“Too often we give children answers to remember rather than problems to solve.” – Roger Lewin
This quote best summarises where our educational system lacks. The truth being, unconsciously we may stimulate a habit of memorizing the “right” answers in kids rather than have them figure it out for themselves- for the sake of good grades in school. This in return, leads to a set of underdeveloped skills.
A child might be able to solve a shapes puzzle by simply replicating what they see in the book, but does this mean they understand why or how the shapes fit into their respective holes? This is where Computational Thinking comes into play.
What is Computational Thinking?
Computational Thinking is nothing but a problem-solving skill. A process of analysing the problem and simply finding the best solution for it. Here are some key skills to keep in mind:
- Breaking it down into separate, distinct parts; known as Decomposition
- Identifying similarities between each part; known as Pattern Recognition
- Recognizing relevant information and opportunities to simplify the problem; known as Abstraction
- Implementing all data gathered to create reasonable and efficient solutions; known as Algorithms
While hard tech skills are very important, it’s the softer skills of reasoning and problem-solving those benefit kids superbly in the future. This is the main reason why computational thinking is so valuable.
It’s important to emphasize the fact that all kids are capable of computational thinking. Some children may take to it more naturally than others, but it is still a skill. Similarly, like all other skills, it can be acquired, practiced, improved upon, and refined. By nurturing this skill, children will learn how to create, innovate, and automate. They’ll learn how to think outside the box, testing boundaries and conceptualizing revolutionary ideas.
How Can Coding Help Boost Computational Thinking?
Coding is an excellent activity for kids allowing all the four elements of Computational Thinking to be embedded in kids’ minds.
While learning how to code, kids need to decompose their project into a working script with different elements (i.e., a line of code that will start, end, and analyse the solution). This enhances their time management skills. Children are not overwhelmed by the entire situation, learning how to handle it one step at a time.
They need to recognize patterns in the said script, oftentimes having to cross-reference their current code with previous ones they’ve seen or written. This helps them with information retention and visualization as well as building their logical thinking skills.
The codes need to be cleaned up through pattern recognition, removing all the redundant material that will cause an error and reject the final outcome. With this, the child is more likely to be detail-oriented and focuses on one track without causing any errors.
Finally, they use algorithms to write the final code into viable lines and sections that other coders can recognize and understand. This builds their communication skills. Children get better at translating concepts into actionable steps and visualise their final product in action.
With coding, kids are able to create excellent video games for themselves and absorb and relish the entire process.
We have a lineup of attractive games, inspired by some of the young generation’s favourite ‘Among Us’ and ‘Flappy Birds’ and teach them how to build their own version using easy-to-use software like MIT Scratch & Construct3. Try building a game for free by signing up at this link: bit.ly/itrainkids-hoc and experience the magic first-hand!