Category Archives: Skills

Text-based and block-based coding for kids

Tech has become inevitably present in our everyday lives and will become even more so a few years from now. In consequence, tech or XXI century skills have passed from novelty to an actual necessity. Learning how to code has quickly become a must in every school, rather than just an elective. Coding enables children to express their creativity through another language, the language of the future.

You may be wondering if a child of any age can learn how to code…. well, believe it or not, the answer is yes. Even kids who can’t read and write yet can do it. Yes, as surprising as it might sound, it’s true. This is possible because there are 2 types of coding languages: block-based and text-based (line) code. Let’s explore a little bit more about the coding languages that your child can start with.

Block-based coding

About 20 years ago the MIT Media Lab introduced the concept of block-based code with a language named Scratch. The objective was to create a way to program computers by simply dragging and dropping puzzle blocks that represented complex programming commands. This new method opened the doors for kids to create through programming without having to write a single line of code. With block-based code, teaching and learning the basics of computer science became accessible to young learners.

Text-based and block-based coding for kids

But how does block-based code work? Block-based code, or visual coding, uses colorful drag and drop shapes in a workspace to simulate the coding. Children can create sequences of actions according to the color-coded categories they choose. There are movement blocks, control or events blocks, blocks for adding loops, variables, and functions. 

Block-based code is the simplest and most fun way for kids to start learning the logic of coding. The best thing about this is that despite being a simplified form of code, your children will be able to create and run games, apps and animations. Besides, block-based code will give them a solid basis to understand text-based code later.

Scratch is one of the most popular block-based coding languages out there. We actually use Scratch in some of our Micro Coding Classes because it favors pattern recognition, enhancing the understanding of the structure and logic behind programming. Additionally, block-based coding is a great first step for kids to go from the basics of programming to a more advanced level with text-based line code used by professionals.

Text-based coding

On the other hand, we have text-based line coding. This type of coding language is basically typing instructions while following syntax. Syntax, just like in spoken languages, is the grammar and spelling rules of a coding language. It can easily be introduced to kids after they understand block-based coding or if they are at an appropriate developmental age.

Learning the syntax of text-based coding languages is easier when kids recognize that each section of text-based code corresponds to the blocks they learned with block-based code. This is where kids will start understanding text-based coding languages and applying real computer science knowledge.

In simple terms, text-based programming languages are typed using a keyboard and stored as text files rather than the drag and drop style that block-based code uses. Some of the most popular text-based programming languages are Python, Java (used in Minecraft), and JavaScript.

With text-based coding, kids, and even expert coders, can tackle some typical problems while starting coding. Some of the most common ones are Syntax Errors, Code Styling, and Readability. These are small and very common errors that learning how to face can help kids better understand the languages and processes they are learning.

The question about when we should start teaching our kids text-based coding often arises. And the answer is, there’s no specific age to start with. To use text-based code, kids should know how to write and read, but other than that there’s not a specific age when to start. Actually, just like in any other spoken language, the earlier a child is exposed to it, the easier it is for them to catch it. 

Conclusion

Learning to code at a young age is a fundamental skill that will grow in children as they enter into adulthood. It enables children to understand the technology that surrounds them, becoming not just users, but developers and creators of their own reality. 

Best coding languages for teenagers

Coding is an incredibly useful skill for almost everyone. It helps you understand how things work, solve problems, find innovative solutions, attention to detail, and plenty more. Learning to code at a young age can really improve the development of these fundamental life skills and open new career and job opportunities for the future. But, deciphering all the different coding languages available for teenagers can seem intimidating, especially if they are just getting started!

Since coding is an essential 21st-century skill, there are numerous coding languages designed to teach youngsters how to start coding. Choosing the right coding language for your child’s age can open a window into the world of programming. The better your child understands one of these languages (including its syntax and grammar), the more likely they’ll be able to create, design and code whatever they want. But, before finding out the best coding languages for teenagers you might want to know “what’s a coding language?”

What is a coding language?

A coding language is a language we use to give instructions that a computer can follow. Those instructions allow us to develop software programs, scripts, or other sets of instructions for computers to execute. Like in spoken languages, such as Spanish or Italian, coding languages can share similarities, but each one has its own rules. In coding languages, these rules are called syntax. And unlike spoken languages, if there’s a slight error in your syntax, the computer won’t be able to understand what you want. That’s why coding requires so much dedication and attention to detail.

Fortunately, there are plenty of options out there for every skill and experience level. Usually, block-based code is used to introduce kids to code since it’s less intimidating because it involves dragging “blocks” of code with the instructions you want to give to the computer. But, more advanced coders can start exploring text-based code with coding languages designed especially for them.

Best coding languages for teens - Minecraft

Below, we’ll break down the characteristics, advantages, and level of challenge of the coding language we think are best for teens to engage with code. Java, Lua, and C# are among the most popular, so let’s take a closer look at each one!

Java:

Java is the coding language used in Minecraft and one of the most widely used coding languages in the world. This makes it a great option for kids that love playing Minecraft as they will be more motivated to stick with it since they can use it to actually modify the game of Minecraft. It is also the perfect approach to get a better understanding of coding and keep growing in the matter in the future. 

Java works on different platforms (Windows, Mac, Linux, Raspberry Pi, etc.), and is also easy to learn and simple to use. Besides its versatility, Java is secure, fast and powerful, allowing its users to make game engines, Android mobile apps, large backend environments, and much more!

Recommended for:

  • Teens who play Minecraft and want to level up their game experience
  • Teens who want to explore programming concepts
  • Teens who already have a background in coding and want to strengthen their skills

Featured courses: Modding in Minecraft

Lua:

Lua is a powerful and fast coding language that is easy to learn and use. That’s why it is probably the perfect language to start learning with. Lua is lightweight and designed essentially for embedded use in applications. One of the most popular examples is Roblox. Roblox uses Lua to develop actions in the game such as conditionals, loops, variables and more. 

Lua is a multi-paradigm language, which means that it has a set of features that can be applied to many issues. The popularity of Lua comes from its multiple applications. You can not just find Lua in Roblox, World of Warcraft, and Angry Birds but also use Lua code. 

Recommended for:

  • Teens who play Roblox and want to improve their game skills 
  • Teens who want to learn to code quickly
  • Teens  interested in game design

Featured course: Roblox Studio Game Design (Macro)

C#:

C# is the perfect solution for learning to code while making 3D games. C# is a popular coding language used to develop everything from mobile applications and video games to enterprise software. C# it’s very similar to Java, which makes it easier to learn for someone who already knows this coding language. 

C# is a great way to start diving deeper into the world of coding. Because of the multiple applications it has, C# is the fourth most in-demand programming language for jobs.  This makes it an amazing option for middle and high-school students who want to pursue a career in STEM fields.

Recommended for:

  • Teens who are interested in designing video games
  • Teens who would like to explore developing apps for cellphones and tablets
  • Teens who already have explored Java with Minecraft

Featured course: Unity 3D Game Design

We hope this guide helped you obtain a better understanding of the coding languages that can make your children excited about coding. If you need help to decide which one would be a better fit for your child’s skills and interests, you can reach out through our social media accounts. 

STEM skills for the future

STEM-based education teaches children more than math or science concepts, it puts an emphasis on preparing children for the future. The skills that STEM education gives to students extend beyond these fields. In fact, STEM helps children develop valuable skills that enable them to be successful in any industry or field they choose. But what are those valuable skills and how can they use them for a better future?

Before stepping into the skills derived from a STEM-based education, we should understand what STEM really means. STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. The term STEM has become recurrent in school’s curriculum, education policies and skills needed for employment.

STEM skills for the future

STEM is a method of education where these subjects are taught together and not individually. It shows the bridges between these valuable subjects by putting students at the core of the experience. STEM focuses on hands-on experiences, making children active learners instead of passive listeners.

Skills Derived from STEM-based education

The focus on hands-on learning that STEM education encompasses, added to real-world applications, helps children to develop fundamental skills for their future. These so-called 21st-century skills include media and technology literacy, initiative, flexibility, productivity and communication. Perhaps even more importantly, STEM-associated skills like problem-solving, critical thinking, creativity, curiosity, decision making, and acceptance of failure are inherent to this learning style.

Regardless of the interests, passions, or future career paths considered by children, these skills are preparing them to be successful and innovative wherever they go. 

Problem-solving

One of the skills that really makes the difference in any life situation your child could face is problem-solving. One can think of all of life as a series of problems of different complexities, in addition to the problem-solving nature of school, university, or in careers: society requires more problem-solving skills than it ever has before. STEM develops problem-solving skills like no other subject because it encourages kids to experiment, make mistakes and learn from their own experiences to find or create solutions.

Creativity

The ability to think creatively and change standards are the basis of innovation. Creativity isn’t as simple as it sounds, but it is not a skill you are simply born with either; you can train creativity. Learning how to think outside of the box can change the way you approach different situations on a daily basis. STEM-based education teaches how to look at a problem from a different perspective while fostering creativity.

Flexibility

In a world where advances in technology, inventions and knowledge change by the day, flexibility is definitively a much-needed skill. Since technology and science change so quickly, flexibility is also integral in success in STEM-related education since they’re always updating themselves. The ability to be flexible will prove incredibly valuable to keep updated in the ever-changing environment around us. Last, learning to adapt quickly will help your student to adapt to a fast-paced career and job market. 

In addition to these life-changing skills, there are also solid numbers related to the increase in STEM-related job opportunities as shown below.

Projections of  STEM-related occupations:

  • According to PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PwC) 75% of fast-growing occupations require STEM skills.
  • Employment in STEM occupations grew by 10.5% or 817,260 jobs, between May 2009 and May 2015. Compared with 5.2% net growth in non-STEM occupations.
  • Computer occupation is showing the highest number of STEM jobs because of the consistent progression in the digital sector. 
  • As a result of the increasing participation of consumers and businesses in the digital economy, computer-related occupations are expected to grow exponentially in the next 10 years. 
  • STEM workers command much higher wages and are also less likely to experience joblessness than their non-STEM counterparts.

-U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Jan, 2021

(Here you can dive even deeper into the stats surrounding STEM-related occupations)

The data above is solid: needs in the job market are changing. That’s why we place so much emphasis on the importance of learning to code from a young age. Preparing children today to become the innovators, inventors, designers and coders of tomorrow begins with a STEM-based education. From schools, camps, and after-school programs we can create hands-on and real-world experiences to prepare our children for a lifetime of success. 

Let us know how you feel about STEM in the comments and if you’re interested in another blogpost about how you can start exploring STEM skills from home!

How Does Your Child Treat New Kids? 5 Tips That Can Help Them Be More Welcoming

In a perfect world, would you describe your child as welcoming to new kids or standoffish? Most parents want their child to be welcoming and warm, but at CodeREV Kids, we’ve learned over the years that kids often need to be told to reach out to the new kids. We’re proud that our coding classes are inclusive and that we help kids learn to work together, but we also want to offer some advice to parents who want to help their child take a step out of their comfort zone to welcome the new kids.

1. Just tell them the truth

The first tip is very simple: Just sit down with your child and tell them that you hope they’ll be welcoming, open, and accepting to any new kids. Tell them that you hope they’ll smile and say hello when they see a new kid.  

2. Ask them to consider how the new kid feels

It’s common for kids to not welcome the new kid because they don’t realize that it’s something they need to do. Ask them to pretend that they’re the new kid. Would they feel scared? What would they want another kid to say to them? How could your child use that information to help the new kid feel more comfortable? Come up with answers together.

3. Give your child a specific task to do

Give your child one specific goal. It may be to invite any new kids to join them for lunch, it may be to go up and ask them to play during recess, it may be to sit with them on the school bus, or it may be to talk to them before or after school. Giving your child a specific task helps make it easier for them to know how to take initiative.

4. Tell them to help lost kids get to where they need to go

If they see a kid that looks lost, encourage your child to stop and ask if they need help. Even if your child hasn’t mastered every classroom in school, your child will at least know who to ask for help.

5. Show them that asking questions is a good first move

If your child is shy themselves and nervous about approaching a child they don’t know, then simply ask them to walk up to the new kid, introduce themselves, and ask a few questions. This makes it easy for everyone to know what to say as they begin to build up a bond.

The Importance of Teaching Your Child to Take Risks

As a parent, you want to protect your child from as much as you possibly can. As a result, you may hesitate to allow them to take risks, or try to soften the blow if a risk they take doesn’t turn out in their favor. At CodeREV Kids, we actually think it’s important to let your kids take risks. Why? Read on to learn.

Teach kids to take risks while you’re still here to protect them

If you try to shield your child from ever having to take a risk, you’re taking a pretty big risk yourself – the risk that once they’re out of the house they’ll take those risks and you won’t be there to help them.

For example, let’s say your child wants to try out for a competitive singing group. You may worry that they don’t have the experience to go head to head with other students in their grade and you may not think their voice is quite as good as it needs to be. You don’t have to tell your child this – let them learn on their own. Will they be disappointed that they don’t make the singing group? Sure, but they’ll also learn that rejection isn’t as bad as they may have feared.

Have some control over the risks they take

In addition to the risk that your child will grow up afraid to take a risk, you also have the risk that your child will grow up and take severe risks because they’ve never learned the difference between a minor and major risk. For this reason, it makes sense to let your child take a risk today when you have some control over it.

A risk can be as simple as trying something new

Don’t think of a risk as something that could harm your child – just think of it as trying something new. For example, we offer a range of tech camps for kids of all ages. If your child has never taken part in something like this, then they may be afraid. They may be afraid to risk failing.

Teach them that it’s okay to fail. The important thing is to try it in the first place. Our tech camps are a great way to teach your kids problem solving skills, to help them make friends, and to build a strong technology background that can serve them for the rest of their lives.

6 Ways to Help Your Kids Stay Safe Online

Whether we like it or not, we live in an online world. Our kids will be introduced to technology at a very young age and though they may seem as though they’re much tech-savvier than their parents, it’s still up to you to make sure they’re staying safe online. CodeREV Kids believes that technology is an important subject for kids to understand but we also want to keep kid save. Here are six ways to do that.

  1. Make sure private info stays that way. Let your kids know what they can and can’t share online. Start out by asking them what they think it’s okay to share and you are likely to be surprised.
  2. Keep passwords protected. Remind kids not to share their passwords with anyone except their parents and give them some tips on how to choose a password people won’t guess.
  3. Have a download rule. Is it okay for your child to download things without your express permission? If it isn’t, make that clear to them. If it is, then let them know what the parameters are and what’s okay to download versus what isn’t.
  4. Find safe places for them to learn the internet. At CodeREV Kids, we offer a modded Minecraft server that lets kids work on their world while being generally supervised. This gives them a great opportunity to learn about safe online habits.
  5. Make sure the boundaries are clear. It’s important to make sure that your children are aware of what they can and can’t do. Don’t ever assume that they know the rules or that they know what’s dangerous. What seems obvious to an adult will be a mystery to a child who doesn’t have experience with the internet.
  6. Monitor online relationships. Make sure that your children understand that it’s never okay for them to meet, talk to, or accept gifts from someone they met online without your permission.

The above tips are great ideas if you want to let your kids get online but also want to feel confident that they’re being safe. However, remember that there’s no substitute for good old fashioned being involved. Ask your kids what they’re doing online, make sure they’re accessing the internet in a public space, and feel free to share stories with them about good and bad experiences online.

Technology is Important for Kids but Make Sure You’re Aware of the Risks

At CodeREV Kids, we certainly that technology is not only a necessary part of any child’s future but that it’s a good thing that can help them develop into critical thinking, problem solving citizens of the world. That said, there are some limits. We have developed this list of the three main things to ensure your kids are aware of as they branch out into the world of collaborative technology.

Make sure they know what to do if they see or experience cyberbullying

The most recent Pew Report shows that more than 85% of teenagers say they’ve seen people being cruel on social media. Remember that though cyberbullying may be most often done online, it can also happen via text and utilizing other types of technology. Teach your child to come talk to you or another adult if it’s happening to them, and teach them to stand up for other students if they see them being cyberbullied.

Your child’s identity needs to be safe

Most people likely think of identity theft as an issue that only affects adults. The truth is that children can also get their identities stolen – most specifically their social security numbers. In fact, it can be to a thief’s benefit to steal a child’s social security number over that of an adult because a child likely won’t find out for many years – and by that time the proof will be long gone.

Your child should know who they’re talking to

The fact that the internet, and other forms of technology, can be so anonymous means that people who have less-than-good intentions. You don’t need to go into all the different ways a person could be up to no good, but you can prepare your kids for how they must verify who someone is. Make sure your child knows why they shouldn’t have secret phone calls or secret meetings.

CodeREV Kids offers a safe place for your kids to learn technology

One of the reasons that CodeREV Kids is involved in this field is because we do want kids to learn the latest technology, including coding, and we want kids to have a safe space to do that. If you have questions about the many classes we offer, or how those classes can benefit your child, then we welcome you to reach out via telephone, email, or even stop by one of our locations.

4 Ways to Nurture a Growth Mindset in Your Children

There’s been a lot of press recently about supporting a child’s growth mindset. But what does this mean? In short, the growth mindset is one in which failure doesn’t define you, but is rather an opportunity to learn something new. For kids with a growth mindset, effort is the reward, whether they fail or succeed. Here are four ways you can help encourage this attitude in your child.

1. Be the change you want to see

First and foremost, model the growth mindset yourself. For example, talk to your kids every day about what you learned, what mistakes you made, and what you learned from those mistakes. Then talk to them about everything you put effort into, whether you completed it or not. Before long, your kids will be joining in with their own answers and will unknowingly be using a growth mindset themselves.

2. Praise your child’s effort – not their ability

You should praise your child but if you praise them for being talented or intelligent, then you’re putting them into a fixed mindset in which those factors can be changed, whether they make good or bad choices. Instead, focus on how much effort they’ve put into things, and complement the strategies they use.

3. Work with your children to reframe their thinking

A person who’s truly adopted a growth mindset never asks, “Is it possible to do this?” they ask “How can I do this?” Encourage your kids to work on processes that test their abilities. Some of the coding classes at CodeREV Kids are especially good for helping kids learn how to think critically and solve problems.

4. Don’t sugar coat failure

If your child fails, praise their effort and move on to helping them find ways they can improve the next time they’re in that situation. If you don’t acknowledge the failure at all, then you’re going to take a mistake and turn it into a way of life.

Most people have mixed feelings about following a growth mindset and in encouraging their children to do so. The bottom line is that of course it’s up to you how you encourage your child. At CodeREV Kids, we just think it’s smart to learn from mistakes and find other ways to move forward. To learn more about the many classes we offer for kids, reach out to us or stop by one of our classrooms today!

5 Simple Tips to Help Your Kids Ace Their Next Test

Every parent wants their child to do well in school but not all of us know the best way to help them accomplish that goal. At CodeREV Kids, we’ve compiled five simple tips you can follow to help your kids be prepared for their next test.

1. Make a plan for studying well in advance

Deadlines have a way of sneaking up on all of us, regardless of age. Teach your children to make a study plan as soon as they know the date of their test. Then check with them daily or weekly to see that they’re on track. There’s simply no substitute for studying over time versus cramming in the day or two before the test.

2. Be ready for the format of the test

Many students concentrate so hard on learning the material on a test that they forget to work on the format of the test. For example, if your child isn’t used to essay tests, then you may need to help them learn how to organize them. If they don’t know the best strategies for multiple choice tests, then you may need to help them.

3. Remember that it’s not all about school

You do want to help them focus but you don’t want them so stressed about their tests that they end up worrying themselves out of a good grade. We recommend fun activities that help improve their critical thinking skills overall, like coding classes.

4. Attitude matters

A single test isn’t going to make or break your child’s entire educational career. You do want them to do well, but if they don’t, let them know that you can learn from that experience. You don’t want to pressure your child so much that they aren’t able to do their best on a test.

5. Overall health is important

Make sure your child gets a good breakfast the day of their test, and plenty of sleep the night before. Regular experience can help boost brain activity too. There are of course many reasons to try and ensure your child is healthy but improving their test scores should be one of them.

At CodeREV Kids we are in the business of helping kids succeed. As their parent, there are many things you can do to help them learn to excel, including the tips above. Feel free to reach out if you’d like to know more about how coding can be a part of this strategy.

Are Electronic Devices Good or Bad for Your Kids?

Every generation of parent has a unique issue to worry about. Today’s generation often wonders: is technology, and the resulting electronics, good or bad for my kid? In a world where tablets are made for children of all ages, this isn’t an unreasonable question. At CodeREV Kids we have a strong opinion on this.

First of all, we believe that every parent is the best judge of what can help their child. That said, we also believe that technology can be incredibly helpful to children. Remember that your job as a parent is to prepare your child for the world. That world you’re preparing them for is filled with technology. If you want them to be ready for it, then they must be comfortable with technology.

Not only will a familiarity with technology help your kid be comfortable in the world, but it can help them thrive and stay a step ahead of their competition. You’d be amazed by the things kid can create today! All they need is to know some basic coding. The best way for them to get this knowledge is through hands-on coding classes that help them learn through games, apps, and even robots.

If you’re still not sure why this is a good thing for kids, take a moment to learn why coding can be so helpful for kids. We love the fact that they can both build cool things, but they can also learn skills that are important in the larger world. Some of the traits that learning coding can help kids build include:

  • Having an active mind that’s ready to learn anything.
  • Learning how to form strategies and follow-through on tasks they begin.
  • Practical STEM skills that help in a variety of subjects.
  • Problem-solving skills.
  • Hands-on skills.

Now, does this mean that it’s a good idea to plop your child down in front of a computer and let them play without supervision for ten hours a time? Probably not. Again, it’s up to each parent to set limits. Some parents allow their kids an hour of screen time a day, in addition to the time they need for their coding classes and school classes. Other parents allow their children more flexibility.

If you have questions about how to best prepare your child for tomorrow’s technology, feel free to reach out to CodeREV Kids. We are here to spark a passion and drive in your children and we look forward to speaking with you.