Visual vs Text-based Programming Languages For Your Kids

Visual vs Text-based Programming Languages For Your Kids

Kids can learn programming languages while they are young. We, as parents, are responsible for guiding our children as early as today. So, if we decided to teach coding, then we should start it right away.

Why is learning coding languages essential?

Coding languages or programming languages are the main and only instructions understood by the computer. It has sets of symbols, syntax, and rules to follow to make the program run. Programmers use this coding language to create and run a platform, application, and others. If they are fully aware of the syntax and the other language rules, they can easily make programs. 

In this case, if you teach coding languages to your kids today, you will expect them to master a particular language that they might use in the future. They will also understand the processes, systems, and functions of the languages, preparing them for future programming projects. 

So, what programming languages are you going to use to teach your child?

Two-different programming languages

Programming languages have two different types: text-based and visual-based coding languages. Both are applicable in building programs, platforms, and apps. It also includes particular rules to follow. Text-based and visual-based coding languages have considerable similarities in the programming world. However, it also features distinct differences. Through this, you might come up with a question about which programming language you should teach to your kids. That is what we are going to discuss today about the best kids coding languages. 

Pros of Text-based Programming Languages  

Text coding languages primarily focus on text coding. It uses particular letters, symbols, and digits to be understandable for the computer. It uses a more complex concept and requires a keen concentration on the details. 

Text-based programming is also sensitive to each symbol. If a semi-colon is misplaced in the code sentence, the program most likely wouldn't run. So, kid programmers must recheck everything and analyse which part is missing. 

The good news about this is that text-based coding has a broader scope of creativity and motivation. It lets kids programmers level up their game with text coding. 

Professional software programmers who prefer text-based programming languages usually use Python, Java, JavaScript, and Lua. For kids who want to learn the basics of text-based coding can begin learning through Logo and Sniff.    

Pros of Visual-based Programming Languages

Visual-based coding or block-based programming languages are featuring blocks and any graphical components to build programs. It requires visual expression and interpretation while it uses graphic symbols rather than text. 

Kids coding usually use visual-based programming languages to introduce graphics and images with bright colours and fun shapes. It makes the coding more entertaining and appealing to kids’ eyes. Young children can also understand the primary system and fundamentals of programming through visuals. 

Even kids who are not yet reading can do block-based programming as long as they familiarise themselves with coding rules and processes. In this case, younger kids have a chance to learn how to program. 

Some popular visual-based coding languages are Scratch, Blockly, GameMake, Kodu, Alice, Lego Mindstorms, and MIT App Inventor. 

Comparison Between Text-Based and Visual-Based Programming

Both text-based and block-based coding languages help build programs. They both have many perks and substantial uses that make it more interesting to know their differences. 

In that case, if you are indeed excited to discover the programming language you can teach your kids, then check out the comparison below.

#1 Ease of Learning

Kids who use visual-based coding do not require remembering all the language’s commands, rules, and syntax. They can create a program without too much effort or understanding. So, kids are not obliged or be stressed to memorise all the symbols needed to build an application.

On the other hand, text-based programmers can master the texts today and use them for future references. It takes weeks or months for kids to understand and write codes at their own pace.

In the end, block-based coding is more effortless than text-based as it makes the kids enjoy the learning process without requiring them to understand and memorise the whole concept. 

#2 Level of Understanding 

Visual-based coding can be easily understood for young minds. Even if they cannot read, they can build a program through graphics. It can help them understand the world of coding without complex concepts such as symbols, spaces, and digits. Kids can also master block-based coding even if they do not have experience with coding.

Conversely, in text-based programming, kids are expected to have prior knowledge of basic coding and programming. It also requires them to comprehend the problem as they solve it through a programming language. 

Through this, you may identify your kids’ competencies and prior understanding of coding and programming. 

#3 Sensitivity

Programs do not run all the time. Sometimes there are syntax errors that prevent the program to follow the codes you entered. In this case, the programmer must check and verify the codes to correct the mistakes.

As for text-based programming, a simple colon or any single symbol can affect the whole program. It is more sensitive to manipulation by little kids as it requires keen attention. It can also be frustrating for them, especially if they have just begun learning. However, this kind of sensitivity can help them practise resilience and carefulness. 

If you prefer to learn coding for kids through a visual-based programming language, it will prevent them from struggling with text code’s high sensitivity. Block-based coding can easily see the problem through the graphics without any hassles. In this case, they just drag and drop blocks and redo things if needed. 

#4 Layout

Text-based coding has a linear layout of code sentences. It demands the codes to show connections to the other codes. It must be written coordinately from beginning to end without any lapses. On the other hand, block-based coding features a non-linear layout. You can still move the code anytime you prefer. 

But then, visual-based coding languages are still have a linear layout that made them more strict but more organised. 

#5 Efficiency 

Others believe block-based coding is slower and less effective than efficiently typing the codes through text-based coding. It makes much time in typing the codes to build a program and run it right away. However, new programmers should master the code language first before achieving this kind of efficiency.

It is acceptable for kids to work slower with either visual or text-based coding languages. They should slow down in writing sentence code for text-based programming to prevent extra space or spelling mistakes. While on visual-based coding, they also need to consider other graphics that might interfere with the program. So, they still need to be mindful of their speed and efficiency.

#6 Devices or Gadgets

Visual-based programming languages are more available to a touch screen interface. Kids learning code can easily drag and drop graphics using their phones or tablets. Some use a keyboard or mousepad to build their programs too. Any of these are applicable for visual-based programming. Kids can download these coding games or online programming platforms right away. It is easier, faster, and more achievable than text-based coding, which requires a laptop or personal computer. 

What should I teach first to my kid: text-based coding or visual-based coding?

Check out the following to understand your  child’s programming journey, what to use and even where to begin

  1. If you want to teach your kid as a beginner, start with Scratch. Then, move on to Python.
  2. If your kid prefers to create animations and games through coding camera motions, scenes, and 3D models, learn Alice’s block-based coding. It also teaches about C++ concepts and principles.
  3. If your kid wants to learn to program using an iPad or a Mac, begin with Swift Playgrounds.
  4. If your kid loves robotics and blocks, you should introduce LEGO Mindstorms to them and begin learning through their tablets or computers.
  5. If your child has a prior background in programming, continue with Python.
  6. If your kid loves games and wants to learn coding through game development, choose Roblox gaming with Lua text-based coding.
  7. If you want your kid to learn more in a different challenging language but can still enjoy it, choose Java coding with Minecraft modding.
  8. If your child wants to make web apps or web pages, teach your child about JavaScript programming along with CSS and HTML lessons.
  9. If your kid is highly interested in 3D game development, proceed with Unity.
  10. If your child prefers robotics, engineering, and skills for machines, you should consider VEX IQ.

You can search for other suggestions for code learning online. However, the decision still depends on you, as parents, and on your children You may choose from the list of programming languages and identify which language suits your child the most. 

You may choose the best programming language to lead to a better coding journey for your kid. 

However, if you notice, visual-based programming is more common for younger and less experienced kids. This is because visual-based programming can introduce basic coding concepts to children through simple instructions and coding activities. 

That is why experts support visual coding for beginners. If they master the graphic coding apps or activities, they can now proceed with text-based coding and choose the most appropriate for their skills and interests.

How can I teach my child text-based or visual-based coding?

Parents can help their children familiarise text-based and visual-based coding through books, video tutorials, and unplugged coding activities. They can even invest in toys, robots, and other materials to input coding principles into their children.

Yet still, experiential learning and project-based learning are very effective, especially for the 21st Century teaching approaches. It demands learners to try and begin experimenting with various  materials and discover learning from it. So, parents should encourage children to play and learn with the coding languages and try to manipulate them independently. 

Like them, you can also provide coding materials and devices for your child to acquire first-hand knowledge and experience. It will help them understand the process right away.

Additionally, your kids can also master coding at a very young age with the help of code learning schools. A kid’s coding class in Sydney can teach them the basics of computer sciences whilst improving their life skills. You may try the newest franchise kids coding school, Skill Samurai

How can code school teach visual-based and text-based coding to my child?

Skill Samurai is an after school coding and robotics class for ages 7 to 18. They welcome boys and girls who love to learn STEM, coding, and computer sciences! 

Its courses and curriculum are well-proven from its global coding schools. So, it already established a suitable curriculum for a particular age and ability. Here is some of the learning track your kids can try depending on their classes, perfect for them.

  1. Skill Samurai considers kids ages 6+ to be beginners. In this case, they start to learn about the visual-based coding of Scratch for three consecutive completions. 
  2. Kids age 8 to 10 can pursue text-based codings like Python, Lua of Roblox, and Java of Minecraft. Your child can choose any of these three languages or even take up all of them!
  3. Afterwards, Skill Samurai offers more complex text-based coding lessons for kids aged 10 and above. In this curriculum, kids can move on to Advance Python programming, CSS and HTML Web development, Unity 3D Game Development, VEX IQ Robotics, and even IBM Watson Machine Learning
  4. Teenagers and high school students can also master other computer programming skills for Google Cloud Services, Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, Alibaba Cloud, and other text-based coding skills.

Through this coding class for kids, your child can learn either visual-based coding and text-based coding while enjoying its learning experience in a fun and comfortable environment.

How to enrol my child in a code school for kids? 

First, kindly check the course and curriculum you want your child to take. If you cannot identify it, you may ask a Skill Samurai Coach to guide you through their lessons. Then, you may begin to register your kid to coding classes for kids in Castle Hill and Rouse Hill. Get started here.