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Programming Apps for Kids for THIS Decade

Robots of the 21st century are replacing 20th century algorithmic jobs. So how do you prepare your children to compete with robots? YOU DON'T!

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Programming Apps for Kids for THIS Decade

Robots of the 21st century are replacing 20th century algorithmic jobs. So how do you prepare your children to compete with robots? YOU DON'T!

Let's start with a couple of definitions. Algorithmic work is routine. A process has been defined and the work simply involves following the well defined steps in this process. The worker is taught the process and expected to follow it without error. I am reminded of the work I did at Jeep Corporation while paying my way through college. Most of the jobs I did involved algorithmic work. One way to look at algorithmic work is that which can be automated by a computer or robot. There isn't much of a future for humans who do algorithmic work. 

Heuristic work requires a person. It's work for which no algorithm exists. It demands creativity and problem solving skills. While computers are excellent at speed and accuracy, humans are excellent at creativty and flexibility, skills required to perform heurisitic work. 

As parents, one of our jobs is to prepare our children for the job market by helping them discover their gifts and passions and provide a pathway for them to follow these. Having taught college computer science for 30 years, I'm a firm believer in teaching ALL CHILDREN the skill called computational thinking. This does NOT mean to think like a computer, rather it means to learn how to solve problems using computers while applying the creativity and flexiblity at which humans excel. 

The best place to start - expose your kids to the art of programming computers. This will provide the following direct benefits:

  • help them find out if they are gifted in this much in demand activity
  • make them more aware of how robots work, sort of like knowing enough about how cars work to drive one most effectively
  • teaches excellent problems solving and critical thinking skills
  • gets them ready for heuristic work
  • makes them extremely valuable in the job market which continues having to look overseas for programming talent

There are many ways to easily expose your children to programming. Recently, I came across 2 excellent apps I highly recommend.

LEGO MINDSTORMS' Fix the Factory - students are incrementally taught how to program a robot to solve basic to more advanced tasks

This app is free and very easy to learn. At each level it introduces the student to additional programming commands. The interface is highly graphical but as a result can be a little slow as you advance to more complex problems. Overall, it is an excellent app that I highly recommend. It is a great way to prepare young students (grades 3-6) to programming concepts they can apply to a real robot, the LEGO Mindstorm. We plan to introduce this app to at Ci 3.0 Junior Day Camp.

Lightbot: Code Hour - very addiciting, before they realize it they are learning to program loops and procedures. This environment, though less graphically intense, runs faster than Fix the Factory

Both of these games are well worth setting up for your children to experiement with and will assist you in preparing them for 21st century heuritics work. 

Another tool to assist you in this parenting task is to enroll your child in one of our Ci Summer Camps. Part of our mission is to inspire kids in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) in a mind engaging, hands on week of camp. For details on this summer's schedule, go to https://campinfinity.com/camps/.

 

 

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Dan Wooster

Dan is the founder of Camp Infinity, a retired computer science professor, cofounder of a software development company, and a member of the board for Answers in Genesis. He lives in Greenville, SC with his wife Karen. They have 3 married children and 5 grand children. He loves to inspire young people with a biblical view of the world, especially science & technology.

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Emily Barney

In addition to her strong organizational skills and heart for children's safety and well being, Emily brings to Camp Infinity a valuable perspective as a mother of two boys. She is happily married to a pastor. In addition, she works as the Children's Ministries Director at her local church. Visitors often comment on the high level of safety they experience when leaving their children under the supervision of Emily's team.

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Max Lorentz

Max Lorentz has loved science (and astronomy in particular) since childhood. He enjoys sharing it with others, especially with young people. He studied mathematics as an undergraduate and is currently completing a Ph.D. in astronomy.

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Georgia Purdom

A member of our advisory board, Georgia is a most gifted author, researcher and speaker for Answers in Genesis.

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Jeremy Ervin

Dr. Jeremy Ervin is the Inaugural Dean of the School of Education at Cedarville University. With his experience in providing professional learning for K-12 teachers and his time teaching pedagogy in higher education, he recognizes how the 21st Century classroom needs to center on the engagement of the learner with enduring understandings.

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Robert Ring

RJ is a blog writer for Camp Infinity and a student at Bob Jones University majoring in engineering. He loves considering the science and technology claims of science fiction stories. He also loves reading. Throughout his life he has been a dreamer, imagining a never ending series of what ifs and maybes. From a young age, God gave him a passion for learning all he could about the world around him.

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Dan Wooster

Dan is the founder of Camp Infinity, a retired computer science professor, cofounder of a software development company, and a member of the board for Answers in Genesis. He lives in Greenville, SC with his wife Karen. They have 3 married children and 5 grand children. He loves to inspire young people with a biblical view of the world, especially science & technology.

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Avery Foley

Avery Foley is a blog writer for Camp Infinity. She holds a bachelors of science in biblical studies and a masters of arts in theological studies. She’s originally from Canada but lives with her husband and young son in Kentucky where she works as a writer for a creation apologetics organization.

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Jason Goff

Jason is the social media manager for Camp Infinity. He loves helping us tell the stories of Ci through the digital mediums of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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