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You hear everywhere that learning how to code prepares your child for the future. Get the inside scoop on what coding camps are all about, and how to choose one that best suits your child.
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As parents who want to do the best for their children,
you know you want to expose your children to coding in some way, but may be
unsure of where to start. Unless your child is self-motivated or you have the luxury of time
(and patience!) to teach a child, expecting him/her to learn to code by reading
a textbook or following an online course is probably not realistic.
How many of
you have heard one or more of the following? “This is boring!” “This is too
hard!” “How much longer?”. Or worse still, you sneak up on them and catch them
playing a game on their computer!
So, you decide to “pull the plug” on this and opt to outsource this effort to a coding camp. You go online and search for “coding camps” which retrieves a slew of options with similar offerings. Which one do you pick?
technology/programming language is the best fit for my child?
If your child cannot type easily, languages such as Scratch with “drag and drop” features
work best. It allows kids to select commands from a menu of programming options.
They can also conceptualize characters, create games and design stories.
helps them think algorithmically, which will prepare them for more complicated
programming later on.
A child who types easily can sign up for Java or Python camps, both languages that are used extensively in industry.
A popular way to learn these languages is by building modifications to the
hugely popular game, Minecraft.
If your child is not into Minecraft, he/she can sign up
for a web design camp and learn HTML,
Overall, choosing a language that is graphical and visually
stimulating is key, as kids need instant gratification and would much
prefer to write code that transforms a pig into a creeper (both Minecraft
entities) than code that yields seemingly boring textual results.
enrolling in a coding camp now really help my child become a programmer in the
The answer to this question comes down to the type of
curriculum offered at the camp. Some coding camps focus on creativity and play
whereas others focus on programming. You will want to find out from the camp
director/instructor what will be included in the curriculum each day and what
the child will be able to do by the end of camp. This can help you ensure that
your child will not be under-challenged or overwhelmed.
For example, if they take a web design camp with us, they will build a website by
the end of the week. They will begin by using drag and drop, creating something
that looks appealing visually. But more importantly, they will delve further
should be able to explain the camp’s goals in terms like these, which can give
you and your child a better idea of what will be offered and whether it is a
good fit for them.
my child stay glued to a computer screen all day?
Good camps recognize the value of play, physical exercise
and socialization. You will want to find out how much time is spent away from the
screen, and the type of activities offered during those times.
can my child retain what he/she learns during camp?
Find out from the camp if your child will have access to
the software after camp ends, or if it can be downloaded and installed. Check
to see if any resources can be provided that will ensure that your child will
not experience brain drain and can continue to learn and improve upon what they
did at camp.
At our tech camps for an example, all camps conclude with a project
showcase where students get to show off their work. They then take home the
project and instructions, so they can continue to explore the technologies well
after camp ends.
qualities would a good coding instructor possess?
A good coding instructor is knowledgeable, engaging and
patient. They know how to make learning fun, when to step back and let the
child figure things out on their own (this contributes to learning) and how to
improvise and challenge the child when the situation demands it. As children
often have a short attention span, a good instructor is patient to explain
instructions repeatedly and in different ways, so as to make sure that the
child understands concepts completely.
At TechSmart Academy, we strive towards delivering a stellar coding camp experience by incorporating all the above principles, and more. Our goal is to foster a genuine love for programming in children and to get them excited about coming to our camps..year after year.
When Justin, a kid at one of our camps, was asked what we could do to improve our camps, he said “null” (“null” is a term used to imply “nothing” in programming) :):)
We offer coding camps (Java, Python, Minecraft modding, Web design, Game design, Mobile app building) during summer and school breaks at community centers, schools and STEM focused organizations at various Bay Area locations. Check out www.techsmartacademy.com for more information.
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