It’s hard to comprehend that most of today’s school children will end up working in jobs that do not yet exist. With technological advances occurring at breakneck speed, how do we prepare our kids for such an unknown employment environment?
For my partner Matt and I, it’s critical that our kids understand how technology works and not only feel confident in using it, but also in creating it. We believe that an understanding of coding—which is how humans command and communicate with computers—is crucial for our kids to keep pace in an evolving employment market that requires mental agility and creativity.
The research into the future employment landscape backs this up. A 2016 report from Regional Australia Institute, A Future of Work: Setting Kids up for Success, found that "to remain competitive in the 2030 job market, one in two Australians will need skills in programming and software development, as well as an ability to build digital technology".
Programming in the home
Programming is a creative activity that any kid can engage in, but if you’re not across the nuances of code, the idea of introducing computer programming to your kids can be pretty daunting.
Fortunately, kids learn best when they’re playing, and there is a range of fun, free, kid-friendly programming tools online that do the heavy lifting for you (along with handy tutorials for parents). My kids, the youngest in particular, just loveScratch. The software lets kids create animations and stories with building blocks that mimic the structure of computer code.
My son is also really interested in learning how to create apps, so we found a program that teaches kids how to use the coding language ‘Swift’ (which is used to program iOS apps). Swift Playgrounds is free to download from Apple (although you need an iPad to use it) and it gives kids a series of challenges to solve while teaching them the basic coding skills needed to solve them.
Another great resource is Code.org, a website with free coding courses for all ages—have a look and see what might work best for your kids.
Our kids are also exposed to coding through our business Prezzee—an online digital Gift Card marketplace. The evolution of Prezzee has been a huge source of learning and excitement for our kids—they have been able to understand the basis premise of building a technology based company. Through Prezzee, our kids can see how highly we value the ability to be creative, innovative and agile, which gives them the confidence to explore and experiment.
Developing curious minds
Coding ignites an inquisitive mind and encourages more creative, lateral thinking. We see this reflected in the way our kids think about their homework, particularly in maths or project-based tasks where they have the freedom to select their own topic.
It also teaches them how to problem solve and really pull apart a concept or an object. It’s exciting to see their independence blossoming—by being exposed to coding, both kids recognise that they can challenge the norm and come up with better solutions to those everyday problems we often just accept.
Technology is shaping our world; it’s exciting, full of possibility, creativity and fun. Introducing your kids to coding gives them more opportunity to harness some of that endless possibility for their own bright futures.
ABOUT THE EXPERT
Claire Morris is the co-founder of Prezzee, an online marketplace providing an innovative Gift Card solution built to change the art of gifting. Prezzee was designed to solve the problem of losing or leaving plastic Gift Cards at home when you need them the most and make Gift Cards more convenient. With the FREE Prezzee App, you can buy, send, store and redeem digital Gift Cards in seconds.