Kids and Coding

January 12, 2016 | Blog, Education

Jennie Dalgren is a pre-school and primary teacher from Sweden with a passion to create and learn. Along with serial entrepreneur Linus Ekenstam she is the founder of Kids Hack Club, an initiative to get more kids involved in coding. The project will be launched in Barcelona in January 2016. Here Jenny talks to MumAbroad about this new initiative and why it is so important for kids to learn to code.


Children learning to code

 

What is Kids Hack Club?

 

It’s an initiative to get more kids into digital creativeness. To help them discover that you can create things yourself and not only be a consumer of the technological world. We’re starting up after school classes for kids between 4-12 years old now in January 2016. We are located in Poblenou, Barcelona.

Why did you start it?

 

As a combination of being a teacher and very interested in new technology I’ve experienced the lack of new technology in most of the schools I’ve worked in. We need to get the kids ready for this world, where technology and computers of all sorts are becoming more and more included in our life. I’ve been working with kids and programming in Sweden before, as a part of my daily teaching and when we moved to Barcelona a year ago I started to think about doing the same here. I love to work with children and be a part of their world, where there are no limits. It makes you feel alive!

What is programming and why is it so important?

 

As i said programming and knowledge of technology in general are a part of our society so of course we need to teach our children about them. As logical as it was to teach our children how to make a fire back in the old days, how to speak foreign langugages and how to count etc, it is logical today that they should learn how to program. To understand it.

How to explain programming in a quick way..? Easily said programming is to make a list of instructions for a computer to follow. Like a recipe of how to bake a cake. If you write a cake recipe you can give it to anyone and they can execute that “program” and make the cake. As long as they know the language that it is written in.

What is the difference between programming and coding?

 

I would say that coding and programming is synonyms. You write code to make a program.

Why is it important to teach children about computers and how they work?

 

Nowadays most children have some kind of computer at home. When I grew up I didn’t. The importance lays not only in the skills to use computers. That, the kids already know. Better than the most of us. But to understand HOW and WHY it works as it does. That is important. To understand that it is all made of code and that you can make your own. It’s a new way of creating and making. And I feel that it is important to understand this. A new way of express yourself and of course to get ready for the world of new jobs, societies and life.

Do you think technology and how it works should be taught more in schools?

 

It has to be taught more in schools. But I know that the school world is not as quick and easy to manoeuvre as we want it to be. You can look at the school world as a big ferry. Kids Hack Club (and other smaller organisations) are more like Jetskis. It’s easier for us to make changes.

How young can you start teaching children about computers and programming?

 

I’ve started with 3-4 years old. Of course we will start with more basic stuff and visual programming. When moving over to more code writing lessons it helps if you can read and write.

You plan to launch Kids Hack Club in January 2016.  What will you be offering at this point?

 

Yes, we will start our after school programs in week 3, different days for different groups, depending on age. And you can enroll for 12 weeks or 24 weeks. It will be one lesson every week for 1.5 hours. We will provide afternoon snacks and then we’re starting our creativeness.

What is your long-term vision?

 

I want to get the Kids Hack Club going, first in Poblenou, Barcelona. And then hopefully expanding to other parts of the city or even the country. We want to do after school programs, summercamps, workshops & talks for teachers.

If I dream even bigger I would love to make Kids Hack Club into a whole school. And looking at learning and teaching from a whole different angle than most of the schools do now.

If you want to know more about Kids Hack Club, you can fill out the form at the website kidshackclub.com or email Jennie directly at jennie@kidshackclub.com

BCN Coding Kids, located in central Barcelona, also offer classes for children  10 years and over. Visit their website for more details: www.bcncoding.com

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