How Coding Improves Children’s Later Academic Performance


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Could learning to code actually help develop the mind enough to determine the course of one’s life? This might be a big question, but in an increasingly digital world where technical skill sets and critical thinking become key, it’s surprisingly relevant.

Coding trains both brain hemispheres, and it can be broken down into concepts that younger minds can easily understand. Through coding, the effort to grasp abstract levels can bring many benefits like helping children develop patience, confidence, and focus — all-important skills that stay with them throughout their educational journey.

This is how learning to code transforms a child’s mind and positively impacts their later academic performance.

Embracing academic methods

Regardless of the subject or discipline, academic methods lie as the foundation of most modern career paths. Here’s how learning to code improves analytical, systematic, and organizational abilities.

  • Learning the problem-solving cycle: Coding improves critical, analytical, and logical thinking, allowing children to explore different problem-solving techniques. It helps develop multiple perspectives on the whole cycle of identifying a problem, designing a solution, programming that solution, and testing it.
  • Systematic and organizational abilities: Coding teaches following instructions, planning, and developing complex thought patterns to make children more efficient with their tasks.
  • Understanding computational knowledge: Coding develops computational knowledge by identifying patterns and logic, which serve across academic disciplines as higher education is becoming more tech-centric in its teaching methods and operations.
  • Future-proofing skill sets: Coding helps to understand the interaction and limitations between humans and machines, which will come into use in future higher education and will guide children to become better decision-makers.

Understanding academic subjects

(Social) sciences, mathematics, humanities, and liberal art – coding can be the right foundation for any discipline, even beyond technology. Being the language of the future, there’s no other way around it for today’s children.

  • Learning the language of technology: As an advocate for computer science education, former U.S. president Barack Obama once said that the terms program and code had become interchangeable. Since coding is the language of computers, children learn to speak the language of innovation.
  • Mathematical development: Coding teaches kids to apply math in real-world situations. For example, counting, sequencing, and symbol recognition are mathematical tools applied in coding.
  • Relevant for every academic subject: Currently, there’s research into the potential integration of coding within general literacy, math and technology, and social studies. Coding not only serves computer-based subjects and methods, it also improves the understanding of music, arts, and creative thinking through comprehensive cognitive development.

Advancing personal and professional development

As personal and professional development are closely intertwined, coding can develop the mind by strengthening convergent and divergent thinking. These are the ways children become better academically, and later, professionally by learning to code now.

  • Exercising the brain: Coding balances the right and left sides of the brain, meaning convergent and divergent thinking. Research by NASA shows that children are at their highest creativity levels at the age of five, which makes for a suitable age to embark on the coding journey.
  • The best starting point: As a solid foundation for higher education, a timely skill, coding, can increase college enrollment chances and improve academic achievements across subjects.
  • Becoming a competent generalist: Whether the student becomes a doctor, lawyer, pilot, or engineer, learning to code is essential because technology is embedded in all aspects of life and will continue to do so in the future.
  • Teamwork and Collaboration: Coding proves to be the way of learning to collaborate and engage with other students meaningfully by participating and taking in the experience and knowledge of others. Study shows that students who code outperform non-coders in problem-solving and collaboration, implying that coding is a useful tool to rise above the competition.

Coding for next generations

Coding transcends industries. In the age of IoT, more and more devices and services around us are interconnected. These devices are talking to each other in the language of machines. This is the language our children need to learn to be a positive contributing member of society in the future — why not start early?

As the world gets more technology-driven, coding presents new possibilities to think about career and higher education choices for our children. Coding is a necessary tool across subjects and institutions. The bottom line is that our children are not learning to code but rather coding to learn.

About the Author

Author: Yasser Jilani

Yasser Jilani is the Co-founder and COO of Code With Us, a fast-growing Silicon Valley EdTech startup that provides technology education to kids and adults and develops customized teaching content for educators and corporations. Code With Us is one of the largest U.S.-based online EdTech platforms, with more than 8,000 students from all over the world and more than doubling its student base and revenue year to year.

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