The ability to program is as important as the ability to read. These are the demands of the market and the new world. We analyze the report of the Higher School of Economics “Universal competencies and new literacy” and tell why and how to teach a child to program.

Why programming is part of the new literacy

Computer literacy skills help anyone solve everyday and professional tasks. According to a study by the Open University of Israel, programming stimulates creative thinking and builds learning skills. The authors of the report “Universal Competencies and New Literacy” compare the development of computer literacy with the stages of development of literacy as the ability to read, write and count. In the first step, the text becomes part of the infrastructure. They are central to people’s lives. The text was used as a tool for creating laws and developing strategies. This is especially true of land laws, which began to be formalized in the form of written texts instead of personal certificates. At the second stage, the text becomes an integral part of everyday life. Through massive campaigns to eradicate illiteracy since the 19th century, most people have mastered the skills of writing and reading. Literacy helped to gain access to information in newspapers with descriptions of events, in booklets with advice for farmers, and accounts for tracking arrears. The more people mastered the skills of reading and writing, the more widespread literacy was to become.

How programming teaches you to solve problems

Programming develops computational thinking. This is a set of techniques for solving problems in computer science, but applicable in any field. For example, computational science helps in education. A special platform collects data on student activities. The instructor uses the data to track ineffective assignments to design a new curriculum. Computational thinking teaches you how to formulate a problem, find a solution, and analyze it. Programming is part of computational thinking and the most efficient way to master it. For example, before programming, we analyze and break a task into subtasks. Programming concretizes computational thinking and can become a tool for gaining knowledge.

Why Teach Children to Program

The ideologist of constructivism in pedagogy Jean Piaget proposed the following idea: children learn faster when they themselves form their own ideas about what they have seen and make their own conclusions, and not when they are told how they should perceive the world. Children turn out to be not passive recipients of knowledge, but, on the contrary, construct it themselves. You can teach your son or daughters to program especially we are on the pandemic, you can teach them while in the house celebrating daughter day.

How to teach children to program

According to research on the development of computational thinking, formal environments develop systems thinking and attitudes, while informal environments help children develop motivation and identify areas of interest. The ideal setting should be a mix of both. The diffusion of technology is blurring the lines between formal and non-formal education. The teacher no longer needs to “pass through himself” all educational programs – the students themselves build new connections with the world. Professors Kafai and Burke created two learning environments to assess the differences between structured learning and extra-curricular environments. In each of them, students created digital stories with the same teacher for ten weeks. According to the study, in the extracurricular environment, fewer children completed their projects but made them harder and larger. The students in the club used more creative programming skills and collaborated twice as much with their peers. At the same time, for those who are just getting acquainted with programming, a structured lesson will be more effective.