Hi everybody! It’s Mr. Lubbock Moms Blog subbing in for my heroic wife who’s been down with the flu all week. Despite running a constant fever and all of the other symptoms that go along with that, she still managed to set up the LMB booth at Holiday Happening and help me host a 3-day workshop on the next steps for enhancing our digital human capabilities at work. I’m telling you, she’s badass. And as we all know, smart is the new sexy, so she’s got that covered, too. Actually, that’s a nice segue into this blog post. I’m going to talk a little while about what I think are some truly important developments in the world, how they will likely impact our children as they grow up, and what we can do about it. All right here in Lubbock!
Do you love talking about Qubits? Do you and your friends spend hours sipping a nice pinot while debating the merits of machine learning vs artificial neural networks? When you’re at a party and you accidentally overhear somebody mention CRISPR, are you instantly hooked? Finally, did you spend two hours at work last week debating the short term wins of a monolithic architecture against the long term advantages of the independent deployability enabled through microservices? (Spoiler alert: this last one was me, and it was riveting – NOT).
If you answered YES to any of these questions (and it’s important that you answer YES and not just yes), then you can skip this post. Consider yourself CLEP’d out because you’re almost certainly already doing what we’re going to talk about. Or, better yet, if you answered YES, then leave a comment at the bottom and help me convince everybody else that this stuff is gold.
Everybody else, please do your children a favor and read on.
Why Your Kids Need to Learn More About Computers
Everybody who knows me knows that I’m addicted to Audible. Two books I’ve listened to recently are The Industries of the Future by Alec Ross and Scientific Secrets for Raising Kids who Thrive by Professor Peter M Vishton. They work nicely together in a couple of ways. First, while Scientific Secrets does a tremendous job of citing research and results about what parenting practices really show positive results (hint: getting a head start on math has the most long term impact into adulthood), it paints in fairly broad strokes. The book offers no advice on what future job markets might look like, and what skill sets your children may need. Industries of the Future, on the other hand, does just that. To summarize that book, almost every job in the next 10 – 20 years will be significantly impacted by artificial intelligence, robotics, genetic engineering, cybersecurity, and big data. Some might argue that these are actually the industries of today, not the future, but I would inject that, while a lot of people are learning about these fields today, by the time our children are adults, everybody will be expected to know them and to operate comfortably in those spaces.
The second way in which these two books complement each other is in the way they both stress the importance of exposing your kids to more than one language. While Peter Vishton talks about the proven benefits of children learning a foreign language, Alec Ross adds to that by opining that children should actually learn two foreign languages – one spoken and one machine language. Indeed, Alec Ross would stress that all adults in the next 10 – 20 years need to be able to at least talk comfortably about robotics, code, and machine languages, and a great many adults will need to be able to communicate using robotics, code, and machine languages.
Sound daunting? Well, the good news is that getting your kids to learn a machine language, or a computer programming language, is not any more difficult than learning a spoken language. In fact, it may be much easier. It is also not reserved for the science kids. Almost all children have the capacity (and probably would love) to learn how to make little robots do their bidding, or to write fun little video games. Kids as young as 4 can pick these skills up quickly, and they help develop and stretch their brains in terrific ways.
The problem is that public schools do not yet do a great job of addressing these specific skill needs. I’m sure they’ll catch up someday, but maybe not in time for your children. Instead, I know a great alternative here in Lubbock offering a curriculum that will help all children gain a level of comfort (at a minimum), or an amazing head start on thriving in the increasingly technical jobs of the future. That place is called Code Ninjas.
How can Code Ninjas Help?
Code Ninjas is a coding center for kids ages 4-14. There, the Ninjas have fun and learn a bevy of valuable skills through learning to code. In addition to coding, kids are learning problem-solving techniques, teamwork, leadership and critical thinking skills. They get to be creative and imaginative. Coding isn’t just typing letters and symbols – it’s an art!
The Code Ninjas CREATE program is gives kids ages 7-14(ish) the opportunity to explore multiple coding languages as they work through the curriculum. The Ninjas learn primarily through building video games, but also have the chance to explore with robotics, snap circuits and other STEM activities. The school is also currently rolling out Code Ninjas JR for ages 4-7. Now, younger learners can get a head start on their coding adventures. The JR curriculum is fantastic, and it is exciting to think about introducing your younger children to these concepts when little brains are absorbing so much!
Code Ninjas has a flexible drop-in schedule that allows families the convenience of coming anytime during student hours. They are open Monday-Thursday 3:30-8:00, Fridays 3:30-6:00 and Saturdays 10:00-1:00. In addition to the drop-in curriculum, Code Ninjas offers camps, birthday parties and Parent’s Night Out events.
It’s important to get this blog out today because Code Ninjas has some great deals and events coming up for the holidays:
- Keep an eye out for the Black Friday/Cyber Monday deal – Starting Monday, November 25th, you can get your first month of coding for $49 for a limited time.
- The next Parent’s Night Out will be Friday, December 6th from 6:00-9:00 p.m.
- The week of December 9th is Computer Science Education Week. Code Ninjas will have Hour of Code events Monday the 9th and Tuesday the 10th from 6:00-7:00 p.m. where kids can try coding FREE at their Center. Though there is no cost, we ask that families bring a Toys for Tots donation to help other children in the Lubbock Community.
- The annual Code Ninjas Holiday Hackathon is scheduled for Saturday, December 14th from 10:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. Kids will work in teams of two to create a game and compete for local and national prizes. Parents should sign their kids up for this event, as there will be limited spots.
I highly recommend that you schedule a tour and game building session. There is no cost or commitment, and it’s a great way to see if Code Ninjas would be a good fit for your family. You can reach out to them anytime at (806) 370-0022 or by visiting their website: https://www.codeninjas.com/locations/tx-lubbock.
My 4-year old Olivia has cerebral palsy, and because of that, she has difficulty moving and controlling her hands. Yet she’s perfectly adept at navigating her way around an iPad. I can’t even hide apps from her; she finds them and then messes with the settings. My two-year-old Jake is also a phone and iPad wiz already and loves talking to Alexa (though she can’t understand him any better than we can). So even if you’re not computery, your children are. And that’s a good thing because they really need to be. Do them a favor and introduce them to Code Ninjas. And when you’re given a choice, opt for microservices. Your DevOps pipeline will thank you.
Find Code Ninjas on FB here: https://www.facebook.com/CodeNinjasLubbock/