Friday, March 1, 2013

code? you bet!

i was asked a short time ago what i thought about kids learning to code.  i don't remember exactly what i said (that's not uncommon for me; my short-term memory is not as acute as it used to be before giving birth to my children), but it probably involved a fervent rambling about programming being a language that we believe strongly in learning and that it was much more practical and useful than, say, me teaching diana to speak french.  (this was something she asked me to do with her and enjoyed for a while, but then we both lost interest and allowed it to fade into a memory of something we "used to do.")

let me clarify just a little here.  i think it was steve who suggested that diana should study it.  i reluctantly agreed, provided that he would be her primary mentor, given that he is an able-bodied programmer and i know relatively little beyond the basics of html.  frankly, i first thought of it as  another subject i'd be unable to help her learn yet would need to ensure she worked on while steve was away.

since then, i have shifted from being uncertain to insistent that diana have time and access to becoming literate and fluent in coding.  and i am far from having to encourage her to do it.

just like with everything else she pursues, it's a team effort to tweak the environment in which she explores and learns.  if she gets stuck, or restless, or confused, or bored, we work together to figure out the reason and then make changes until we can get a new fit.

she's dabbled a little in javascript on codeacademy.  then python4kids.  now it's all about python at codeacademy.  she's working through lessons, sometimes calling steve to collaborate online and work through some edits or get clarification on some terms.  she's joined groups, asked and answered questions, searched through forums to find answers.  she still gets frustrated now and then, but there's nothing like the joy and pride in the sound of her voice when she's made something work!

we have alice installed on our computers so she and i can work independently yet simultaneously on seeing what we can do with it.

we'll probably add in working with scratch.  i have a feeling ander will want to start working with it, too.  (note: since posting this, diana has informed she has already worked on things in scratch.  i can't keep up!)

people far more capable than i have presented some persuasive and convincing reasons for learning to code at any age.  i was certainly inspired and encouraged by both of these videos - won't you take a look?


  1. Did you see this: What you're doing is raising *wizards*!

    I love that I can code (somewhat), even though I'm getting up there in my 40s. Makes me feel powerful!

  2. i just looked at the link; thanks for passing it along.

    mama's not raising any muggles here ;)