Venture: Coding Education For Kids In The Fourth Industrial Revolution

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As the 21st century progresses, there is one skill set that is in high demand in the current job market and that is the coding skill set. Java, C++, and Python are programming languages that more people are learning every year that can help them understand how to communicate in a tech-savvy way and it is a highly sought skill in many job fields such as computer engineering, financial analysis, creative design, and health care.

The number of young children learning coding is also rising since it a subject that can be seen as convenient and beneficial to the child’s future as he or she can be exposed to new job opportunities if they are knowledgable in the basics of it. Learning coding at an early age can help students stand out from their fellow classmates who aren’t enrolled in coding classes and be prepared for challenging courses when they will be enrolled in high school and college.

Students having a first-hand knowledge in the subject of coding also helps them to be prepared in the era of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, an era where technological innovation is welcomed and can inspire people from other backgrounds. The Fourth Industrial Revolution is an industrial era where a fusion of new technologies are mixing together the physical, digital, and biological spheres that result in economies and industries being influenced and ideas being enhanced in fields such as robotics and artificial intelligence.

The Fourth Industrial Revolution, also known as 4IR, has influenced classrooms nationwide to incorporate 21st-century appliances like iPads and Chromebooks into the lesson plans that are organized by teachers who are very experienced in teaching technologically innovative classrooms, especially classrooms that teach students coding at an early age. One of those former teachers is Dr. Nadia Lopez, principal of Mott Hall Bridges Academy, a Global Teacher Prize finalist and co-author of “Teaching in the Fourth Industrial Revolution: Standing at the Precipice, and she stated that in the Fourth Industrial Revolution, an updated educational toolbox is necessary for a school’s success, especially at her school where parents and staff donate supplies to the classrooms and help create curriculums for the students.

However, there is still that challenge in getting parents from disadvantaged areas who lack sufficient technological resources such as a quick internet connection and can create a dilemma where their children would be left behind by their classmates who already have access to the aforementioned resources. A poll from the Pew Research Center mentioned that nearly six in 10 rural residents say that high-speed internet access is a problem in their areas, and more than four in 10 urban residents say the same and that families from minority backgrounds, mostly African American and Latino, and/or from lower socioeconomic backgrounds are more likely to report this problem.

Coding is a skill that has a huge emphasis on the future careers of students who are still at a young age and leaning it in a public educational environment can help them be ahead of the game compared to some of their peers who aren’t taking coding classes or are enrolled in schools that haven’t implement any form of tech education curriculum. Teaching children the skill of coding in the Fourth Industrial Revolution helps them not only become experts with hard skills such as Python, Java, and C++, but also enhance their soft skills in creativity, collaboration, design thinking, communication, collaboration, and curiosity, which are also the skills that students can still use in other aspects of their studies and life in general.

Verizon has launched an educational initiative titled, “Verizon Learning Initiative” which is designed to helped millions of American children from underprivileged backgrounds receive the tech education they deserve and the goal is to have 2 million children from underprivileged backgrounds have high-quality tech education by 2021. The initiative so far has helped over a million children in under-resourced communities have free access to state-of-the-art technology that will be integrated into the hands-on learning experiences they’re a part of in the classrooms and as a result, 53% of the assisted students are more involved in school and reading and math scores have improved by 3 times altogether.

The Internet of Things, or known as IoT, is described as, “network of physical devices like cars, houses, home appliances and other items embedded with electronics, software, sensors, actuators, and network connectivity which enables these objects to connect, be controlled and exchange data” and being aware of the IoT helps families teach their kids to understand why technology they use is a huge part in not only their home but also in society as a whole. Teaching kids about IoT can range from teaching them how to turn off the fireplace with a remote to operate the sprinklers and those tasks will allow them to develop an interest in developing new technologies and software applications that can be used in industries like finance and healthcare for the next couple decades, which can strengthen both the technological infrastructures and the job markets.

There should be more emphasis on creating educational programs that incorporate coding education for children throughout public schools nationwide so that students of different backgrounds can work together in developing skill sets that will become beneficial for them as they grow up and start having their own careers. Just as computer literacy courses were popularized between the late 1990s and late 2000s, coding courses can become the most-desired courses in public, and even private schools, throughout the U.S. and other countries worldwide because it is important that children become tech-savvy at an early age so that they will have an easier time to adjust to the new changes that technology can bring to the industries they may work in when they’re adults.