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The subjects of coding and robotics do a great job taking up the "T" in "STEAM," but what do these broad terms encompass, exactly - and why is it so important for them to be included when it comes to educating and engaging young minds?
When parents are asked to envision a topic that's rigorous, challenging, and intellectually stimulating for their children, chances are that coding and robotics are two of the first to come to mind. It's for good reason - while the value in STEAM subjects like these two can't be denied, the prospect of actually learning their ropes can seem intimidating to many, especially when it comes to introducing new and unfamiliar concepts like them to younger minds.
But though getting your children into coding can seem daunting at first glance, it doesn't have to be rocket science. Contrary to popular belief, children can start learning the basics of coding and robotics at just five or six years old! World-famous institutions like MIT offer specially designed coding courses for kids just beginning to get familiar with technology, and teaching it as part of academic curriculums is starting to pick up around the world as well. No matter what they hope to do in the future, giving your child an early start on familiarizing themselves with tech is never a bad idea in our 21st century society.
There's a reason experts and educators have started to call coding "the new literacy." Learning to code doesn't just mean learning to write programs and build robots; it also means exercising critical and creative thinking, developing top-notch problem-solving skills, and knowing how to express yourself in a language designed for efficiency and productivity. It means taking the core concepts behind the STEAM framework of education and applying them to the real world, so that your child's knowledge and understanding of the media around them can be enhanced to the max.
Coding and robotics aren't just important skills for children to learn - in our technology-driven world, they're almost necessary. So why exactly are these subjects so important in the context of STEAM?
To start small, coding and robotics are about more than just the numbers involved in the process. When you sign your child up for a coding class, they become instantly immersed in the digital world. Even though younger children can't learn the complex languages and detailed systems that professional programmers are experts in, there's more than enough material for them to get started on the same STEAM content in a lighter, more kid-friendly fashion that's perfect for beginners.
For example, your child might be guided to start with a block-based coding language like Scratch or Blockly. Instead of requiring users to memorize complicated strings of text and commands, these languages use blocks as an interface so that young audiences can learn the concepts behind code in a visual, easy-to-understand way. Through languages like scratch, children can then create their own projects like short animations and simple video games, which lets them flex their imagination and learn about technology in a creative way unique to STEAM education.
When your child has grasped the first basics of coding, that's when they can proceed on to bigger and more exciting projects like the ones involved in robotics! Here, they can build their own mini-creations through hands-on learning and watch with wonder as they move, talk, and play at their command. These two subjects are intimately connected because the skills required for each one build a perfect feedback loop into each other - a good understanding of technology and problem-solving is necessary to start in robotics, but the practical, hands-on experiences gained from learning robotics is also essential to succeed at coding.
That's exactly why giving children a solid foundation in both coding and robotics is not only recommended, but needed to maximize their full intellectual potential... which, of course, brings us to our next subject.
In our world, technology is omnipresent all around us, meaning that whether we like it or not, we're using, communicating, and actively engaging with it practically every single day. That's why it's so crucial for children to understand the why's and how's behind all the media they interact with on a daily basis. Becoming proficient in technology helps them gain the knowledge and skills they need to develop, and it prepares them for a successful future in a world that depends on computers to survive.
In STEAM programs that are concentrated towards tech, your child won't just learn the basics of how to program and how to build, either. Coding helps develop and enhance a whole host of other skills and qualities, including but not limited to:
1.) Logical and critical thinking. Your children will learn how to tackle challenging problems, how to break them down into manageable segments, and how to resolve them in the most efficient way possible.
2.) Creativity and innovation. Coding offers children the opportunity to exercise their imagination and think outside the box to solve problems, which is an absolutely essential ability to have in the workforce.
3.) Perseverance, determination, and grit. Learning coding and robotics teaches patience. Children who are experienced in these subjects know not to give up when they fail; instead, they have the motivation to try again and again until their code functions, their robot moves as intended, and their project is successful.
4.) Self-confidence. Succeeding at the difficult problems that coding and robotics presents to them lets your child grow their sense of confidence in their abilities. Confident children don't just believe in themselves; they're also more likely to overcome obstacles, take risks, and seek out new and exciting challenges.
Of course, the importance of programs that teach children coding can be traced all the way back to STEAM: a multifaceted, five-pointed approach to education whose ultimate goal is to inspire a love for learning in children. Coding and robotics, as subjects rooted in technology, both fall neatly under the "T" in STEAM's framework. Because STEAM aims to deliver an all-inclusive style of learning that combines the best of its five core subjects to set children up for academic success, these two skills are absolutely essential to make the most of their education and their career.
STEAM isthe future, and as the leading educational approach of the next generation, it knows to acknowledge the value in learning technology. When your child takes a STEAM class concentrating on coding and robotics, they're actively engaging in a hands-on, interactive experience that will teach them the best of what the two subjects have to offer. STEAM places special emphasis on teaching practical, applicable skills that are foundational for children's futures. That's why coding is one of the most important subjects it recognizes and offers to its students.
Programs and camps like the ones offered at Inspirely | STEAM Education are exemplars of the commitment that STEAM possesses towards maximizing children's potential. Whether your child is learning the basics of scratch coding, expressing their creativity through studying AI and 3D animation, or building simple programs rooted in robotics, they're consistently being challenged and motivated to learn about the digital world at its best.
As a bonus, Inspirely's 100% virtual delivery of its classes promises a unique, convenient experience that streamlines your child's education, so that they can engage in innovative STEAM programs while practicing and applying their technology skills in real time. The entirety of the vast digital world is there for your child to explore - all you have to do is give them the opportunity to unlock its gates.
At Inspirely | STEAM Education, we believe in providing the best possible learning experience for children through an approach to teaching that is engaging, immersive, and vibrant. To learn more about our kid-friendly STEAM programs - including detailed online classes focused on teaching coding and robotics to young minds - feel free to explore our website for more information.