• Moonlight Kids

Chatting About Coding

Hello all! Our very own Ankit Trivedi recently sat down with Twinkl to talk about what coding means to him, how he got into it, and its importance to younger generations. Read on to hear all about it!


-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


How did you first become involved with coding/programming? My major when I entered college was the one my parents suggested; Biomedical Engineering. But honestly, I didn't really want to do that. As luck would have it, a few of my neighbors at the dorms had Computer Science classes.

Naturally, I found myself involved with their homework discussions and I started asking questions about what sort of problems they were solving. Having not been in their class, it was hard to understand. However, one of my neighbors had told me that my fancy engineering calculator actually had its own programming language on it, and he started showing me principals of what they were learning.

He showed me this fun program he made that made the calculator screen look like it was doing the 1s and 0s from the movie The Matrix. It blew my mind! From that small example, I could imagine all sorts of things one can do with coding. Very soon after, I went to my counselor and asked to change majors, and I'm so happy I did. I can't imagine doing anything else.

To put a cherry on top, later that first year, I later wrote my own Matrix program that was way better than the one he showed me. I'll never forget that feeling of accomplishment. Why is coding an important skill for children to learn? Coding teaches a very logical way of thinking and problem solving. Computers only do what they are told, and if told to do a certain thing, they will always do that thing the same way every time. Coding teaches you how to be methodical and forward thinking about how to solve your problems.

The type of "if 'this'" "then 'that'" thinking can be applied to every aspect of life. Furthermore, coding is a great and inexpensive way to express creativity. Even though the coding part is logical, once you know the rules, you can create anything you want. It's a great outlet for expression. What's the best way for beginners to get involved with coding and programming? Above all else, the best way to get started, is to just start! For all age groups, there are tools and software geared to get people into coding regardless of experience. I'm a firm believer that the best teacher is experience. When I started, easy-to-grasp learning material wasn't available. Luckly, that's changed! I think a good place to start is what's called "visual coding" or "block coding". Instead of typing code with some language, you use blocks to visualize code flow. One tool I found while searching is called Blockly App. Having watched a few videos, I feel it's a great place to start (they aren't sponsoring me, I just happened to stumble upon it). It should be noted, I've seen that Blockly is best for ages 8+, but that a younger audience could use it with adult guidance. I'd also recommend doing a YouTube search for "coding for kids" for kids or "coding for beginners" for adults. There are plenty of guided video playlists that will help people of all age-groups and experiences. Some of the videos might require you to get some software to participate along, but often they are free and easy to install. I would strongly recommend parents/guardians be there with young children to get started.


-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


You can check out the full article on Twinkl's website here https://www.twinkl.co.za/blog/coding-the-skill-of-the-future-for-children