Learning a programming language from an early age will lead to the development of logical thinking, understanding problems using computational thinking.
For learning to take place, contexts must be created that have an important impact not only on the way work is organized, but also on the development of students as confident and independent people who are able to make good decisions throughout their lives.
Today’s students will be tomorrow’s active citizens, and their school and career path may be influenced by their ability to understand and use technology. A concern for teachers should be how they can use technology as an added value in the classroom to create an engaging, relevant and interactive learning environment for students.
The use of technology by teachers creates a dynamic teacher-student, because today’s students are digital natives, who intuitively use the new technology and in addition, it is present every day with a major influence on how students learn, play , communicates, collaborates or cooperates in various activities.
One of the online platforms that can be used from primary school to support learning programming is Scratch.mit.edu, where Scratch is an educational programming language specially created to help on all those who want to learn computer science in a pleasant and modern way.
Scratch is a programming language that helps the students for creating their own interactive stories, animations, games, and music and share them with others. The projects created help them to learn important elements of calculation, at the same time they can think creatively, systematically and can work collaboratively.
The Scratch application, used from an early age, will lead to the development of knowledge and skills that will help them to master very complex programming languages.
On the platform it can find video tutorials, communities dedicated to teachers and all those involved in education, examples of projects developed by community members.
In addition, this platform offers the possibility to create a free account, the programs created can be published within the Community, they can be appreciated by other members, published applications can be remixed and all applications can be found in the “Explore” menu.
It is just an example of a platform, which, if students explore it, can learn elements of programming, logic and thinking, can create their own characters, objects, which they can include in the story or games created, combining computer skills with those of mathematics and science and they can solve problems related to everyday life.
Scratch is an object-oriented programming language, a visual programming language that allows you to create animations from simple to complex.
Coding as part of the game
Micro: bit is one of the most used Scratch extensions and is a Single Board Computer (SBC) designed to inspire critical thinking and creativity of students, being a multifunctional tool that works in many different ways when it is programmed to execute various commands.
Micro: Bit boards can be connected to a computer, where programs can be created, robots can be programmed to execute certain commands.
With the Lego Boost extension, students can learn to build humanoid robots, which can be connected via the Scratch Link application to Scratch 3.0 to connect the LEGO BOOST unit. Robots can be programmed to perform turn-by-turn commands from various angles, rotate, dance, and make certain voice commands.
Learning a programming language has the following benefits:
- It will help students to be creators and not just consumers of technology;
- Using the Scratch app, students can create everything from classic games to robot programming.
- Programming provides tools to express themselves in a unique and original way, also in the same editor, students can create their own drawings by writing a program or modifying others, applying different colors, line styles or custom backgrounds;
- Programming can teach them to put their imagination, creativity, into practice, creating stories and games for any field.
- Programming is inclusive and helps to develop self-confidence, can support many principles of mathematics; mathematical-computer fusion is inevitable when it comes to programming;
- Programming teaches him to solve problems and skills of analytical, critical thinking, because problem solving is a teaching method increasingly used in all disciplines of study, and critical thinking develops over time, through sustained learning effort;
- Programming is a new type of literacy and will account for a large part of future jobs;
- Programming develops teamwork skills, because it helps students to learn to work in a team, to communicate and collaborate with each other, and this also develops social human relationships.
In the digital age, the teacher has the responsibility to go beyond teaching only the basics using the traditional style, it must prepare students with the skills and knowledge of the society in which they will live as adults and understanding that they will need to succeed in a a society that is becoming highly technological and information-based. 21st century skills include the ability to think critically, to make informed judgments, to solve complex problems, to think creatively, to communicate comprehensively, and to collaborate using information in innovative ways.
21st century skills require an innovative support system to engage students in putting their theoretical knowledge into practice, using appropriate technologies and real-life connections to make learning relevant and personalized, and to help them move on to STEM careers.
In addition to acquiring new knowledge, students will strengthen their STEM skills, venture beyond their field of knowledge, understand the role of interdisciplinarity and critical thinking, and expand their range of language skills, as well as:
- Computational thinking and digital literacy
- Communication – students present their ideas, listen carefully, use communication to achieve different goals (a combination of lectures and autonomous learning),
- Collaboration – students work in groups to achieve a common goal and together take responsibility for the collaborative activity in which they participated.
- Curiosity, amazement and questions – practical activities give students the opportunity to think critically, to ask questions, to observe, to evaluate information and to collaborate constructively.
Critical thinking, problem solving, creativity, ICT literacy and innovation.