How to choose the right coding program for your child?
Many times I get questions from parents, What is the difference between visual block platforms & text-based coding?
There are a lot of coding platforms out there that claim to be teaching your kid “real coding languages”. In this article, my focus is to talk about these different coding platforms (teaching methods) and what are according to me pros and cons of these programs. So as a parent you can make the right decision for your child.
Visual Block Platform programming/coding
As the name suggests, kids use visuals to develop programs, they do not write the actual text for code. These drag and drop, visual block programming courses can be a good start for kids in 2nd grade and up. They are designed to be fun and easy but are also designed to be tools that you outgrow. They are more like puzzle solving for coding or more like Montessori style teaching for coding. This method of coding has its own limitations like kids do not get the actual feel of programming. so they do not set the right perception.
Platforms like Code.org, Scratch, Tynker, and others believe that typing should not become an impediment in computer science education. They feel that kids can learn many of the same coding concepts through a more visual, tactile approach. We think that these platforms can be very helpful for younger learners, but that they should serve as a bridge to text-based coding.
Modified(customized) Texted based Coding with UI(Visual) output
These platforms do have their own text-based coding console but their codes are simplified by using already built APIs. Even though kids get the opportunity to type their own code and get to learn most coding concepts, and output is visually pleasing, these programs will work only on specific platforms and need to be changed to run in a real-time coding console for example many customized coding console’s python programs will not run on python IDLE and PyCharm on your own laptop.
If your child is learning python, do ask the instructor can this code work on my computer if I install python software. If the answer is no or if a minor change is required, you need to be aware of it. Learning coding language should be universally applied to all platforms. Kids should not feel restricted to one platform.
Online Text-based Coding (with lesson plans free and paid)
There are online programs that use real programming languages and professional-grade coding tools. The courses are taught in such a way that students as young as age 8 can follow along and have a fun time learning.
The advantage of this approach is that students gain knowledge-creating real software and they can go at their own pace.
I truly believe this opens up many opportunities for them in their future. The only drawback I see, these programs are self-driven and kids do not get instant help debugging the code if they have errors in code. These programs can be the best fit if kids have help at home and they are very motivated to learn.
Text-Based coding (Instructor-led classes)
The Benefit of joining our program is no transition required (like block coding to text-based coding). Kids get prepared for future tech needs right away. They learn the concepts and are ready to apply them in real-time.
All our programs are developed keeping kids in thought. They are broken down into well-categorized lesson plans with fun projects to work on.