Teaching kids how to code early can be an important goal for many parents. Like most subjects, the principles of coding can be taught very early in your child’s life. The difficulty arises when parents set out to find an appropriate curriculum for their children. Generally, coding is considered an esoteric and arcane subject, and even finding appropriate learning resources for adults can be a challenging process.
Thankfully, this problem has been worked on, and there is a solution that integrates video games into the learning process. This makes the overall experience for children more enjoyable, and it helps the information stick for a longer period of time. This can be found in the education edition of Minecraft. There is currently software available that you can use with your child to engage them with learning at home. Additionally, some teachers are starting various coding camps and workshops that are focused on this game. This makes the learning process more fluid by introducing new learning material into a medium that the child is already familiar with. It increases the chance that the child will continue thinking about important concepts and principles after the learning session has finished.
Programmers at code.org have built a Minecraft-themed web tool that’s geared towards teaching children to learn how to code. Their process is well-explored, and it involves a unique interface that reduces the amount of typing that’s required for learning to take place. Generally, code that can be run takes a long time to type out, and it includes quite a few characters and concepts that can create a very large roadblock if the learner isn’t ready to tackle the challenge yet.
The interface at code.org uses blocks with instructions printed on them. The child is instructed to place these blocks in a logical order so they can complete the goal. Each block placed will have an action such as “walk” or “turn” associated with it. The child can then place these blocks in the order that they would like the actions to happen in.
While this sort of interface isn’t quite ready to make programming concepts like data structures or red-black trees accessible for a child, it has quite a few merits that make it worth consideration. Most notably, it instills the idea that a very small set of functions can be used to tackle a wide variety of tasks when logical loops are used properly. It also mimics the flow of scripts, which generally run from the beginning to the end straightforwardly. The interface at code.org might not be ready to cover the concepts of compilers, pointers, classes, or anonymous functions, but it’s undoubtedly an important starting point that can be valuable for many parents who are looking to give their child an advantage. Finally, there are other more advanced programming resources available for older children. From Codakid.com, we can see that Minecraft is being used to teach Java programming skills through a tutorial that gives instructions for adding features to the game. Projects like these are some of the most important because they lay down the fundamentals that are necessary for learning and engagement in the subject for years to come. Some individuals mod the game for fun on a private Minecraft server years into their professional coding careers. Their tutorial covers various concepts. On their website, you can learn how to add new items, blocks, functions, creatures, and land features.