Take That Kid To Mathematics Camp, Forget the Coding Camp Yet

Take That Kid To Mathematics Camp, Forget the Coding Camp Yet

First, I am not a licensed counselor. But because I get many emails from people on their children, I think I can share my insights nonetheless. Do not be fixated on sending your under-12-year old kids to computer coding camps. I see in Lagos they have even coding classes for 6-year old kids. People, you are not helping that child.

Coding is a “language” mechanism and it has basic alphabets. Those alphabets are numbers (yes, mathematics). It is highly unlikely a child will thrive on real coding without affinity to numbers no matter how many coding classes you have exposed him or her. It is like teaching a child English writing when you have not explained what A, B, C … and Z stand for.

During this long vacation, take the child where they teach algebra (I know few exists now! That is unfortunate) over those coding classes.  Time for coding camp will come when he/she can read very well and have basic mathematics from  the12th birthday.  Sure, the child can be introduced to coding but not making it everything.

There is a great difference between copying html codes online to make a website, and having mathematical capacities to solve huge business frictions with software solutions. Yes, mathematics is what solves extremely complex business issues, and if you cannot break those business frictions into mathematical elements, no coding can save you. And most of the people breaking the frictions understand what made them better – it was the number, not really the coding [sure, coding was not mainstream when they grew up].

Koduri and Shahi represent a new kind of Silicon Valley parent. Instead of tricking out their homes with all the latest technology, many of today’s parents working or living in the tech world are limiting — and sometimes outright banning — how much screen time their kids get.

The approach stems from parents seeing firsthand, either through their job, or simply by living in the Bay Area — a region home to the most valuable tech companies on Earth — how much time and effort goes into making digital technology irresistible.

In my business, 80% of the main software works are mathematics while the 20% is just the coding translation. You bring in series, calculus, trigonometry, etc to solve the problem before you can translate into codes. There is no way on this earth a kid without good foundation of mathematics will thrive in coding, on game changing ideas, unless you want him/her to be making static website which does not even require taking a class!

Sure – it could be that you want the camp as a form of socialization as well as a mechanism to expose the kid to technology. Go for it – it can inspire. (I take mine to Dave and Buster to expose the amazing emerging technologies coming in Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, and more. But I did make sure to explain that mathematics and love of it is how those things come. That mathematics is physics, chemistry and the hard sciences.)  But make sure the program curricula capture that the kid must still like mathematics. It is not a binary – if you want great success on coding, you must like numbers. I am yet to see any software successful entrepreneur (real entrepreneur, not the one making static websites) who is not a mathematical mind.

Try it on your child, you will be surprised that solving mathematics or learning sciences becomes like gaming. How do I battle to reach level 2? The battle here is mastering algebra or understanding photosynthesis, and because they have used the same motivation typical in video games, the child will not even know he or she is learning addition and multiplication.

A kid wins on mathematics lessons on early development, not coding classes. It is not a binary: you cannot hate mathematics and code world-changing solutions. The algebra of today is the Facebook of tomorrow.

The Best Gaming for Kids Now is Khan Academy

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COMMENT #1

Life is all about learning and understanding the fundamentals, no amount of manoeuvring can save you from this reality; you will always fall short, when the moment of truth arrives.

Just like Philosophy, it does not matter whether you are science or art inclined, if you fail to appreciate it, your understanding of human dynamics and things around you will always be shallow.

Mathematics doesn’t sound or look fanciful enough, but coding sounds cute, so you will see people congregating to learn coding, but when real life issues that require complex understanding of relationships and combination of natural phenomena are presented to them, they now want you to explain everything, before they can do the coding!

To be a great writer, you first learn the alphabets, then the meaning and use of words, then syntax rules; by the time you now fuse everything with your natural ability to draw relationships and combine things intelligently, the output is a masterpiece.

Yes, the castles will be up there in the sky, but without first putting the foundations on the ground, they cannot be seen up there. You cannot run away from your shadow, so it’s better to embrace mathematics, in order to make sense of your coding adventures.

COMMENT #2

Prof Ndubuisi Ekekwe this is absolutely true and it is a pity that our priorities are gradually changing. In fact parents are rushing the development of their kids.

This is what I tell parents of my student, ” I will not teach your ward Robotics in a month but I will teach them what they need to know to build their Robot in my absent”. What they need to know loops around sciences.

LET ME SHARE MY EXPERIENCE.
During my robotics workshop, I asked the student a simple mathematics question – “what is the angle on a straight line?”
They found it difficult to answer until I dissected a circle into halves.
At another time, I asked Newton’s first law of Motion.
I ended up answering my question myself.
Parents these are some of the basic knowledge for building a Robots aside Coding.

FINAL WORD
1. Teachers please place more emphasis on important Issue.

2. To anyone reading this, do you know that to kickstart a career in Artificial Intelligence, the knowledge of mathematics is a prerequisite ? Don’t be deceived.

3. Parent let your children grow mentally as they ought to because if they are cheated by not knowing mathematics and other science subjects, they might struggle with the emergence of new technology.

All thoughts are Mine.

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3 thoughts on “Take That Kid To Mathematics Camp, Forget the Coding Camp Yet

  1. Thanks indeed for sharing this, Prof. There’s really no substitute for mathematics because this provides the underpinning for the hottest careers in a fast-pacing data-driven world.

    I forecast that in the near future, cybersecurity would be the highest-paying discipline, and may top the list of most in-demand skills for a couple of years. However, cryptography is one of the most pervasive tools used in cybersecurity, and there’s no shortage of mathematical sophistication required in this domain. Indeed, exposing kids to mathematics at an early age is a remarkable investment in their future career.

    I also put it that mathematics is the unsung hero that has accelerated technological innovation and economic agility in developed countries. There are a generous dose of ingenious mathematicians in Nigeria, but lack of government support of the profession makes it difficult to lead a mathematical workforce that will jolt the economy out of redundancy.

    Reply
    1. I do think mathematicians need to make a real case on the value they bring to computing. Largely, everything is maths. Sure, maths does not pay while coding does. Yet, we need to connect the dots and build the translations.

      Reply
  2. Thank you for sharing this Sir. Mathematics is indeed the spring board for excellence in coding and the future! Parents would do themselves justice and get value for the future when children do great in Mathematics.

    Reply

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