New ways to teach your kids to code

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New ways to teach your kids to code
Image Credit: PlayOsmo.com
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Want to make your kid into a mini Mark Zuckerberg? There’s a new tool out that gives young kids a hands-on way to learn the basics of computer programming.

Read more: You need to update your privacy settings if you don’t want Facebook’s new ads stalking you

Introducing the Osmo

The Osmo kit makes it easy for your child to learn basic computer programming concepts. Picture this: You buy a base — the Osmo docking station — and then put your iPad in it and load up the Osmo program. (Sorry, Android tablet people. This is for the iPad only!)

There’s also a red Osmo mirror attached to the iPad camera that allows the tablet to look down onto a play area. That’s where your child’s creativity takes over. The camera sees how your kid arranges coding blocks and then translates their arrangement into a script.

The end result is that your child can control the movements of an on-screen character by directing them via simple coding prompts.

“It’s about how you put your thoughts together in a way that computers understand,” the company’s founder tells The Wall Street Journal. “It’s similar to learning a language.” 

The cost of this device? The base and mirror are sold together for $75 or sold separately for $49 each. For more details, visit PlayOsmo.com.

MONEY-SAVING MOMENT: Your child can get basically the same experience of learning programming basics — minus the hands-on blocks — at HourofCode.org.

For example, this learning tool lets your child create computer commands that move an Angry Bird around one of its nemesis pigs by using a simple drag-and-drop interface!

Free and pay opportunities to learn coding for adults

We all hear about the importance of STEM learning and how it will shape the jobs of the future. In fact, Glassdoor.com reports that starting salaries for an Android developer are in the upper $80s right now. If you want in on that action, there are plenty of opportunities out there that you can take advantage of.

Codecademy.com offers free courses in JavaScript, HTML, CSS, PHP, Python, Ruby and API. With the knowledge you get here, you can build programs, games, websites and apps.

KhanAcademy.org is another great site that has interactive video tutorials on HTML, CSS, Javascript, SQL and more.

Other similar sites you may want to check out include CodeSchool.com where you can learn programming via select free courses or access all their content for $29 a month. Lynda.com, meanwhile, offers a free 10-day trial and after that full access is $25 a month.

Read more: 6 free ways to learn how to code

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Theo Thimou About the author:
Theo has co-written several books with Clark Howard, including the #1 New York Times bestseller "Living Large in Lean Times."
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