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How to teach children Python programming

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Today we live in a world where children can learn programming at a very early age. Coding comes in handy for them throughout their lives: in childhood it develops logical thinking, and as they get older it helps them become a sought-after job seeker in the labor market. The main thing in this story is that with all the advantages of learning programming, it also makes children really interested. A wide variety of course areas and engaging modern learning formats contribute to this.

Most often, young programmers talk to computers in Python, one of the three most common professional programming languages along with Java and the C family. At good programming schools they chose Python for our programming course because it's great for getting to know IT - the language itself is quite young, so it's dynamic and adaptive. Python is progressive and does not require knowledge of complex data structures or the principles of object-oriented programming, that is, the structure of the program in the form of objects and classes. If you draw an analogy, you can compare it to a car with an automatic transmission. Whereas Java is a car on a manual gearbox. Java requires writing longer lines of code, while Python uses minimal code length. In addition, new tools are regularly released in Python for applications ranging from mobile development to the gaming industry.

You can start learning the language from the age of 14, when children are already able to perceive information more systematically, make analogies, know English at a sufficient level. The principle of coding classes is the same as in the other sciences. At this age it is possible to achieve a good level of proficiency in the programming language, but it depends on the predisposition of the child, the professionalism of the teacher and the learning atmosphere.

It is important not to give dry theory and then boring practice. To make the learning interesting and rich, we use a lot of practical tasks and gamification, add game elements, such as analogy. For example, literally in 15 minutes after the beginning of the lesson we are already prescribing the simplest programs. This allows us to show children that the theory is relevant. At the beginning of training we program primitive loops, and already on 2-3 blocks we develop more complex games. Of course, it is important that practice is not ephemeral, but close to real life. Most often we give children tasks with a certain story. So students don't just calculate, but, for example, help little boy Vasya calculate the proceeds or write a program for a camera that stands on the road and registers the speed of cars.

Another tool that has proven excellent in practice is teamwork. Developers usually divide up their duties: some of them write algorithms, others test them, and others write user interfaces, so that people who are not good at programming can use them. In some classes, the guys are divided into teams, assign roles (someone is responsible for the design, someone - for the interface, and someone - for the internal software part), as in a real IT company, and develop the product during the class.

The main difficulty in learning Python is that it can be difficult for children to understand how a program interacts with main memory and how variables, lists, and other objects are created. Object-oriented approach is also difficult for children. But here analogies also help a lot, for example, there is a category of objects in the world - cars, and a car is an object in this category of cars.

The output is most often a game product. For example, analogies of popular games, quizzes, etc. There are also variants of an applied nature: assistant with the schedule of classes, accounting program, and so on.

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