Teaching Coding in STEAM Education
Initiatives around STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) in elementary school through middle school and high school are aimed at getting students interested in technical fields. These programs combine learning about electronic and robotic circuitry with technical instructions to inspire an interest in coding from a young age.
But why should children learn to code?
There are many reasons why it would be wise for children to familiarize themselves with computers and computer language. Coding exposes a child to many challenges to work through, which fosters invaluable life skills like perseverance and fortitude that will stand them in good stead in life.
1. Learning to code enhances self-esteem
Learning something new and mastering it is empowering. Learning to code develops a range of new skills all of which contributes to building a child’s confidence and self-esteem.
2. Coding teaches a new language, which opens the door to more and different communication
Learning to code teaches children a different way to communicate. What’s more, learning to code teaches logical thinking, which further enhances communication.
3. Coding dissolves the math problem
Learning abstract concepts is hard for most people with the result that many people lose interest in math at a young age. Coding effectively counteracts this tendency by making it easier for children to visualize abstract concepts.
Coding makes math more practical and therefore easier to understand and assimilate.
4. Coding teaches collaboration in a creative process
With coding, learners get an opportunity to design something that is completely their own and in the process they get feedback from their peers. They learn to evaluate the input of others and learn to adapt their thinking process or they may decide to stick with their own process.
Whatever the case, they will learn to communicate and collaborate with others. Coding teaches learners to experiment with their creativity.
5. Employment opportunities
Presently and in the near future being able to code will open the door to employment in just about every industry.
Enterprises need software development teams to keep their systems up to date and to stay competitive. Currently, there is a software developer shortage that runs into the thousands.
Companies that offer great resources for teaching coding in schools
There are many innovative enterprises that have produced great educational products to get kids started with programming. We touch on three of them here.
Tynker is an online learning system that teaches kids how to code. With a global community of 60 million users across 80,000 schools, Tynker is well established as a system that makes it possible for schools to run a successful computer science program.
Microduino is just the best for learning electronics. The award-winning system of stackable electronic building blocks and related components with its in-class science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) learning elements, is a challenging and fun way to explore all things electronic.
The company’s mCookieseries let learners explore electronics and create projects that include working electronics and Lego blocks. The series of kits are simple to use and require no soldering.
The company collaborated with teachers, administrators, and academic experts to develop a series of four learning systems – Microduino Mix Kits – that teach children basic electronic circuitry, coding, and product design.
Microduino’s following of students, teachers, inventors, and electronics enthusiasts form a community of over a million members worldwide.
KitHub has developed the STEAM + Coding Program, which introduces students to basic electronics and coding through creative materials. Projects are open-ended to encourage creativity. KitHub provides science and technology kits for kids that can be used in schools but can also be explored at home. There are alsoafterschool maker programs.
And KitHub makes life easier for teachers with free lesson plans.
The STEAM-based projects for grades K-8 and include exciting things like a light-up mask, paper circuits, and a motorized ArtBot. There is also a STEAM program for K-2.
Exposing children to coding, electronic circuitry and all manner of things to tinker with is a brilliant and fun way for children to have fun while preparing for life as an adult,.