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The skills behind the code

Published March 4, 2021
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It’s a digital world . . . bet you’ve never heard that phrase before. But, in all seriousness, the advancement of technology throughout the years has led to our increasing dependence on all things high tech. Have a problem? There’s an app for that. Have a question? Simply pose it to the computer in your pocket and be amazed by the billions of potential answers returned.

Many experts believe that teaching coding to today’s preschoolers is just as important as teaching them to read and to learn math. I am not here to argue that point, but in looking out into the education horizon it does appear as though the ability to code is becoming increasingly important. Living in the 21st century, children are growing up as digital natives, and it is easy to envision a future where coding is a skill that is used every day. While programming is typically seen as a highly technical skill, learning to code can be simple and actually provides numerous benefits for students that go far beyond the use of a computer.

Coding assists in the understanding of math concepts. In fact, it can be seen as a sneaky way to get kids to apply and practice their math knowledge, as opposed to having them complete a worksheet. Coding enables students to look at a potential big problem and break it down into smaller solvable components. It challenges them to analyze and think through a number of potential solutions, which is a much-needed real-world skill. It builds communication abilities and teaches students resilience and persistence, and it hones their creativity. It is in these skills where we understand why coding has a place with our youngest learners.

Even if the technologies our little learners have been exposed to along the way become obsolete, the life skills, the problem-solving, critical thinking, and collaboration will endure no matter what field of study or career path they choose. In essence, the skills children learn through coding will provide advantages in the workforce, in any hobby, and in everyday life.

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