Flying cars, self-tying shoes, and robot attendants. As a kid, that might be how you envisioned the future.
While we’re not quite at the flying cars yet, technology has significantly impacted the way we work and play. Even 10 years ago, we didn’t know the impact smartphones would have on influencing our behavior and shaping our day-to-day lives.
The future is coming faster than we think. Even my daughter in art school is learning to code! She’s taking a robotics class and learning C++. And even more surprising to me is that she is really enjoying it!
Emerging technologies, like artificial intelligence and robotics, are evolving in every industry and there’s a fear that we could lose many jobs held by humans.
But, with new advances in technology also comes new jobs. Jobs like programming and maintaining robots and their components will be in high demand when our kids are ready to work.
The problem is that most schools aren’t teaching our children the skills they’ll need to fill the jobs of the future. Companies are already having trouble finding people who can take on these highly skilled jobs. Without the technical knowledge, it’s going to be impossible to keep up.
In manufacturing alone, the National Association of Manufacturing and Deloitte predicts the U.S. will need to fill about 3.5 million jobs by 2025; yet as many as 2 million of those jobs may go unfilled due to difficulty finding people with the required skills.
With school closures last year, we’ve unfortunately fallen even further behind in STEM education
CSforAll found that computer science is taught in less than 25% of K-12 schools across the country, and even fewer middle or elementary schools offer academically rigorous computer science experiences. This lack of coding classes for elementary school and middle school students means kids are not prepared at the high school and college levels. Earlier development of STEM skills would mean more STEM workers with higher skill levels and the ability to fill jobs in growing sectors.
Learning to code is one way to build the skills needed for these future jobs. Technology, specifically programming, has helped advance the web and automation and it’s even improved industries like healthcare and high-end dining. Coding skills can really be applied to almost any career. Besides being able to write programs and games, coding gives kids valuable life skills and confidence.
If your child’s school is one of the majority that doesn’t offer coding and computer science, there are other ways to learn coding.
Coding is so versatile that you can tie it into whatever your child is excited about.
If your kids love gaming, Minecraft can help teach coding concepts. While it wasn’t created specifically to teach coding, features like Minecraft mods and Redstone help kids learn Java (one of the most popular programming languages in the world) and concepts like binary numbers and console commands. Minecraft can’t teach kids to code on its own, but it can be a valuable tool in a coding curriculum.
Web & Game Development
Kids can learn to build games, websites, and apps in a live group class or with a private tutor. Depending on what’s available in your area, you can choose from in-person and virtual coding classes for kids<. Web and game design courses let kids use their artistic and creative skills while learning coding fundamentals. They’ll have the skills to build personalized apps and websites to their interests.
While coding toys are a great fit for younger kids who aren’t ready to learn text-based languages, there are also advanced toys for older kids and teens. Taking coding concepts offline can be more engaging for some kids who want to see how things work in real life.
For the voracious reader, try starting with coding books for kids. There are books on specific languages and more advanced topics like mobile and robotics development. Your child can read about building video games, creating animations, developing mobile apps, and launching websites.
It’s clear that there is a need for coding and STEM skills. Unfortunately, schools have not caught up just yet. That doesn’t mean your child has to fall behind.
Kids are embracing changes and growth in technology. It’s our job to encourage and support them so they are prepared for the future.
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