Coding Classes for Kids – The Python Programming Language

Picking a programming language for your child to study can be tough. They probably don’t have a great feel for what the entire coding experience is going to be like. So maybe they start off with something very visual, like Scratch. They learn the basics and create a few working programs.

After spending a lot of time with Scratch and learning the tenets of logic and coding, a lot of kids want something with more substance… something with more of a future. If you peel back the curtain on Scratch 3.0, you see ActionScript and Javascript. Not the most friendly languages for young coders.

So what else is there? What language can a hungry young mind really tear into?

Is That Hissing I Hear?

No, but it is Python.

This learning experience is powered by Python for Kids!

Python has been around since the late 90’s, the brainchild of Guido van Rossum. He remained in the driver’s seat as the language’s main architect for nearly two decades. That consistency is why it continued to grow stronger and more reliable through three major iterations.

The language is incredibly flexible, with both structured and object-oriented programming fully supported. This means that however your child likes to approach a logical problem, it’s highly likely that the Python programming language will have the tools to help them solve it.

Is Python for Kids, or Just Adults?

There are a few good reasons that the ‘Python for Kids’ movement took off, outside of just the Jason Briggs book by the same name.

The Python programming language is one of the most human-readable mainstream languages in use today. Although not quite a fourth generation language, it does draw upon some of the ease of use aspects of 4GL.

That readability is why so many coding classes for kids have embraced Python. The things that you read in the tutorials, the words that are spoken by an instructor, they resonate as friendly, recognizable terms.

When considering coding classes for kids, consider the human-readable Python programming language.

Another advantage is speed. Once the basics are grasped, the typical Python script should be shorter than the equivalent Javascript program, and five to ten times shorter than C++ doing the same task. So kids learning Python get to experience the gratification of completing functional scripts more frequently.

This is why, in a lot of classrooms and households, the Python for Kids movement is strong. Structurally, it caters to the young mind. And of course, it is a legitimate career skill.

What is the Python Programming Language Typically Used For?

This is where things get interesting. Because Python is heavily used in some of the biggest commercial programming fields on Earth: Automation, web development, data integration, and e-commerce solutions.

It’s no wonder that Python is the fastest growing mainstream programming language on the planet according to Stack Overflow. As we move towards a world where more countries embrace things like remote work, universal income, big data projects, and virtual currency, it looks like we have an excellent candidate for the dominant programming language of the next decade.

This is being reflected in the salaries of coders. The top two programming languages in terms of compensation are Ruby, followed directly by Python. The average Python developer in the United States makes around $119,000 a year according to Daxx. And it is an international trend, with the U.K. based Indeed putting the median Python coder’s salary at around £64,000. Learning Python early can give children a real edge in tomorrow’s marketplace.

So it is important to not only introduce kids to the Python programming language when they’re young, but to embrace it at an educational level as well. Coding classes for kids simply need to offer it as a first or second tier choice, or they’re missing a trick.

Is Python Free and Easy to Set Up?

If you’re familiar with the phrase ‘so simple, a child could do it’, that applies here. It’s one of the easiest programming languages to install.

And yes, it is completely free, and it always has been. Guido van Rossum developed it under an OSI compatible open license.

The official download site has all of the links and instructions that you will need to help you to set it up on the home computer. It shouldn’t take a parent more than just a few minutes with a decent computer and Internet connection.

Or if you’re fully embracing the Python for Kids motif, make them do it themselves (under proper supervision of course)!

There are also app store versions of the Python programming language for mobile devices, running on iOS and Android. Kivy and BeeWare are both excellent mobile frameworks to look at.

Structured Coding Classes for Kids that Teach Python

If you as a parent would prefer that professionals teach your kids the Python programming language, that’s a completely reasonable option. Some kids simply do better in classrooms. Whether those classrooms are real or virtual, well that depends on how close you are to a coding campus and what’s going on in the world at large, of course.

Children who do well in a structured, but relaxed learning environment should look into theCoderSchool’s physical locations and camps. Coding classes for kids are available in dozens of locations all over the continental United States. You want to join classes that have a Code Coach to student ratio under six to one, if at all possible. But the more popular the class, the higher the student ratio will be, of course.

Then again, some students learn better from the comfort of their own home, from anywhere in the world. For those students, our virtual program also offers a great way to embrace the Python programming language.

In Conclusion

Python is one of the best choices for young people to enter the wonderful world of programming. The combination of ease-of-use, accessibility, and flexibility are hard to beat. Combine that with a human language oriented interface that appeals to kids, and it’s no wonder that Python is widely considered to be one of the primary programming languages of the next decade.

 

Scratch uses code blocks that snap together, making it perfect for use within cloding classes for kids.

Coding Classes for Kids – What Works?

Parents who are researching the right programming language to teach their child often don’t know where to start. And that’s okay, because until about a decade ago, even professional educators weren’t certain which programming language and what teaching methods worked best for kids between the ages of eight and sixteen.

In the past, coding classes for kids focused on a combination of rote memorization of basic techniques and enhancing familiarity with programming terms. But feedback from technology companies in both the U.S. and the U.K. reported a distinct lack of preparedness and deep understanding from students who took such courses in the past. It came to a head in 2013, when the U.K. government announced a complete rework of the next school year’s computing curriculum, including all coding aspects. Remember that year, it will become important shortly.

The goal of coding classes for kids was boiled down to a simple concept: Fluency. It’s the difference between memorizing words in a dictionary and adding words to your effective vocabulary. These skills really stick around if kids can create a meaningful context surrounding them. So the focus shifted to activating the creative coding brains of young people by giving them the tools to make what they want, and providing enough structured help to make them successful. Success bred confidence, which brought about the desire to learn more… to accomplish more.

Remember 2013? That was also the year that one of the most vital tools in modern coding education was released by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology: Scratch 2.0.

What is Scratch?

Scratch is a programming language developed by MIT that attempts to bring that elusive meaningful context to coding. Their three goals were to inspire people to ‘think creatively, reason systematically, and work collaboratively’. It is primarily designed for children aged eight to sixteen, though new coders of all ages have found success learning with Scratch.

Default sprite for Scratch, one of the perfect subjects taught in coding classes for kids.

Scratch Cats

Three versions of Scratch have been published over the years, each one improving on the last in both methodology and technology. The Scratch Cat, which is the default sprite when opening a brand new Scratch project, has also been upgraded over time to reflect these advances.

The latest version, Scratch 3.0, came out in January 2019. It was an opportunity to fix lingering bugs, and upgrade the underlying technology to HTML5 and JavaScript. For the last two years, the community has seen millions of children use Scratch for programming all kinds of things.

That community gathers in one place to share ideas, comment on each other’s projects, and talk about their learning experience: The Scratch website hosted by MIT.

The Scratch website at MIT is one way kids use Scratch for programming their imagination.

Scratch Website

It has tutorials, a detailed wiki, code guides, tips for educators and parents, and a full project management suite. The student can choose whether to work on their code in private, or whether to open it up to comments and collaboration. Once they’re done, they can add their new masterpiece to the Scratch code library for other students all around the world to experience.

Kids Use Scratch for Programming Their Imagination.

Anyone who picks up Scratch for the first time understands immediately that it is unlike other programming languages they may have seen. Pieces of code snap together like building blocks. Within seconds, the tutorial has you walking the Scratch Cat across the screen, meowing all the way. But more importantly, the first thing most kids want to do upon seeing this is reach for new blocks. There are hundreds of options available that will make our cartoon cat do things. And when the basic interaction of blocks isn’t enough, instructors can help guide students towards the resources that they need to stretch their current limits.

Scratch uses code blocks that snap together, making it perfect for use within cloding classes for kids.

Scratch Dashboard

Of course, coding classes for kids need some kind of theme. New functions and concepts are introduced as additional building blocks, or as things that can change the way students use their current blocks of code. With each new theme introduced, new challenges naturally arise. Individual students or collaborative groups can talk about the various ways they can tackle these new puzzles, and then demonstrate the solutions in Scratch code.

Whether they know it or not, the students are using Scratch for programming in the same way any coder would. They’re using variables. They’re building a ‘happy path’ of code where everything is simple, before adding branches that add complexity. They get to see everything go right before adding conditions for when things go wrong… otherwise known as error detection and reporting. They’re creating loops, and if/then statements, and counters. Scratch can achieve astounding complexity, if one puts in the time and effort.

By incorporating multimedia input and output such as hand gestures, voice commands, text to speech, and audio/video playback, their creations can become even more relevant to the things that they enjoy and find interesting.

What is the Best Way for Kids to Learn Scratch?

The ‘best’ way is what works best for your child, of course.

Some kids love interactive classrooms. Those classrooms can be virtual, or when the world gets a little less crazy than it is in 2020, in person. Children who thrive in a collective learning environment should look into theCoderSchool’s physical locations and camps. Coding classes for kids are available in dozens of locations all over the continental United States. The ideal Code Coach to student ratio in those scenarios is around six to one.

Alternatively, some students learn better from structured video presentations. For them, theCoderSchool AppStream will expose new students to the basics. As they grow in confidence and experience, they may wish to graduate to more interactive offerings.

Finally, some students just like to read! And who can blame them? For those lovable little bookworms, the ‘Coding with Scratch’ ebook by Basher Books is their best option. In no time, they’ll be using Scratch for programming all kinds of fun projects.

In Conclusion

Scratch is an ideal first coding class for all ages. And it is the obvious choice if you want your child’s coding experience to be more than just a test of patience and memory. With thousands of community projects to draw inspiration from, every Scratch program they come across is a potential learning experience.

 

What do you want out of your career? Do you want to spend every work day doing what you love? Do you want that work to pay well and provide you with countless new experiences and opportunities? For many people, a career in tech checks all of these boxes and more. Read on for some more reasons that tech may be your optimal career path.

Cheaper education costs

In the case of tech, attending a four-year university isn’t necessarily required to get your foot in the door of the industry. Completing internships, attending technical schools, and achieving technical certifications are effective alternatives that a lot of people have used to launch their careers.

There is always a demand for tech workers

Technology is ever-present and ever-evolving in today’s world. One of the many results of this is the constant demand for innovative tech workers. Whether you choose to work in development or IT, there are many paths you can choose within the industry.

Opportunities for travel

The tech industry is global, meaning that working within it has the potential to provide you with opportunities to visit many different parts of the world. If you’ve always wanted to travel while doing fulfilling work, a tech career is for you.

Great perks

A lot of modern tech companies are always looking for ways to attract and retain new talent by creating an exciting workplace culture. This can include options like a flexible work schedule, casual dress codes, more paid time off, and on-site recreational and fitness facilities. The best tech companies boast high job satisfaction and excellent features to maintain their status of being a desirable place to work.

Tech changes lives

Typically, the educational and medical fields are assigned as the primary industries that help people. While this is definitely true, the tech industry also makes a profound difference in many people’s lives. Whether it’s helping people save time and money or developing a revolutionary medical device, the tech industry makes an invaluable contribution to society.

As an ever-developing field, there are a lot of reasons to consider a career in tech. Companies within the industry are great at helping those who are at the beginning of their careers, so a good idea for getting started would be to shadow someone who works in a position you’d like to learn more about. Besides, even if you decide that a tech career isn’t for you, the experience alone could provide some great information to add to your resume.

When it comes to coding, there are many skills that talent and education alone can’t teach you. Patience is one of these. Some common issues you’ll come across include people’s varying opinions of your projects, as well as coding road blocks you’ll come across in developing them. If patience is something you’re struggling with, try these tips to help you stay level-headed the next time you run into a frustrating situation:

Slow down

Of course, this can be easier said than done since many coding projects have strict deadlines. However, it’s true that if you slow down when you’re feeling frustrated, you’re likely to use your time more efficiently than if you continue to force your way through whatever challenges you may be facing. By taking a step back to calm down, you can focus on working through your project line by line and fix errors you may have been missing before.

Consider other people’s ideas

Coding is a collaborative effort. Chances are, you are surrounded by people who would like to see you succeed. While frustration can lead to feelings of insecurity, it’s in your best interest to ask someone you trust for help on getting through your road block. This kind of collaboration is especially important if you are working on a small piece of a larger project that involves many other people.

Make the most of your downtime

Many coders love their work, which means it’s common for them to overwork themselves. If you find yourself constantly getting frustrated with your projects, it may be time to evaluate how much time you’ve been spending on your work. You may just need some time to rest or work on a different activity you enjoy. If you give yourself a proper break or day off, you’ll find yourself feeling refreshed and able to think more clearly when you start on your project again.

Establish a routine

Human beings thrive when they have a consistent routine. Take care of yourself by maintaining a regular sleep schedule, eating regularly, and taking consistent breaks throughout your work. When your work becomes overwhelming, form a habit of slowing down and practicing breathing exercises.

The projects you’re working on require passion, and passion can often lead to impatience. The key to producing quality work that you enjoy is to approach it with care and a fresh mindset. Once you learn patience, you will be able to focus, enhance your skills, and take your work to the next level!

The new school year is almost here, which means it’s time to prepare and get back into your academic habits. If enjoying your summer break has resulted in you postponing your preparations until the last minute, you’re not alone. Here are some things that will help you be ready for the new year:

Read through your syllabi

Chances are, your teachers have made their syllabi for their courses available well ahead of the new academic year. The first step in being prepared for these new classes is to read through these documents and become familiarized with the schedule, concepts you’ll be learning, and the expectations your teacher will have of you.

Review notes from last year

Too often, students will leave their previous learnings in the past. This only puts you at a disadvantage in your new classes. Going to school is all about building on what you’ve learned, so make a point to spend part of your day reviewing older notes, lesson documents, and tests so you can put your best foot forward this year.

Pick out school supplies you like

There are countless supply options available to students nowadays. It’s a much better option to spend a little extra money on supplies that you like and will last than it is to get cheaper materials that will wear out quickly. If you have all of the materials you’ll need to help you make sense of the content you’ll be learning, you’ll be more likely to receive great grades.

Make sure your summer assignments are completed

Some courses require that you read certain books or complete certain assignments before the course starts. If your teacher has assigned a project like this, there’s a reason. If you want to be on solid footing at the beginning of your course, make sure that this work is done and that you have questions prepared for discussion once the class starts.

Evaluate your wardrobe

There’s a reason there’s a season for school clothes shopping. Bodies change and clothing wears out, so take some time soon to double check that you have all the apparel you’ll need to be comfortable and successful this year. If your school has a dress code, make sure the items you’ll be wearing align with it.

The summer holiday is almost over, so once you feel well-prepared for the new academic year, enjoy the rest of your break. It’s important that you begin your classes with a clear and focused mindset. Enjoy the summer and good luck!

COVID-19 has turned the public’s educational expectations upside down. Despite the uncertainty, the nation’s teachers will continue to do excellent work with their students; though the scope of this will likely continue to be different from traditional setups. The biggest change that has been implemented is the use of remote learning. Adjusting to this method of education can be a challenge, so read on for some tips on how to stay focused:

Maintain a regular sleep schedule

Staying at home can really mess up your routine if you’re not careful. When your home becomes your place for both relaxation and school/work, it can be hard to keep track of what you’re supposed to be doing and when. Mitigate the effects of this by going to sleep and waking up at a set time every morning/night. Your executive functioning will improve and you’ll be able to accomplish more throughout your studies.

Establish a routine

If your classes are held virtually at the same time throughout the week, use a scheduling/agenda app to put that information in your phone. Schedule breaks in between classes, as well as blocks of time that you will use to complete your homework. Getting yourself in the habit of completing specific tasks at specific times of the day will help you focus.

Eat well

Our brains need us to eat healthy food on a regular basis in order to function well. When you establish your routine, set designated times throughout the day for you to eat a balanced meal. Staying energized will keep your brain focused while taking notes, doing homework, attending virtual classes, and studying remotely.

Cut out distractions

Just as your teacher would expect you to have your phone put away during class, you should have that expectation for yourself as well. Learning remotely can tempt you to look at your phone or other tabs on your browser when you’re supposed to be studying, but this behavior will only set you behind. Instead, only keep necessary windows open on your computer and set your phone to “do not disturb” mode. Better yet, keep your phone in a different room until it’s time for a break.

Learning remotely may be a new situation to get used to, but it doesn’t have to be a major headache. If you need help focusing, follow these tips and always remember to reach out to your teachers or counselors for assistance! You’ve got this!

In order to foster intelligence and innovation across future generations, the world of education is constantly changing. As technology evolves, it brings about new and exciting avenues for educators to give their students the most fulfilling and successful learning experiences possible. Here are some examples:

Analytics

Data is an invaluable tool. Modern analytics allow teachers to discover which methods are successful in their classroom, as well as which approaches may need adjusting or eliminated altogether. In addition, teachers across the world can share their data with each other. This gives them fresh and new ideas to implement every year. When teachers keep fresh perspectives, they’re sure to come up with consistently innovative and engaging practices.

Remote instruction

The internet has managed to bring education by qualified teachers right to our homes. This shift in possibilities has opened up doors for students across the world. It has also allowed the nation’s educational system to keep functioning during the midst of the 2020 pandemic. Even outside of these aspects, being able to receive instruction or tutoring at home can, for many students, foster a stronger sense of comfort and ease during their learning experiences, making them more capable of retaining information.

Project management platforms

Platforms like these are often used by team members in a professional work setting, but teachers have begun applying them in their classrooms as well. These programs can help students keep track of their individual assignments, as well as encourage productive collaboration with their classmates regarding group projects. These tools are especially valuable to high school and university students, since their studies and assignments are more complex than those of students in elementary and middle grades.

Educational games

It’s no secret that students are much more receptive to learning when the material is presented in a way that interests them. This is especially true for younger students. Board and card games have been used by teachers for years, but with the evolution of technology, countless apps and programs specifically designed for this purpose have become available.

By the time we reach the middle of the century, there’s no telling what the world of education will look like. While some school districts may resist technological advancements, over time, a majority of schools and universities will keep pace. With time, learning will only become more interesting, which will engage more students than ever and bring the societies of our world to new heights! How exciting!