Are you fascinated by computer programming and curious to learn what it takes to develop the app you use or the game that you play? Is your child motivated to get started with coding , but they quickly run into a screen full of white space and things come to a standstill?
This is where visual coding can help.
WHAT IS VISUAL PROGRAMMING?
For a long time, “talking” to your computer meant learning its language, and that was — a Programming Language. Most programming languages are text-based, which means the programmers have to write commands into their computers, get data from the computer, and then share that data. But now, it is possible to talk to our computers with graphics and images- Visual Programming.
Visual programming, in its broadest sense, is a programming model in which visual icons and symbols are used to graphically produce computer code / instructions rather than the use of text. The icons are frequently used as a shorthand for the code instructions. Statements and control structures are represented as graphic blocks that may be assembled to construct programmes, allowing programming without having to deal with textual language.
BENEFITS OF VISUAL PROGRAMMING
Visual programming is beneficial to students, or in that case anyone, who does not have access or is typically not educated in text-based coding and software development.
It can also be used to minimize the entry barrier to software development, making it an excellent environment for getting kids, students, and anyone who has no prior coding knowledge, acquainted with the discipline.
Apart from its intellectual and educational benefits, visual coding has another significant advantage. Because of its ease of use , easily traceable nature, and graphical display, it allows the developers to try a large number of new ideas at once.
VISUAL CODING FOR KIDS
Visual coding methods allow you to code graphically, or “visually,” rather than textually, usually through the use of blocks and drag-and-drop processes. It allows children to easily see the connection between the code block they place and the response it generates. They are no longer overwhelmed by what appears to be an impossible task in front of them, but are instead engrossed in the entertaining visuals at their fingertips.
Seeing is Believing
Visual Basic is a programming tool that allows users to create programmes that look similar to “Windows” programmes by drag & drop buttons, text boxes, scroll bars, timers, and dozens of other visual “controls.” They provide the user with a graphical user interface (GUI). VB also has advanced features, such as concepts and structures that allow programmes to be customised for use with the Internet.
VISUAL PROGRAMMING AS AN EDUCATIONAL TOOL
Programming language education for kids can help them get started on a career path that will be in high demand and rewarding in the future. Kids can learn to programme via block format instruction or by learning a new programming language.Visual programming languages have proven to be effective educational tools for training young programmers to think logically. To keep youngsters interested in computer programming, it’s better to teach it through games and gaming-style code.
Scratch is possibly the best example of a visual programming language with “block”-based syntax, developed by the MIT Media Laboratory in 2002. It focuses on teaching programming logic without the challenges of learning a language’s syntax. Each aspect of the code is shaped like a puzzle piece so that students learn to recognise different parts of code and how they interact with one another.Scratch is one of the first suggestions for kid-friendly programming because it is free and widely supported.
Alice, developed by Carnegie-Mellon university, is a free-to-use 3D programming tool that teaches the fundamentals of object-oriented programming languages such as C++. It employs the well-known building block approach to assist children in developing games or animations by programming camera motions, 3D models, and scenes.Programs, or “Techniques” in Alice, can be transformed into a Java IDE, allowing programming students to move from a visual building block interface to a standard programming language.
4. LEGO Mindstorms
Another way to learn programming is to look into robotics. Many children are enthralled by the prospect of programming things that actually work in the real world. There are numerous robotics kits and programming languages available, but the LEGO Mindstorms system has one of the largest user communities and a kid-friendly visual programming app.The LEGO EV3 programming software employs a building-block — in this case, a LEGO block that builds the programme horizontally and appears more like a flowchart. Programmers can manipulate their LEGO Mindstorm creations by combining actions, variables, and events.
5. Sphero BOLT
Sphero BOLT is a robotic ball that can be programmed to display characters, vector graphics, sensor data, or play games on the matrix itself. It is powered by the Sphero Edu app.There are two sorts of visual coding modes available: code blocks and draw. With a ‘draw mode’ form of visual coding, they can draw routes that represent code for their robots to follow, rather than setting blocks. They can just sketch a square using their app if they want the Sphero to move in a square. The same can be done with different shapes,patterns and designs.
If your children are spending more time on their phones and laptops, it is time to redirect their interests into something productive. As described, visual coding serves as a launching point for programming. If your child is ready to take the plunge, consider the various visual coding applications available free-of-cost. For more hands-on experience, try various options which are available online for kids as Virtual Tech Camps and after-school programs.