First things first, watch this three-minute bit of a TED talk by Mitch Resnick where he gives an example of a real-life situation that he had encountered. There are some very basic questions that can understandably arise after watching it. Who is Mitch Resnick and why should one listen to him? What is this Scratch programming language that he keeps talking about? Why is this video, and in turn block programming, even important? Well, worry not because we have you covered! Let us look at this step by step.
Mitch Resnick is the director of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology(MIT) Media Lab, which is a research laboratory. More relevantly, Mitch Resnick is the creator of Scratch – the easier and more fun programming language designed specifically for kids. Scratch provides to be the most efficient platform when it comes to coding for beginners. In their own words,
Scratch helps young people learn to think creatively, reason systematically, and work collaboratively — essential skills for life in the 21st century.
Now comes the question – Why should you learn how to code a game? Here’s why:
- Coding helps you form a physical program(a STEM toy, if you will) out of mere thought. It provides you with the steps following a mind-boggling idea.
- Coding teaches you the value of failure. When you do even a tiny thing wrong, the program does not work. You have to manually find the bug and fix it. This portrays how criticizing yourself is ultimately beneficial and it will give you desired results, regardless of what others might say.
- It teaches you the core concepts of designing. How you can take up complex ideas and break them down to create a simpler model.
- Coding games(or any program, for that matter) inculcates the value of patience and persistence in you
- As the STEM courses promoters(hint: us!) keep repeating every time we even utter the word STEM – it helps you develop the abilities of critical thinking, innovation, creativity and not to forget, coding skills. Which are important for an individual irrespective of their field of expertise.
- And finally and most importantly, it is fun!
All of the traits that we have mentioned above can be utilized the most out of when they’re instilled in a child’s brain at the prime of its learning stage. Coding is the perfect blend of creativity and logical thinking to build a whole generation of young innovators. And here is how you, as a person who wants to learn to code from scratch(pun intended) can take your baby steps in this field.
Do Not Be Overwhelmed
If you are new to coding and you type “How to code” in Google search bar, you will get millions of blogsites (one of them hopefully ours), YouTube channels, podcasts, and online STEM courses. Speaking from experience, we know that it can get overwhelming. That is why the first thing to keep in mind while beginning your journey of learning to code is being aware of the fact that it is okay to “not know”. That is the true starting point.
Pick the Correct Software
There are a lot of platforms out there that claim to teach you how to code, but we are here to tell you which the best one is. One of the setbacks of the majority of online coding courses is that they directly jump to advanced programming languages like Python and Java. As a beginner at learning how to code, who is almost completely unaware of the concept of coding, it is important to know which programming language to learn. We would suggest that you first go to Scratch. Scratch is a programming language especially designed for kids. And STEMpedia (that is us!), has the perfect tool for you to practice your coding skills on. We present to you – PictoBlox! It’s a Scratch 3.0-based graphical programming software that is the ideal companion for setting the first step into the world of programming. It is a block coding program and its user-friendly interface and drag-and-drop functionality make coding for beginners super easy and fun! As a result, children only require to get their hands on the STEM robotics kits and develop the aforementioned must-have 21st-century skills.
Get, Set, Create!
Once you’ve settled down with the software that works best for you (hint hint: PictoBlox), delve into the endless sea of creating games, animations, greeting cards (as Mitch Resnick so cutely did for his mother on mother’s day) and a lot more! You can also refer to hundreds of game development tutorials available online. There are no limits to your creativity here, there are no correct or incorrect answers. Rarely an adult would imagine saying this to a kid, but – run wild! As we have discussed already in our previous blog about STEM toys, playing video games is a fun way to inculcate important learning concepts in a child’s brain. Now, learning how to code a game enables you to create what you play. After you come up with an idea, learning how to code a game helps you make it a reality and even share your results with the world! To provide you with some examples, you can take up projects like creating an angry birds game, the hungry shark game, a space battle and a lot more using PictoBlox and Scratch. Another miracle created by the human community is the hour of code games. Hour of code is basically an hour of celebrating computer science, and in turn, coding. It is amazing how if everyone on this planet comes together, we can build a community dedicated to STEM learning and coding skills. It is an all-inclusive initiative for coding enthusiasts, they invite everyone from beginners, underrepresented minorities to each and every student who might need assistance in learning how to code.
Test Your Skills
This, of course, is not a mandatory step. But if you have been coding for a considerable amount of time and you think that you have got the hang of using Scratch, we have something exciting planned for you! Let us introduce to you a unique competition that tests the coding skills of kids – Codeavour 2019! It is a worldwide online coding competition organized for the kids from age 7 to 17 by STEMpedia. The aim of this competition is for kids to use their coding skills to come up with innovative projects that fulfill any of the Sustainable Development Goals given by the United Nations. You can work alone, you can work in a team – we give you complete creative freedom so that you can perform up to your full potential. With the help of PictoBlox, we will also guide you through the basics of coding before you enter into the contest. If we have convinced you enough to participate, you can do that here!
In a Nutshell
Having at least a basic idea about coding skills is important. It inculcates some of the core concepts in our minds that not only help us with programming but also with basic life skills and other various disciplines. We then take a look at Scratch – a fun programming language specifically designed by Mitchell Resnick for beginners to learn to code. We portray some steps that you can keep in mind while browsing coding for beginners. Being exposed to the vast ocean of programming languages can definitely be overwhelming; which is why you can trust us. After looking into almost all of programming language software/online courses and hardware, we answer your question of which programming language to learn as a beginner. With the spectacular combination of PictoBlox and Scratch – you can get the step by step guide as a beginner in coding.