Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Education series (5/7): Learn to Code, Code to Learn

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In today's hi-tech, wired world 'Digital Native', is a very commonly used contemporary term.

Digital Native - A person born or brought up during the age of digital technology & so familiar with computers and the internet from an early age. (Definition from English Oxford Dictionary)

As today's children (digital natives) are exposed to technology from their early years, we intuitively believe, it gives them greater familiarity & understanding of technology, in comparison to previous generations.

Mitch Resnick (Director - Lifelong Kindergarten Group at MIT Media Lab), convincingly expresses his skepticism about this general belief, in his TED Talk (Nov 2012, Brookline Massachusetts).

He asks us a pertinent question - "How do young people spend most of their time using new technologies?

From our personal experiences, we know children's (digital natives) interaction with technology is primarily browsing, watching videos, listening to music, chatting, texting & gaming.

Hence Mitch argues, digital natives are familiar interacting with new technologies, but they don't know how to create something original, by using technology.

"It's like they can read, but cannot write with new technologies." - Mitch.

In other words, children know how to use the codes (program), but they don't know how to code (create a program).

In today's digital world, coding has become a fundamental skill, irrespective of schools including coding in their curriculum or not.

With IoT, Robotics, AI, Machine Learning becoming the order of the world, learning the fundamentals of coding during their student life, empowers our children with awareness & understanding of coding (ability to write technology).

To help children learn to code, Mitch Resnick & his team, at Lifelong Kindergarten Group at MIT Media Lab have developed SCRATCH.

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SCRATCH is a programming language, which is Lego-like, drag & drop, visual & interactive. Children can learn fundamentals of coding (programming), using SCRATCH, in a playful manner.

It is designed as an educational tool designed especially for children between 8 to 16 years of age.
It is available online, free of cost.

Parents & Educators, can make use of SCRATCH, to help their children to Learn to Code. The children will eventually Code to Learn.

Learn to Code, Code to Learn!

Link for accessing SCRATCH:

Link for Mitch Resnick's TED Talk:

Requesting you, to spread the word around by sharing this blogpost. Through your thoughtful gesture of spreading awareness on SCRATCH, many students can get benefited from this free of cost, global educational tool. Thank You!