The world is fast-paced and technology-based, and parents are wanting their kids to learn code younger and younger. The younger a child is, the quicker they will pick up on these concepts, and be able to add years of experience to their resume one day. Computer programmers are highly coveted, and having this skill set makes you invaluable to our current world.
This subject can be tricky, so it is important to understand what criteria to look for in a kids’ coding class, things to consider logistically, and the advantages and disadvantages of live classes versus a self-paced learning experience.
Five Important Criteria to Look for in a Coding Class for Your Child
When you are considering if a course may be right for your child, here are some things to consider:
The curriculum: You want an introductory courses to lay a strong foundation, explain terms and concepts, and allow them to practice and make mistakes without becoming too frustrated. UCode’s beginner course, for example, uses fun, animated videos to introduce concepts in a fun and engaging way. It is designed using a color-coded block interface that allows children to visualize and practice coding. Likewise, in an intermideate kids' coding course you’ll want more advanced concepts being taught, building on earlier concepts and working to challenge your child.
Learning platforms: There are many different languages, and they are used for other things. It is wise to get familiar with several different platforms so they are comfortable with them and know which languages are best suited for specific projects. This will allow them to be more versatile and well-rounded coders.
Community building: Coding was once a more exclusive field, but that is quickly changing. Diverse teams are now necessary for designing the technology of tomorrow. Look for communities that are inclusive and view everyone’s differences as an essential aspect of creating unique platforms.
Real reviews by real people: Recent studies show people trust internet reviews as much as they would a close friend, and businesses are picking up on that and creating fake reviews. Look for a variety of reviews left in a reasonable timeline to be sure they are coming from real people.
Instructional team: Having a team of people to assist your child in learning key elements of coding can be very helpful. This will allow a well-rounded learning experience.
These are just a few things we think are important, but you may think of others specific to your child! There are many options out there, so make sure it is one that your child enjoys and is suitable for the way they learn.
Logistics in Choosing a Coding Class
Logistically speaking, as parents, there are things that must be considered when choosing extracurricular activities for your child. Here are a few things we thought are important:
Value: Coding courses can vary from free basic info videos to hundreds of dollars a month for one on one tutoring, so make sure you find something in your budget. Once your child starts learning to code, this will be an ongoing expense, so make sure it is feasible for your family. A great way to cut down the price is by getting a monthly coding course membership in order to receive access to coding courses at discounted monthly rates.
Convenience: Let’s be honest; as parents, this is a major factor, especially if you have more than one child and need to be in seven different places at once. Is there a class at your child’s school or somewhere close by? Would an online program work better for your family? Thankfully you get to choose based on how your child learns and your family’s needs, though online coding programs are growing increasingly popular due to both convenience and safety.
Active learning: While games can be a fun introduction, your child’s learning should not consist of games alone--sorry to say it, but games won’t teach your kids to code. Kids need to practice writing real code, make mistakes, and watch their creations come to life.
Ages served: The best course options are the ones that mature with your child’s knowledge and understanding. Check out UCode’s Coding Course Progression here--we have courses for everyone at every skill ages 7 through 17.
Student to teacher ratio: Small class sizes are certainly ideal so students can have one-on-one time to have their individual questions answered. UCode promises no more than 6 students to one instructor per Membership class.
Flexible schedule: Every course should be outlined, so you and your child know what to expect. Some courses require a self-paced approach or have the class recorded so a child can catch up if they miss a class. All of this should be easily accessed information.
Teachers: Every teacher should have full background checks, whether they are teaching online or in person. You need the assurance that your child is in a safe environment. Additionally, make sure your teachers and academic advisors have the credentials to be teaching this important information.
There are just a few things you may not have thought to consider, but we feel they are definitely important!
Live Classes Versus Self-Paced Courses
There are pros and cons of each, so you must decide how your child learns best and what will fit in with your family’s needs. Here are some things to consider:
1. Learning Materials
Live: Thankfully, online courses have a low student to teacher ratio. When the class is live, the teacher has an opportunity to get to know their students on a more personal level and get creative with the lessons based on each child’s individual needs.
Self-taught: A self-taught course might be a great choice if your child is grasping the concepts quickly and will allow them to fly through easy concepts and move on to more challenging ones. However, this is typically not the case with learning coding because it’s just one of those subjects that requires a little instruction and guidance for those new to the field. If your child has no experience coding, this may not be the best choice. They will need more help, explanation, and may benefit from a live teaching experience.
2. Level of Support
Live: Coding can be a challenging concept, leaving kids with lots of questions, so a live class will give them the support on-demand that many children need.
Self-taught: If a student cannot get their questions answered, they may get stuck, frustrated, and want to give up. If the class is self-taught, make sure there is a live chat or other resources on hand to help them when these times occur, and they will occur, so be prepared. Google rarely always has the right answer in this scenario.
3. Community Interaction
Live: Social interaction is great for kids, and a social learning environment can be useful for them. They can interact with their peers, show off their work, and make new friends.
Self-taught: Thankfully, even self-taught courses offer social engagement. There are thousands of chat rooms allowing kids to share ideas, ask questions, show off their work, and make friends.
4. Time Commitment
Live: If you choose a live class, you will need to be ready and logged in for your class slot--this is something that needs to be considered, especially in terms of not just your child’s schedule, but your schedule and the other members of your family.
Self-taught: The beauty of a self-taught class is your child can log on whenever it is convenient for them and go entirely at their own pace. Some courses do not have deadlines, so that option would require a very driven personality type. Know how your child operates, and if your child needs deadlines, certainly go that route.
Live: Because you are paying a real person to teach the course, these tend to be a bit pricier, but you get what you pay for.
Self-taught: Some self-taught courses are actually free, but again, you get what you pay for. This might be a solution for your family’s needs to teach your children this invaluable skill and not break the bank.
As you can see, there are many things to consider when choosing what coding program is most suitable for your child, but we hope these ideas helped you narrow down your search.
If you’re ready to get started, you can click here for a Free Trial of UCode’s coding course Membership to help gauge your child’s interest in a live online coding program. You’ve got nothing to lose and all to gain!