We live in a digital and hyperconnected world, where new technologies are an essential part of our daily life. The correct use of these technologies requires of us new skills , knowledge and aptitudes. One of them is programming , which for some time has been emphasizing bringing it closer to boys and girls, so that they learn the basics from a very young age, just as they can learn English, start with mathematics or enter the world of music .
But … what is programming? According to the RAE , develop programs for solving problems using computers . To make it better understood, the programmer writes a message, called source code, that the computer receives and understands, and then executes a series of translations that are the results on the screen. Programming begins in the programmer’s mind and ends in the computer’s logs.
Contrary to what we might think, programming can be taught in an absolutely didactic way from very early ages, thanks to a series of simple, entertaining and interactive educational applications . Thus, an increasing number of countries have already begun to teach their students to write code, not so that they end up being programmers when they grow up, but so that they have solid knowledge in this field, because in the future they will spend their lives surrounded by objects programmable.
Here are some of the best tools designed for kids to learn to program, without the technical complexities of professional programming.
It is a simple but effective application that will help the little ones to enter the programming field in the most fun way possible. Bee-Bot , which is free , has been designed by the TTS Group team , who have more than 25 years of experience in the educational applications sector.
Bee-Bot are bees of about 20 centimeters and are the protagonists of this tool. The system to program them is very simple, and our children will learn to use it to be able to move them back and forth or make turns, thus being able to practice with spatial perception and coordination, to reach a great objective: to get the insect to reach the flower of the end of the route. The application has 12 different levels and increases the difficulty as they are overcome.
Bee-Bot, which is available for both Android and iOS , is a very popular tool, since it will allow children to improve the learning of directional programming, through movement sequences. And they can do it having fun, which is the most important thing. It is only in English, but in this type of applications, the language is the least important.
Kodable is another app that teaches the basics of programming, and does so through problem solving with the help of a character named BlueFuzz and his family. The level it teaches is quite basic, ideal for young children from the age of 5 , since it is based on giving instructions to these characters with arrows that indicate which way to go, in an interactive and very fun interface.
In short, Kodable allows you to learn the essential concepts of this world while playing. It is free to download and has 45 scenarios in which to interact. If in the end the children want more, you can buy new levels (€ 1.79 each) or go to the Pro version and unlock everything for € 5.99. It is an application available only for iOS and is in a multitude of languages, including Spanish .
Currently Tynker is one of the references in terms of programming primary education. This company already had an online learning system , offering courses for schools in the United States (they currently have more than 8,000 member schools). This year they have launched an iOS application that aims to teach basic programming concepts to children and young people.
In this application, boys and girls must help their protagonist, the Pixel puppy , to get home. To achieve this, they will have to use different visual codes in the form of blocks to avoid the obstacles that are on the way. Tynker can be downloaded for free and includes 20 different puzzles so that the little ones, as they overcome them, can enter this world and learn about the basic concepts and structures. It is in English.
It is a free application available in Spanish , created by two teachers, that allows children to create their own animations and games. Hopscotch is a little more complex and advanced than the previous ones, since it is aimed at children over 9 years old . Work with blocks that allow the easy organization of orders in code to execute the program.
The application is very complete and has a fairly intuitive system. A wide variety of objects can be created, which will be moved according to our instructions. In addition, it allows evaluating the projects of other users and downloading them to see how they are programmed. Being of the educational type, it is highly recommended that children learn with their parents next to them; Thanks to this joint experience, even the elderly can also start programming. It is available for iOS .
Knowing how to program is knowing how to express yourself in the language that will dominate all instances of our society. Characters like Bill Gates or Mark Zuckerberg are publicly in favor of teaching programming to children. Just as there is a concern that children learn to read and write, it is substantial that they know programming, since, according to experts, it will become the most universal language in the coming years.