Last week, my son Ellis and I were back at Idealab for another CoderDojo — the volunteer-led global movement of free coding clubs for young people. We’ve been to other CoderDojo sessions hosted at Google and elsewhere in Los Angeles, where Ellis has learned programming basics using Scratch to create simple but functional games.
Using Scratch (as well as similar tools like Construct 2 and Gamestar Mechanic) gives kids the confidence to design and experiment with game building before diving into actual code. It’s a good foundation for growing skills to support technology trends like Social, Mobile, Analytics and Cloud (SMAC) as well as future technologies that haven’t even been conceived yet.
This year, as part of Computer Science Education Week (December 9 to 15, 2013), the Computing in the Core coalition and Code.org are organizing an event called the Hour of Code to introduce students of all ages to the basics of programming. You can take part in the Hour of Code at any time during the week either by joining a planned activity near you or by starting one of your own using resources provided on their web site.
We’re looking forward to participating and I urge anyone who has kids — or an interest of their own — to sign up and dip a toe into programming. It’s never been easier to learn.