In the world of education, STEM skills are having a real moment. Parents and educators have always prized subjects like maths and computer engineering, but the digital world has launched them into another stratosphere.
Between the role, digital technology plays in daily life and the ticket these skills represent when job hunting, parents everywhere are looking for coding classes for their children. However, they may not always know how to tell the great ones from the mediocre. If this describes you, please read on for some useful insights.
Relevant Coding Languages
Students need to learn the most-used languages today if the skills they develop will serve them later in the workforce. Sometimes, programs rely too heavily on imitation coding languages like Scratch, which may give a sense of what coding is like.
However, you’ll never use Scratch to build a platform, app, website, or video game. It’s much better to look for a program that teaches one or more of the following languages:
Don’t waste your child’s time and energy by having them learn unpopular and less relevant coding languages.
Fun Matters Most
Nothing matters more when it comes to children’s extracurricular activities than having fun! Childhood is the time when people enjoy the innocent play. Parents must strike the right balance between readying their children for the future and ensuring they have fun now.
That’s why the best online coding programs revolve around showing kids how to design and code their own video game, one they can show off to friends and family. Creating such an achievement is a real thrill to kids because it gives them a sense of accomplishment.
It’s always gratifying to create something other people enjoy, and kids love when their relatives and friends can play their game. They should learn coding online from a program that embeds gamification concepts into the classes themselves, so students are as engaged in learning as they are in playing video games.
“Gamification” refers to the idea that classes harness the same dynamics and incentives that make video games so captivating for children. You won’t have to twist your child’s arm to learn STEM skills when video games are at the heart of the class.
Supportive Learning Environment
If anything, parents value a supportive learning environment even more after so many years of schooling disruptions. Look for an online program that severely limits class sizes, so every student can enjoy their teacher’s full attention without having to compete with peers.
The best online coding classes cap class sizes at four and have no mandatory minimums. In other words, the course will run as scheduled, even if your child is the only student. Nobody wants to get their child’s hopes up only for administrative problems to make them disappointed.
Young Teachers Help
Look for an online coding course where the teachers tend to be young and come from computer engineering and computer science backgrounds. Such an approach has a few advantages.
First, your child should learn how to create and code video games from a teacher who also played them growing up. Kids gravitate toward people with similar interests, and the passion for gaming is something that should get passed down.
A person could know everything there is to know about computer coding, but if they didn’t grow up playing computer games, they’re missing something important. Plus, young teachers have recent experience using their coding skills to navigate the job market.
Maybe six or seven-year-old students don’t have burning job-related questions to ask, but high school students learning to code may wonder where these skills can lead. If so, they’ll be face-to-face with the perfect mentor whose brain they can pick.
Finally, many educational programs popped up during the pandemic as the need to teach kids remotely became vital. Rather than opt for a brand-new class, it’s better to look for a coding program that has operated for years or even decades.
Experienced programs get the benefit of refining their curriculum through years of trial and error. As their program evolves and teaching methods improve, classes get more effective. You won’t get this level of teaching in a school created overnight in response to a sudden surge in demand.
Make sure you see through “STEM” programs that are mostly marketing campaigns. So many schools talk a big game about promoting computer skills and STEM skills. It’s crucial to find a program that ticks off all the above boxes because not all STEM programs are high quality.