Should children be learning how to code?

By Sandra Quinn

Back in 2011, CoderDojo was founded in Cork, Ireland and over the past six years, the question of how important it is for children to learn how to code has been popping up in many different academic, social and family circles.

CoderDojo is a global volunteer-led community of free programming clubs for children aged between seven and 17 and the movement is now vastly popular on an international scale with children as young as seven or eight writing code, making their own computer games and really understanding the importance of technology in their own lives, as well as getting more creative with the limitations of technology by literally playing around with it.

The CoderDojo movement is built on the premise that programming languages need to be learned more widely by more people and that it is better and easier to do so at a young age.

The idea behind the clubs is that children and young people can learn about programming, creating apps and websites, creating personalised computer games and learning to code in an informal and creative environment.

It is initiatives like this, which support things like the STEAM programme in Ireland, which focuses on Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Mathematics as a way to encourage more young people to consider careers in engineering, IT, robotics, science, maths and related fields.

The STEAM programme is currently being delivered to 60 primary schools in Munster and Leinster in Ireland and it looks at ways of bringing those core subjects out of the industries and workplaces and into the classrooms through interactive activity based learning.

With the technology sector continuing to grow, it is vital that young people are encouraged to consider technology related careers and these two initiatives are great ways of thinking outside the box in order to achieve that.

Visit www.coderdojo.com to see where your nearest CoderDojo club is if you know anyone between the ages of seven and 17 who may be interested or if you are in the IT industry or have a passion for the sector and would be able to give up a few hours of your time each month as a volunteer to keep this movement alive.

For more information on the STEAM programme, based in University College Cork, Ireland, visit www.steam-ed.ie