MUSBA HASHMI chats up Anoop Gautam, CEO & Co-founder, Tinker Coders, about the reason behind the growing craze of teaching coding in the K-12 segment and whether it is too young an age to learn the subject
The pandemic has seen an increase in K-12 segment students learning coding. What is the reason?
Due to the pandemic, K-12 schools across the globe were forced to adopt online learning. The gradual shift towards online learning from traditional learning methods ignited the continuation of extra-curricular activities and vocational skills through online mode. As a skill, coding is crucial in making young children future-ready to cope with ever-rising technological advancements across all sectors. We are living in the age of Artificial Intelligence and automation. Our upcoming generation will require coding as an inherited skill in order to become employable and even carry out day to day tasks. This is why we have seen a rapid rise in K-12 students learning coding during the pandemic.
Isn’t it too early?
Coding is a proven tool to enhance 21st-Century skills like logical thinking, creativity, analytical skills, computational thinking and problem solving skills. Understanding computers and learning the basics of coding helps children develop a comprehensive understanding of how things work in the real world around them. Critical thinking, a fancy way of saying good thinking, is a skill that can be developed with the help of coding. With the help of block-based programming, kids can understand the cause and effect relationships and can explore a whole different list of options. Creativity, the most sought after skil, can also be developed with coding. The purpose of introducing coding at an early age is not to make future techpreneurs and software engineers but coding is a medium for students to understand the underlying concepts of science and mathematics as they continue to build solutions inspired by their surroundings.
Coding, as being introduced at an early age, will help identify the round-pegs in the square holes and motivate students to become thinkers and tinkerers. This will help our youth to be prepared for any challenges and adversities they might face in the future.
What are some of the courses that children can explore?
Coding is being taught through multiple platforms and children can choose a technology as per their interest like Block-based coding, 3D Designing, Artificial Intelligence & Python, Application Development, Electronics, Robotics and many more. With Tinker Coders, children are able to understand the concepts of programming with in the easiest way possible. Also, students can explore multiple technologies in the initial months with the help of Grade wise courses designed for various grades starting from Grade II-XII and as per their interests and capabilities, they can further pursue coding in the technology of their interest with the help of various internship programmes.
What does the future hold for coding?
With rapid technological advancements, it has become mandatory to equip the students with the skills and knowledge needed for them to sustain and excel the futuristic jobs accelerated by these advancements. With coding becoming an indispensable part of our life, we are ready to witness exponential growth in the coding market in the upcoming years. The New Education Policy 2020 where coding is being introduced from Class VI onwards as a vocational skill, has accelerated the growth of coding market in India. Even in the pandemic, many companies have witnessed 100 per cent month on month growth in terms of valuation. At the current pace, we are likely to witness an exponential growth in the coding market for kids.
What all initiatives have you taken for the students in rural areas so that they can learn coding?
To bridge the gap of access to technology among all sections of society, we have come up with multiple solutions on which we are working parallelly. Tinker Coders will play a crucial role in reaching out to the masses having little exposure to computers and laptops as most of our coding platforms work on Smartphone as well. We are launching various programmes that will ease the access to coding and experiential learning through smartphones. Students will be able to access the complete course on their smartphones and will be able to learn coding and make interesting projects, mobile applications through their smartphones itself. To tackle the issue of internet connectivity, the company provides self-learning modules as well, so that the learning process doesn’t hamper. With the help of self-learning modules, students could access pre-recorded videos and documents at any particular time. We have collaborated with the schools across India under “De<Code> The Future” campaign where we are targeting to reach to the maximum students who might not have access to facilities like computers, Internet and electricity.