It is even considered by many to be the lingua franca of the modern internet.
Back in the day, when modems still made funny sounds when you connected to the internet, and an incoming phone call disconnected you completely, web developers relied solely on HTML to build webpages.
As a result, the content was static, meaning what was there was there and users couldn’t really interact with web pages.
Anything fancier than what could be coded in HTML meant the page had to run requests to the server, which meant a long response time and some refreshing.
Importance in the modern world
web page and web app uses it in some form and so the language holds something of a position of importance in our online world.
Runs in Browsers
Easy to learn
Which is also why websites aren’t always crashing despite little glitches occuring in the code.
While more experienced coders tend to complain that this can lead to sloppy programming habits in the long run, this argument doesn’t really hold water with kids as you can’t reasonably expect the same kind of syntax precision out of children and teens that you can out of a professional coder.
In fact, kids are more likely to become frustrated and turned off by their code throwing out constant error messages because they didn’t type something out precisely.
But, as computer scientist Bjarne Stroustrup, one of the developers of C++ said: there are only two kinds of languages: the ones people complain about and the ones nobody uses.
Solid development of coding concepts
- Greater attention spans
- Stronger math skills
- More fluent reading skills
- Stronger understanding of longer term action & consequence
- Ability to see multiple perspectives and approaches
- And a greater ability to understand abstract and symbolic concepts
That said, certain kids may be able to handle it earlier than others. Parents can look for the following clues to determine if their child is ready to try text-based coding:
- They are starting to show an ability to learn the basic but somewhat abstract concepts and logic behind the code if explained carefully, such as loops, variables, and if-then statements.
- They can demonstrate stronger letter recognition and reading skills, ideally knowing their way around a mouse and keyboard…which isn’t something to take for granted in today’s touchscreen world.
- The child demonstrates some patience and resilience to failure. This is an important trait in coding (as well as life), since code can and will fail to work frequently and sometimes spectacularly.
The problem that parents often have with this kind of book-based learning is that:
- It often requires some skill and knowledge on the part of the parent to help guide the child through the learning and work through the textbook in general, and some parents may not themselves be all that comfortable with coding.
- Kids may not have the patience or reading ability to learn diligently from a 300+ page textbook, even if it is engagingly written and the projects well thought out.
- Perhaps most importantly, they’re not all that interactive or stimulating for kids, who often need greater production values and entertainment to stay interested in coding
As a result, many coding classes for kids have popped up over the years, with some designed to reach kids as young as 7.
These coding classes for kids often assume zero prior coding knowledge, guide kids step by step through an essential curriculum, and explain concepts simply, clearly and usually with some enthusiasm.
Most are usually self-paced, which means they easily slide into any schedule, and they often include interactive projects or activities for kids to work on that might be of interest to them.
Tynker – Learn by Creating Video Games
Price: From $7.50 per month
Recommended age: 12+
With over 60 coding courses and well over 4,000 modules, Tynker has a well-deserved reputation for its wide range of courses that teach coding to kids.
With 120+ programming activities and over 48 coding puzzles, it does a pretty good job at taking kids through all the way from the very basics of coding concepts and typing practice all the way through to making their own 2D games.
Along the way, students learn important concepts like conditionals, variables, expressions, event tracking loops and patterns, coordinates, and more.
Lessons are taught in text through Tynker’s internal environment, with an inbuilt text editor and does a good job at breaks larger concepts down into smaller, easy to understand chunks, usually using small 2D interactive video games and activities to help kids learn step by step and keep them interested.
Courses generally culminate in having kids create their own increasingly complex video games as projects, which they can then share with the wider Tynker community.
While these aren’t cutting edge 3D masterpieces, being more like mobile games, they do give kids a sense of accomplishment, are kind of fun and addictive and are more easily customized and styled by kids using Tynker’s inbuilt tools.
For parents, Tynker also offers robust progress tracking through the parents dashboard that can give them a pretty good idea of what kids are up to and how they’re doing with their lessons.
Their courses take kids from absolute beginner to completing their very own mobile game-style project in an engaging, step by step manner, giving them the tools and understanding to continue their learning of more complex coding.
For more information, you can read our in-depth Tynker review.
Price: From $99 per year
Recommended age: 9+
To top it off, CodeCombat has introduced a so-called AI league, where kids can form clans with other students and use their programming skills to challenge other clans in battle, which is kind of cool.
For more information, you can read our in-depth review of CodeCombat.
Despite being a text-based coding language, it is somewhat forgiving, relatively easy to learn and used in many popular web apps and mobile games, making it an attractive and logical option for kids looking to either start learning to code or move up from visual coding.
About the Author
David Belenky is a freelance writer, former science and math tutor and a tech enthusiast. When he’s not writing about educational tech, he likes to chill out with his family and dog at home.