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For many kids, disinterest or lack of engagement when being taught STEM or coding subjects originates in preconceived notions that the sciences are inherently boring. This is mainly due to years of sociological stigma against people of superior intellect. Throughout the 80s, 90s, and early 2000s, smart kids were considered “nerds or geeks” and were consistently the subject of ridicule from those depicted as the cool kids.
Thankfully, being smart has had a glow up of sorts in recent years, allowing more and more kids to be proud of being smart and informed. Nonetheless, a slight stigma still exists in terms of children being enthusiastic about the sciences. To remedy this, STEM and coding need a rebrand—because in this day-in-age, who doesn’t love a rebrand (IHoB, anyone?)
STEM and coding need to start being portrayed for what they actually are—the latest in outlets for modern creativity. Learning about coding and STEM subjects can now let you exert previously unseen levels of control over the world we all live in, in incredibly rewarding new ways.
Another way to get kids more engaged with coding is to find ways to work it into hobbies and activities they’re already passionate about. It’s important that kids realize the breadth of how coding can be applied to all sorts of areas and industries in life, rather than just writing it off because it doesn’t resonate with them in one particular iteration.
Today, there are apps for all sorts of coding integrations—ranging from kits like Lego Mindstorms to littleBits, the tech most similar to the raspberry pie that inspired Femi Owolade-Coombes to become one of the world’s youngest and most prolific ambassadors for youth involvement in coding.
Solving problems is something that we as a species truly enjoy, as it helps us make better sense of the world around us. Instilling a love for problem-solving in children is integral in order to nurture a love for coding within them. Push them to learn how things work, what makes them work, and explore how that knowledge could help them when they grow older.
Introducing children to coding early on in their lives will give them a unique skill set that will undoubtedly help them later on in life, if not manifesting right away. That being said, no child should be forced to engage with something that they really aren’t interested in, but hopefully, by weaving these skills into activities they’ve already displayed a passion and proclivity for it will encourage them to keep exploring just what kinds of door can open when you break down your everyday life into simple ones and zeroes.