3 Ways to Help Your Student Start Coding

Girl coding on laptop

Starting students on a coding path is growing in popularity among today’s parents. Learning how to code at an early age can set your child up for a lifetime of success. Even if they don’t pursue a field in computer science, it can give them an edge in almost any industry.

Here are three ways you can introduce your student to the world of coding.

Learn the history of computer science

Sometimes the first step in approaching a new topic is learning about its past. Computer programming has a long history of innovators who can inspire your online student to get coding! Take a look at how computers and coding have evolved over time. You and your child will discover how programmers throughout the years have imagined new possibilities and used their skills to make their ideas come to life.

  • 1843 – Mathematician Ada Lovelace writes an algorithm that could be used on a modern computer, which is why many consider her the first computer programmer.
  • 1938 – Konrad Zuse completes the design and build of a complex mechanical calculator that uses binary code, or ones and zeros.
  • 1959 – COBOL, the first programming language to use words instead of numbers, is developed based on the work of Grace Hopper, a math professor and Navy rear admiral.
  • 1969 – Internet pioneer J. C. R. Licklider develops the ARPANET, the direct predecessor of the internet, which exchanges computer communications between universities.
  • 1975 – Programmer Bill Gates and partner Paul Allen start a company called Microsoft.
  • 1976 – Programmers Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak found Apple Computer Company.
  • 1981 – The IBM personal computer debuts, transforming the market with its affordable price and combination of personal and business capabilities.1989 – The World Wide Web (WWW) is created by British scientist Tim Berners-Lee, who also establishes hypertext markup language (HTML), the uniform resource locator (URL), and hypertext transfer protocol (HTTP).
  • 1999 – With most dates in code formatted as MM/DD/YY, everyone fears that computers will fail to shift from 1999 to 2000. Billions of dollars are spent fixing the code of the Y2K bug before the clock changes.
  • 2013 – The nonprofit Code.org is launched to promote computer programming education in schools.

Find a class or mentor

Want to get your student more active in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education? Search for group classes as well as online school courses that provide live support with real engineers. Look for well-crafted lesson plans that build sequentially on coding concepts.

Many developers also enjoy volunteering. Ask if someone you know might be willing to mentor your child online or in person. Whether this is a friend, colleague, or older student—having a mentor can make a difference.

Have fun

Coding for kids should be fun! Once your student tries programming, make sure to keep them engaged. Stay away from material that’s too academic. Instead, focus on enjoyable courses that match your child’s interests. Some of the best lessons come in the form of games they’d like regardless of the content. Whether your student wants to create a new tool for a game or their own web page, listen to their interests and help them find activities that cater to them. Let your child follow their own curiosity and passion.

The world of computer programming continues to evolve, thanks to the imaginative people who find ways to improve technology. Because of programming, we have smartphones, social media, video games, email, and so much more. That includes online education! Each major innovation develops as a result of hundreds of ideas, experiments, and prototypes. Your student could be one of the people who help make big changes happen.

Explore more STEM educational activities to help your child reach their highest potential.

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