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A recent article on the BBC Click website saw Alex Hudson asking whether or not schools and universities are teaching the basic programming skills that are essential to understanding computers and technology.

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Education is focusing more on how to use the technology currently at our disposal, rather than delving into the bare bones of how it works. Instead of codes and equations there is Word and Excel. When you consider that the technology currently being developed is so advanced, the next generation of programmers and coders has to keep up in order to continue growth.

Several ideas have been suggested to help children become more familiar with computers. Simpler systems in the classrooms could encourage kids to mess around with them, to see what they can push them to do, to see what works and what doesn’t.

Inspiring kids to get involved in the mechanics of programming and creating games or apps is the first step. So, if you happen to own a netbook (a brilliant first time computer for a child of almost any age over three), or a Transformer, or a PC, why not get your kids programming and playing around?

There are several sites that offer superb coding lessons and support for kids (and adults too, if you fancy trying for yourself).

Microsoft Small Basic teaches kids the first steps in coding in Basic and how to create games and programmes.

LEGO Mindstorms offers you programmable robotics and Lego. How cool is that? Seriously.

Alice teaches 3D computer programming to kids in the upper age group and covers everything from teaching materials, an active community and support.

Google Android’s very own App Inventor is a genius way for kids AND parents to have fun. Not only could you suddenly create an app that makes you a fortune, but you will actually have hours of fun doing it.

Scratch is a hugely popular site that I can’t recommend enough. Here kids can learn how to create their very own games. The games vary in skill level, kids can learn as they go based on their skill, and there is plenty of help for anyone who is stuck.

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