The past few years have seen a stupendous rise in the need for a basic understanding of block coding. Knowing the basics of computer programming has become a much-needed skill of this generation. Even professions that are outside the realm of computer science tend to lean on applicants who are well-versed with computer programming.
Computer programming has become so widespread that even kids are learning to code as soon as they understand how a computer works. While most of the coding is a complicated, text-based process of interacting with computers, there are certain forms of coding that are aimed at intriguing kids to learn more about the subject.
These forms of coding are visual and interactive, catering to kids’ interests and making them learn the basic idea of programming. One such form of visual coding is called block coding. It was invented by MIT professionals to ensure that kids understand how computer programming works.
What is Block Coding?
Block codes are the element in software programming that convert text-based codes into visual blocks. This allows kids to drag and drop visual block representations of text-based code into the code editor to create games, apps, and other programs.
Block Coding for Kids
Block coding is specially designed for kids because it is visual. It makes the entire coding process a lot easier and simpler for kids to understand. Moreover, since block-based coding uses sections that are grouped, it is easier to find issues that can keep the code from executing.
In block coding, all the blocks are aligned on one side of the screen. All kids need to do is drag and drop the block they want into the input field.
Block coding is an entry-level coding process and is aimed at teaching kids the fundamentals of how computer programming works. It also gets them used to computational thinking with the use of visual cues instead of long lines of code.
How Block Coding Started
The idea of block coding originated in 2003 when MIT students decided to develop a platform that teaches kids the basic idea of coding and gets them familiar with the essential elements of computer programming. Ever since block coding class for kids has become the go-to way of getting kids started with computer programming.
How Visual, Syntax-free Programming Can Help Kids
Block coding is a branch of visual programming that cancels out the usual text-based coding. It is syntax-free, which means kids don’t have to worry about specifics of code construction such as periods, brackets, parentheses, commas, colons, and whatnots.
The lack of syntax and the inclusion of visuals makes block coding the best option for kids who are only starting to learn to code. When kids don’t have to worry about syntax and other coding elements, they can focus on finding and implementing the best solutions for their programs.
Kids can also convert the blocks into mainstream programming languages such as Java to create a more detailed script without giving up on the foundational code. Moreover, visual elements of block coding help kids better understand the concepts of computer programming, especially those who are visual learners. Visual coding adds an important user-friendly element to coding.
Block Coding Advantages
- Entry-level: One of the best things about block coding is that it is for everyone. Even if the kid has no prior knowledge of computer programming, they can get started with block coding and get better at coding within months.
- Easy to teach: Block coding practically teaches itself. You don’t need a teacher to teach your kids to learn block coding. As soon as kids log into a block coding platform, they will be interested in interacting with all the visual elements in it. And before you know it, they will be coding programs, games, and other applications using drag and drop methods of coding.
- Focuses on programming concepts: Since block coding started as a simpler and easier way to get kids accustomed to computer programming, it focuses on a lot of fundamental programming concepts. Once kids learn these concepts, they can develop their skills and transition to other, more expansive languages efficiently.
- Encourages creativity: Block-based coding allows kids to explore their creativity and come up with the best solutions to program their games, apps, and other applications. Kids can experiment and grow to become great programmers, which leads them to work with more complex languages such as C++, Python, Java, and more.
- Minimal learning curve: As we have already learned, block coding is simple and easy to master. Kids don’t have to spend hours of their time trying to understand what’s on their screen. They can simply log in to the platform and get going, even without the supervision of a teacher.
Block Coding Disadvantages
- Limited in its approach: It goes without saying that block coding is limited in its applications. Since it is specifically designed to help kids learn the fundamentals of computer programming, it does not include expansive and more developed elements that can be used to program real apps.
- Block-based to text-based conversion: One of the most significant disadvantages of block-based coding is that it makes it quite difficult to shift to text-based programming.
Kids who get used to block-based coding will have a hard time familiarizing themselves with monotonous, text-based coding languages, especially when it comes to memorizing syntactical commands.
Block-based coding is great, probably the best way to get your kids started with computer programming. Nevertheless, it is not a replacement for text-based coding and should only be taken as the stepping stones into the vast and complicated world of computer programming.
Kids can use block-based programming to learn the fundamentals, but eventually, they will have to shift to more developed and through programming languages.
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