Is It too Early to Teach Kids Coding?

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IMG_1742(1)You think it’s too early to teach kids how to code? Think again!

Cagdas Yasami Destekleme Dernegi (CYDD) sure does not think so. They understand that knowing how to code in today’s tech-driven world is invaluable. “Coding is a fundamental skill to have these days along with math and reading. Only the kids who go to private schools have the opportunity to learn to code because it is rarely taught in public schools. At Cagdas Yasami Destekleme Dernegi (CYDD), we wanted to offer this opportunity to children who are underprivileged” says Sevgi Duru Orhon, the Lead Project Manager.Cagdas Yasami Destekleme Dernegi (CYDD) aims to create a fun and engaging environment where children not only learn to code but also strengthen their digital literacy skills by designing games and websites. It is a wonderful way to prepare these young girls and boys for a future with more career options.

Knowing that coding is anticipated to become not an ivory-tower skill but an everyday one, Cagdas Yasami Destekleme Dernegi (CYDD) offers coding classes to public school students- Grades 5th – 7th- with limited financial means. The program started in 2016 at the ÇYDD İzmir, Çeşme and Soma and will be offered in other branches. “Our aim is to offer coding courses throughout Turkey to prepare as many children as we can for our rapidly changing world,” notes Ms. Orhon. There are additional benefits to coding instruction other than preparing students for careers. Coding contains the seeds for everything from problem-solving to ethical responsibility as well as mathematics and language. Accordingly, the project is designed to cover three courses. The first two courses teach the logic of algorithms and computer coding in a fun and creative way. The third course covers basic mobile applications and robotics and prepares to participate children for various competitions.

The project is run by volunteer students, who themselves receive a scholarship through CYDD, majoring in Computer Science and Informational Technology. One of the volunteers, Kerem, while sharing the joy of being a part of the program noted, “too often, we’re just passive consumers of technology. But coding puts students in the driver’s seat and gives them the responsibility to think differently about the technology they use in their everyday lives.” Another volunteer, Ayse highlighted how learning coding helped her build her self-confidence. She further noted, “the reward a student feels when creating something on his or her own is almost unmatched. And, I am so happy to be able to provide that to unprivileged students just like me.”

Kids have their own approach to these classes. Students do not see coding as something they have to learn but as something, they want to learn. “I love all my teachers. We learned a lot about coding. We create our own games and at the end of the class, we present what we have created for our parents which is very rewarding,” says Rabia a student, participating in the program. Another student, Busra, shared with enthusiasm why she loves the classes, “I love showing people how to play my games and help teach other people how to make games too.” They just think it’s lots of fun to design video games, create websites, and make robots move. “They don’ realize the value these classes add to them now but will in the future,” a teacher says. “Learning coding at a young age makes kids better thinkers and communicators. They learn to tell a story in exact order. Because many children use video games to learn to code, they know how to follow or even create their storyline or code sequence.” says Ms. Orhon. She further notes that parents are satisfied knowing that their child is not limited in knowledge. Besides only using smartphones and tablets, there is more to strive for, and coding is a great skill to have in this technology-oriented world.

So? What do you think? Is it too early to teach kids to code? If you agree with Cagdas Yasami Destekleme Dernegi (CYDD), support their project!

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