You may have heard the story of a 14 year old kid who clinched a deal with the government in the Indian state of Gujarat to make anti-landmine drones for the army. When we read such story, the question that comes to our mind, “Is conventional education and subjects like languages, math and science sufficient at the elementary level?”
This question struck to me some time back when my 9 year old son asked me if he can create his own Minecraft game. My first thought was that it will be too early for his age to do that. But for inquisitive kids born in the 21st century a definite answer is "Yes. They can." Today’s kids are technology experts of tomorrow and we need to provide the most relevant curriculum, applied-learning experiences so that they will have everything they need to flex their innovative muscles.
Bill Gates started programming in early seventies at the age of 13 when people hardly knew about computers. A similar edge is needed for current generation kids. Kids are innovative and curious at this age and teaching computer science and technology at early stage are essential to provide them a competitive edge. Yet across the globe, few children are being taught the basics of computer science. According to a survey from Google and Gallup, 58 % of grade 5 and lower grade students, do not have dedicated classes for computer-science in US. This ratio is worse in other countries. Though the situation is improving but still it’s a discipline left largely to the self-motivated YouTube watchers and the kids lucky enough to be born into tech-minded families with resources.
But a group of nonprofits, educators, tech companies, states, and districts want to change that. The K-12 Computer Science Framework is a “response to the history of inequity in computer science,” said Pat Yongpradit, the chief academic officer at Code.org, one of the organizations steering the initiative.
We need to spread the work of such initiatives so that kids can create their own Star War game or make remote controllers to control a drone or robot. Here I am sharing the details of few charitable and non charitable websites which can be used by parents to introduce the new age learning concepts of computer science to their kids.
Code.org (https://code.org/) :- Code.org, is a non profitable and provides the leading curriculum for K-12 computer science in the largest school districts in the United States. They provide courses for early, middle, and late elementary students which are for 20 hours. Most of the courses are free and based on Drag Drop concepts. Many programs are based on Mine craft, Star wars, Frozen and kids really like to program that.
Scratched (http://scratched.gse.harvard.edu/guide) : Scratched is also a nonprofit organization, situated at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Scratch is a programming language that makes it easy to create interactive art, stories, simulations, and games.
Tynker (https://www.tynker.com/):- Tynker is a profit organization that teaches kids to create apps, build games, control robots of fly drones. The Tynker programming language is designed to teach children to program without the frustrations of syntax. The curriculum is organized into grade-specific courses where students move at their own pace through scaffolded lessons to learn concepts and apply them creatively.
Code Monkey (https://www.playcodemonkey.com/) :- CodeMonkey is fun and yet educational gaming environment where students learn to code in a real programming language. They have more than 300 story modes and skill mode challenges which can be taught full year, 1/2 year, or quarterly. They use Coffee Script as a programming language.
One main challenge of buying self-paced learning program is that kids lose focus before completing the full curriculum. To overcome these challenges, many websites like www.OLEHC.com run instructor led self- designed and customized paced-programs which can help kids to resolve their queries and get full value from these programs.