Why do we use game design to teach kids to code?
How do we keep children engaged in this digital age? When there is an electronic device with an infinite amount of boredom-crushing activities within arms reach at all times, believe me, it can be tough! However, there has always been one sure-fire method to ensure that children learn and actually retain content that they are being taught - and that method is making the content as fun as possible. It is fact that when the content is fun, children will be engaged, they will learn and they will retain knowledge at a much higher rate than with content that is considered ‘boring’. One of the most effective ways to make learning fun and keep children engaged is game creation. This is especially effective when teaching children how to code.
Games are something that children fundamentally understand and enjoy. They have played them their whole lives - whether using a computer or not. All a game is, is a series of logical steps that have to be followed to play and, at its core, this is all that coding is. Children understand that if they collect all of the coins on their level, their score will increase and they will win the game. They also know that if they press the left arrow key on their keyboard that their character will move left.
The beauty of learning to code through game creation is that if something doesn’t work or is not quite right, the children spot it straight away and can then use their understanding to fix the game up in real time.
That “real time” thing is also very important in keeping children engaged. Children in today’s world are used to instant gratification. If they want to watch a movie, they don’t have to go to the local video store and hire one, they can watch one with a few clicks of a mouse or a few swipes of their fingers. It is so important to keep a fast pace and keeping wait time to a minimum. With coding, it is live, it is real time, children can see instantly if their code isn’t functioning properly and can come up with fix there and then. All in all, children learning anything new often find it challenging, especially when they are taking on steeper learning curves at a much younger age, as they are nowadays. Teaching them a complex skill such as coding via something they are already familiar and comfortable with, which they find fun and engaging, means we are already halfway there.