For many parents living in an increasingly digital world, a common gripe they might have is the difficulty in engaging with their children that does not include digital gadgets such as smartphones, computers, and tablets. However, they also often overlook the fact that children will need to understand how these work in order to survive and thrive in the digital future. That’s why coding classes for kids have been rising in popularity because rather than avoiding modern technologies, we must embrace them and educate the next generation.
At the same time, it has to be acknowledged that most coding languages can be difficult to understand and may even be off-putting to some children. As a result, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Media Labs created scratch programming as a fun and interactive way for children aged 8 to 16 to learn how to code and create their own games, animations, and stories. As a result, for parents who want to enrol their children in a scratch programming class, this article will explain how it works and its benefits so that they can be confident that this is the best language for their children.
Many students are encouraged to start with scratch programming because it helps them build a solid foundation for learning other languages.
How Does Scratch Programming Work?
Compared to other programming languages which are text-based, scratch programming is a block-based programming language. In the scratch programming interface, there are various graphic blocks that are colour-coded according to the type of information it contains such as sounds, motion, visuals etc. Students can arrange these blocks in the editor that will enable their objects, known as ‘sprites’, to carry out different actions. Once they are done, they can run their code and immediately see it being executed on the ‘stage’ part of the interface. In fact, its name was inspired by a disk jockey technique called ‘scratching’ in which vinyl records are clipped together on a turntable to produce various sounds and music.
As most young children are visual learners, scratch programming simplifies coding for them. This is because they can visually see how their code translates into successful actions, rather than lines of text, which might be off-putting for some students.
Furthermore, scratch programming has an online community where students from all backgrounds can come together to share their projects, receive feedback, and most importantly, learn from one another. This way, students can hone their coding skills and learn useful tips and tricks through teamwork and collaboration.
Benefits of Learning Scratch Programming
Since it is a programming language that was specifically developed and designed for children, there are many advantages for young children to learn scratch programming.
Some of them include:
1. Easily learn logical and analytical thinking skills
While scratch programming consists of a simple interface where students just have to drag and drop blocks into the editor, it requires that they do it in a specific order so that the software can execute the code properly. For example, some blocks come with grooves that only work by connecting with another block with a corresponding groove. Subsequently, this instils in students that problems should be approached logically and systematically to ensure that it is resolved properly.
2. Enhances their creativity
Scratch programming allows students to stretch their creative muscles by providing them with colourful blocks, a diverse range of characters, and the freedom to experiment and create whatever games, animations, and stories they want. In addition, Scratch 3.0 was developed to integrate with other hardware extensions such as Micro:bit and Lego Mindstorms so that students can take their coding to the next level and create more complex coding projects. In fact, students interested in game design often start by learning this language. As a result, not only does scratch programming enable students to develop their computational thinking skills, but it also encourages them to approach problems creatively and from a different perspective.
3. Nurture an interest in programming
Scratch programming is a good starting point for children new to coding as it gives them a taste of it in a fun and interactive environment. As they continue developing their skills through scratch coding, many of them often develop a passion for programming and feel encouraged to explore their niche interests, from game design to animations. This, in turn, prepares them for a digital future where they can easily operate different technologies.
Preparing The Kids Of Today For Tomorrow
In a world where technology is causing rapid change, it is critical that we provide our children with the tools they need to thrive in such an environment. Although not all children will grow up to be programmers, the other benefits of learning to code, such as thinking from a different perspective, logical reasoning, and understanding the inner workings of new technologies, are all skills that can be applied to anyone's life.
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