thinking will help him in all fields both personally and professionally.
Codelearn’s coding and robotics program
Codelearn students learn to code in a progressive and fun way. We are a programming and computational thinking school following our own method designed by professionals from both the IT and the pedagogical worlds. We do not offer independent courses where students can just learn a specific programming language or play with specific educational robotics but we have developed a long-term curriculum revolving around the development of computational thinking.
Programming is a tool which allows kids and teens to create video games, applications or robots. Learning to use a single resource in a world that changes so fast is too high a risk, since technology evolves daily and what we learn today can become obsolete in a very short time. That is why we prefer to enhance computational thinking, which is the ability to solve problems, instead of only binding ourselves to a specific language or to a single model of educational robots.
We try to teach children the basics of programming first, so that they can easily learn any language and how to program any robot. And to do so we need to understand how do machines work and how to communicate with them, and we must do so from a cross-learning thanks to which we work on different areas of knowledge such as programming and robotics, but also electronics, mathematics, English, engineering or project management.