As parents, we want the best for our kids. So you might be wondering: are online coding classes for kids effective? Today we'll reveal what experts and studies say programming courses can do for children's development and future careers.
To jump right in and start learning coding, join a fun award-winning online class for beginners, Scratch Ninja, led live by an expert. Or join any of our other free coding classes designed by experts from Google, Stanford, and MIT!
Discover the Ways Online Coding Classes for Kids Are Effective
Online coding classes for kids help children learn at a pace that works from them, in a comfortable and supportive environment. With instruction from a live expert, kids can count on step by step guidance, a thorough explanation of underlying logic behind each program, and the answers to questions they need. As a result, online coding classes for kids can be quite effective at helping young learners succeed at computer science as well as at developing their creativity and problem solving skills. Many of our students have created brilliant projects, and discover a new passion - continuing on their computer science paths into college. Here are a few studies that examine how programming can impact young minds, and how effective online classes can be.
1. Specialized for young learners
According to a Stack Overflow 2020 Survey, over 50% of project developers wrote code before they turned 16 years old and some even wrote code before they turned 10. Online coding classes are a great option for young students learning to code. Classes are kid friendly, as students are surrounded by their peers and the content is geared towards real-world examples they'll care most about. As a result, these classes can be a great starting point for learning about technology at young age which can be beneficial to future careers.
2. Learn problem solving through programming
A 2022 study of middle school students found that programming online games had a positive influence on student motivation and participation. Students stayed interested in the activities, and while the programming concepts were challenging at first, they were able to resolve issues and create games in a fun environment. Many online coding classes for kids empower students to create games - such as PacMan in Scratch, Minecraft and Roblox, and more - with live expert guidance.
3. Improve digital fluency with online classes
Multiple states require high school students to take at least one online course. And at the moment, a growing number of U.S. states are contemplating introducing legislation that would make online learning credits a requirement for graduation. Taking an online coding class can prepare students so that they are comfortable using Zoom, Google apps such as Chrome, and speaking in a virtual environment.
4. Learning coding can build children's math skills
The concepts students learn in online classes can improve their academic performance in more than just computer science. In the study Playing with Code, the researchers provide a rationale for including 21st-century teaching practices and educational technology resources in preschool classrooms as one path toward strengthening early mathematics understanding.
5. Computational thinking's benefits extend far beyond coding
In Changing a Generation's Way of Thinking: Teaching Computational Thinking Through Programming, researchers analyze and highlight the importance of learning programming with a focus on the development of computational thinking skills at a young age. Computational thinking uses concepts that are essential to computing and information science to solve problems, design and evaluate complex systems, and understand human reasoning and behavior. This way of thinking has important implications in computer sciences, as well as in almost every other field. The researchers contend that it should be taught in elementary schools and included in every university's educational curriculum. Online classes provide access to learning computational thinking as well.
6. Instant feedback helps develop growth mindset
Coding and online coding classes can help your child develop a growth mindset: the belief that intelligence and abilities can be developed through effort and learning, as opposed to being fixed traits. Online coding classes provide students with live feedback. And so does programming itself: with computer programming, the moment you hit “Run” on your code, the computer does exactly what you told it to. When you get it wrong, you often know that there’s a problem immediately. You can fix your issue and try again. If you get it wrong a second time, you can keep trying. The result is accelerated learning and an increase in perceived achievement. This leads to persistence, grit and a resilience in all areas of life.
Check In With Your Child After Class
The important thing is to check in with your child after each class to get a feel for how they're enjoying it, what they've learned, and how they made the project they created. Try to ensure they're not just learning to copy and paste code by asking open ended questions of them. What's important is that they understanding the underlying reasons for why the code works the way it does! Discover more ideas for encouraging your child's success with and passion for coding below.
Explore the Benefits of Online Coding Classes for Kids
1. Learn essential computer skills
Even the youngest of kids will need to know how to type and learn digital fluency to thrive throughout their lives. Students need to know about hardware and software. These skills are necessary as they continue their education, from elementary to high school, and also in college. Communicating through Zoom, emails, and texting are tools that are important not just for school but for jobs.
2. Grow their critical thinking skills
As students learn to code, they are organizing their thoughts and ideas, figuring things out, reasoning, testing, and problem solving. Online coding classes help build this foundation, while kids have fun learning. These are all important higher order thinking and life skills they'll employ not only in their jobs but also in their personal lives.
3. Build their creativity
Let your child learn coding and their imagination will help them create characters and games. With just their computer, they'll have the world at their fingertips, and be able to bring all of their ideas to life. Just like writing a short story, online coding classes can help spark creativity, and amazing games and stories.
Creativity is an essential component of success in school and in life. A study published in the Journal of Creative Behavior found that creativity was significantly related to academic performance in math and reading for elementary school students. Creativity is also important for success in the workforce, as it is highly valued by employers. In a survey of over 1,000 hiring managers, creativity was a sought-after skill that employers look for when hiring.
How Do Online Coding Classes for Kids Compare to In-Person Classes?
There are advantages and disadvantages for both online and in-person coding classes for kids. Here are some factors to consider along with the personality of your child.
- Convenience of Home: Being at home is often a comfort, especially after being at school all day. Some students feel refreshed after coming home and eating a snack, and will be ready to focus on an online class.
- Class Size: Online coding classes typically have a smaller class size - usually 4-5 students in a class - vs in-person classes that tend to have upwards of 20 students. So in a virtual setting, the teacher can focus on each student when questions arise, and via Zoom, students are able to share their screen with the teacher so that they can see exactly what the student is doing.
- Teacher Experience: Online coding classes can be taught by teachers who have experience in the technology field - regardless of where in the US they are located. As a result, teachers can provide feedback and give insight on how programming is used in the real world. Whereas in-person classes are limited by teachers that live in that area.
- Teacher Communication: With virtual classes, students also have different ways to communicate with their teacher - Zoom screen sharing, email, and texts can provide a way to stay updated on a student's progress and ask question. In-person classes often provide a recap at the end of the semester or course of study.
- Screen Time: Most online coding classes are set up for an hour or less. An hour is an ideal time for students to learn and practice coding. Breaks like standing and stretching and looking away from the screen every few minutes are recommended for both online and in-person coding classes.
What are the Challenges of Online Coding Classes for Kids?
Just like in an in-person classroom setting, there are challenges to online coding classes.
- Technology Limitations: If your electricity or internet connection goes down, you will lose access to your online coding class. Your child may not know how to resolve these issues and will need your assistance.
- Attention: For some kids, sitting in front of the computer for a class may be distracting. Again, this depends on the learning style your child. Some kids may miss the peer interactions that they can sometimes benefit from, when they need help.
How Do I Ensure My Child's Success in an Online Coding Class?
If you decide to enroll your child in an online coding class, consider yourself a partner. Your child is taking the class, but as always you will play a key role in your child’s success. Here are a few ways to keeping your student engaged and caught up with material.
- Technology: Before the start of class, make sure your computer is up to date. Run any computer updates and have the latest version of programs that will be used such as Zoom and the Internet Browser. Be sure that your internet connection is good before the class begins.
- Camera and Microphone Practice: Make sure your child is comfortable sitting in front of the computer. Have a practice Zoom session with a family member or classmate. Practice sharing screens, turning off the camera, and muting the microphone.
- Stay Engaged: Make sure your child understands class material and is able to keep up with class assignments. Ask them questions about what they are learning and ask them to share their projects with you.
- Communicate with the Teacher: If you have any questions or concerns or your child has questions, make sure you keep the lines of communication with your teacher open.
Start Online Coding Class for Kids
Many parents choose to begin their children's coding adventures with Create & Learn's award-winning free coding classes. With a curriculum designed by experts from Google, Stanford, and MIT, kids learn technology skills in a fun small group setting, led live by an expert. There are many computer science subjects to choose from for kids of all ages and skill levels. Some of the most popular classes include Scratch coding, website design, smart devices, and NASA science. Explore some of the best coding classes for kids to get ideas for your child!
Online Coding Classes for Kids Are Effective
Ready to take the next step? Sign up for a class and see the fun your student will have! We recommend most students begin with popular start classes in Scratch coding that teach core coding concepts while kids make cool games. Pick the class most appropriate for your child's age: Scratch Junior (K-2); Scratch Ninja (Grades 4-6); Accelerated Scratch (Grades 6-9).
Written by Debbie Paloma-Ho who Earned a Bachelors of Science in Business Administration, majoring in Management Information Systems and minoring in Speech Communications. She also worked 10 years as a programmer and consultant before switching to education technology. She has taught students in grades K thru 8th all about computers and technology for 16 years, and her favorite classes include digital art, video editing, and coding.