Learning Programming: How And When To Start A Child

2021-01-27   |   by CusiGO

A lovely yellow cat smiles at us on the screen. On your left, several color blocks show your action options: we can tell you to go, take two steps, say “meow” or change your clothes. There is no complex code, only a set of chips to create and play where these pieces fit, just like a jigsaw puzzle. We use scratch programming language, which looks simple in principle. It’s just one of many programs for children, like Organization code Arduino, Robles… The list varies by age and is varied. But when did you start programming? What are the benefits of it? Isn’t it a risk that children will soon be attracted to the screen? We try to solve all these problems with the help of educational experts.

Experts generally believe that, like music, the earlier you start programming, the better, because what really develops is a mindset, a series of logic and problem-solving skills. Professor German Montoro, President and representative of UAM information technology, explained to retina country that from about 3 to 4 years old, as long as the use is suitable for its ability, development level and development level Adult supervision. Psychologist and family therapist Laura Aull ó Gonz á lez supports this view, adding that programming does not necessarily mean starting with numbers, because analog chip games can help develop this logical mathematical thinking.

“A lot of people think they’re just programming in code. Obviously, 80% of the time, but it doesn’t have to be in the first place. In fact, in professional programming, we often use visual language, namely block programming. Similarly, children can learn to program with digital or physical blocks. They can start playing this game in two to three years, until they are six years old, and they can start using scratch or scratch in primary school Organization code “There’s a lot of visual programming there,” explains Melchor g ó mez, a professor of educational technology at UAM.

Another key issue is the recommended maximum time to carry out this activity, as it should be able to shoot time-consuming screens. Antoine Garcia, CEO and founder FutureNet Steam school in a box is a school specializing in this kind of learning. It provides courses for families through the Internet, usually occupying only one day a week. They also have agreements with universities or institutions of secondary school age on programming subjects, which in this case can be routine courses.

Garcia commented that at present, due to the indiscriminate use of video games and Youtube Videos, the screen has been stigmatized, but he made it clear that the use of the screen is not necessarily negative. For him, it’s wrong to confuse action with media: “if what you do is create, not consume other people’s creation, if you are developing programming related skills, the more time you spend, the more motivated you are.”

For Gomez, there is no maximum or minimum time to learn programming: “I don’t think it’s just how much, but how.” he agrees that the problem with screens is that they are abused: “if you give a child a screen, like a pacifier, he’ll stay there for a few hours, so you don’t have to take care of him, So, I suggest you spend a few hours, which is actually almost no time. “For Professor UAM, teaching how to use these devices should be similar to what we do in the physical world, He gave us an example of the first time we took our children to the park: “let’s not leave him there and come back in three hours. When you are with him, you teach him what he can play and what he can’t… Because the technology is the same: you have to be with them, you have to be there and make them feel like you’re there. With this format, you can stay a few more hours. ”

Garcia supports the importance of being present in the learning process. ” That doesn’t mean leaving him alone on an app or website so he can start solving “you’ll show me later.”. “There has to be a kind of social interaction, especially with the smallest people,” he explained In their classroom, they try to teach through social learning and games, in which students help, motivate and entertain each other. ” If I put you in front of an app or a book and leave you alone, you’ll get frustration. It’s not a game. What makes it an inspiring experience is that it’s a social experience, seeking a relationship, not a child with only one machine. ”

The list of applications and languages is quite long, but experts suggest the following to us based on age:

4-6 years old: adapt to the environment.

It can start with games and puzzles. In the middle of Organization code And csunplugged have many examples with chip printing and other resources. Small scratch is a simplified version of scratch. This programming language enables children aged 5 to 7 to enter the world of symbolic programming intuitively, even if they are illiterate.

Age 7 and above:

The most recommended is scratch. This project, developed by the lifelong kindergarten group, a media lab at MIT, has been imitated by many other platforms based on its methodology. Unlike other applications, it is available in Spanish and is free of charge. ” I’ve always suggested that you start with scratches. It’s very convenient and intuitive. It mixes control instructions together as if they were part of a jigsaw puzzle. The advantage of it is that every widget will be converted into a one-line programming language. This is a good way to contact programming for the first time. I will choose such a tool, “said Javier Alcala, Director of master’s program in UPM video game design and development.

G ó mez, who teaches other teachers new technologies in schools, also says they use apps like cospace and lightbot Jr. in primary schools.

11 years and above:

There are a lot of options, but experts recommend mainly aduino and roblo. Arduino is an open source platform dedicated to promoting the use of electronic devices, allowing programming and moving to the robotics world.

About roblox, which is also free, Antoine Garcia said he was “like a united brother.” Unity is a professional programming language, and with roblox, you can do something very similar, but in a simpler environment: build your own video games on a semi professional level and see the results. ” It’s a perfect middle point between 100% teaching tools like scratches and professional tools like solidarity. In the middle of this is roblox, a perfect evolution for serious learning about programming, but with a sense of playing games, “he said.

Another simpler option is to use the popular minecraft game programming, in which case you need to purchase a minecraft Java Edition license, which costs 23.95 euros (lifetime).

15 years and above:

Ideally, Garcia explains, it’s better to start early, but if you start at this age and don’t have any prior knowledge, you can start with roblus or aduino. If you already have some programming knowledge, you can use two very interesting tools: unity and phyton. Phyton is an open source unified language, which is free for students and individuals.

Alcala also believes that once you develop a scratch type language, you can start to try other object-oriented languages, such as Java.

And adults from scratch?

Alcala also suggests starting with Java because it’s simple. ” If you learn a common language, such as Java, once you know one language, it’s easier to adapt to another, because you already know its semantics. ”

Gonzalez believes that “at the neurocognitive level, learning to program is much more useful than watching TV. For example, you passively receive information on TV. However, in programming, you are an active agent, and when you think, your brain makes new connections. ”

According to Antolin Garc í a, students’ parents say their children’s grades have improved and their performance is more stable, as do their own children. ” I think it gives them a certain amount of logic, creativity and resilience. If something goes wrong, you have to stick to it. Facing programming problems is a way to cultivate character, because you have to resist the setbacks of failure, and if you want to succeed, you have to stick to it. FutureNet Yeah.

Gomez supports this view, adding that such activities contribute to the plasticity of thinking. ” Whether you program or not, you learn that there are several ways to solve a problem, not one. The biggest drawback of mathematics is that children are taught that all problems have a single solution, while other problems are wrong, which is not true. There are many possible solutions to all problems, and programming can give you that plasticity, “he said.

Other advantages? For example, Gomez gives you the ability to plan, which is necessary for any field, but also increases the rigor of programming: “if you skip an instruction, a command, you won’t get to the end.”

So, what are the negative aspects of programming? Professor UAM said very clearly: “the main danger of programming is that many centers, teachers and institutions take learning programming as their goal, and programming itself is not the goal, It’s a way to learn how to develop and create something else, “and make it clear that, interestingly, programming will integrate interdisciplinary into other disciplines.

The role of parents in this activity is crucial. However, at the beginning of this kind of learning, it is sometimes healthier to find a good course at home, because the relationship between children and their families is different from that between them and their teachers, who are usually more patient and methodical.

In any case, Melchor g ó mez stressed that parents need to be involved in their children’s digital use. Some people don’t want to know about the YouTube, social networks and video games they use, so it’s hard to manage. ” If you forbid him, wrong, if you don’t know him, worse, because you don’t know what they’re looking at, you can’t accompany him or help him. If you leave them alone on their cell phones or computers for a few hours, it can lead to addiction or privacy risks. There must be an adult nearby. Not looking, but nearby. We call it digital presence, so kids are safe. “