Elon Musk was just ten years old when he taught himself to code.
He designed and sold his very first video game at the age of twelve. Today, Musk is considered a modern day genius who has catapulted us into the space age with his futuristic ideas.
Incredible as it may sound, Elon Musk is not an exception. Every child is born with talent and potential, but the trick is to tap into it at the right time, and give it the right boost. Among Generation Alpha, who are digital natives at birth, the connection with technology starts early. For them, being tech-savvy comes naturally coupled by exposure to digital applications and automation from a young age. Tapping into this interest can produce another Elon Musk in the near future, and this time he/she can come from any remote corner of the world.
It makes sense then to give these digital natives the right tools like coding early in life. Here are some practical reasons why:
Prepares for the New Age Reality
We are fortunate to live in a rapidly changing world where the technological future may be seen well in advance. It has, therefore, become imperative for educators to equip young learners with new age vocabulary from an early age. The sooner we introduce Student to coding, the more confident they would be in taking up challenges and opportunities amid emerging technologies of tomorrow.
Nurtures problem-solving qualities
The future does not belong to the consumers but creators of smart solutions. This makes coding a competency as essential as numeracy and literacy in the modern, globalised world. Teaching coding as an integral part of the curriculum fosters critical thinking and a mindset for innovation from a young age. The ability to code equips students with the proficiency to solve problems and design sustainable solutions.
Enables brain development
Naturally, a skill like coding, which requires active ideation, also offers several benefits for the development of a healthy brain. While working on source code, a child uses areas of the brain that are associated with attention, logic, memory, and language processing. Studies have indicated that students who participate in programming competitions make active use of these parts of the brain which exercises their neural muscles. As a result, these young coders have comparatively higher cognitive and intellectual skills than others.
Develops creative skills
Higher cognitive skills also encourage young minds to think out-of-the-box. Just like Musk used his coding skills to build Space X programme, Student can use their own skills in future to find more solutions to our problems. Who knows, they could find a way to travel through space at a faster rate saving us travel time to the moon and back. Coding gives them an opportunity to experiment and tinker with their ideas and convert them into actual programs that can be applied in real life. This can be a game, an arithmetic tool, or even a robot or a drone. When Students learn to code, they get a chance to create something they love in a new and exciting way.
How to build strong characters
Coding is no longer expertise for the niche but a core capacity to be introduced during a child’s formative years. Coding develops logic, which empowers students to think in a manner that keeps emotions out of the equation wherever necessary. This will help them separate the doable from doubt which builds character. By learning not to mix emotions in tasks wherever unnecessary, they build a strength of character which can help them deal with issues in life better.
We live in a world full of challenges, where humankind cannot wait for decades of research and development for viable and scalable solutions. By building a generation of coders, we will give our world confident and agile leaders who think differently, act fast, and evolve their capabilities in every situation. No wonder, the New Education Policy, launched recently by the Union Government of India, instructs educational institutions to teach coding starting middle school.