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Block-based vs Text-based Coding
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    Block-based vs Text-based Coding for Kids

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    Block-based vs Text-based Coding

    BLOCK-BASED VS TEXT-BASED CODING FOR KIDS

    Update: This article was last updated on 15th November 2023 to reflect the accuracy and up-to-date information on the page.
    It has been proven children can learn the alphabet, numbers, etc., more conveniently through pictures and games rather than following the traditional pen-and-paper method. Similarly, block-based coding ushers children into the world of coding in a fun way as compared to text-based coding.

    S.No. Table of contents
    1 Example of block-based coding
    2 Example of Text-based coding
    3 What is Text-based Coding?
    4 What is block-based coding?
    5 Block-based vs Text-based Coding
    6 Difference between block-based and text-based coding
    7 Benefits of block-based and text-based coding
    8 Conclusion

    Example of block-based coding 

    One popular example of block-based coding is Scratch. Scratch is a visual programming language that uses blocks to represent code concepts. In this video, block are used to make a jumping game:
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    Example of Text-based coding: 

    import pygame

    pygame.init()

    screen = pygame.display.set_mode((640, 480))

    while True:

        for event in pygame.event.get():

            if event.type == pygame.KEYDOWN:

                if event.key == pygame.K_LEFT:

                    print(“Move character left”)

                elif event.key == pygame.K_RIGHT:

                    print(“Move character right”)

                elif event.key == pygame.K_UP:

                    print(“Move character up”)

                elif event.key == pygame.K_DOWN:

                    print(“Move character down”)

    In the above example, Python language is used to create a program that moves a character when a key is pressed. Text-based coding defines our program logic, such as importing the necessary libraries, setting up the screen, and defining the event loop that listens for keyboard input.

    Recommended Reading: Top Programming Languages for Kids to Learn in 2023

    What is Text-based Coding? 

    Text-based coding involves writing lines of code stored as text files, while block-based coding is based on drag and drop formula.

    Before 2003, block-based coding was not so prominent, and older kids were usually taught text-based coding, which was not easy to learn. But the coding scenario changed when MIT created the first block programming language, Scratch, which focused on teaching kids about the basics of computer programming through visual representation instead of text-based programming.

    Recommended Reading: Is Coding Hard? Understanding the Challenges and Overcoming Them

    What is block-based coding? 

    When text-based computer commands are grouped in pre-programmed blocks and dragged and dropped to build computer programs such as animations and games is called block-based coding.

    Block-based vs Text-based Coding 

    Block-based Coding
    Text-based Coding
    For beginners
    For experienced
    Drag-and-drop visual blocks
    Write instructions using keyboard characters and a certain syntax
    Easy to use
    Complicated
    Easy to follow instructions
    Difficult for beginners to decode instructions
    Fun way of introducing children to the world of coding
    Complicated way of learning coding

    Block coding is a simple form of computer programming ­­and an excellent starting point for children aged 5-8 years who want to learn how to code.

    Difference between block-based and text-based coding: 

    Features Block-based coding Text-based coding
    1. Drag and drop visual blocks Block-based coding involves dragging and dropping visual blocks of code to create a program. It provides a beginner-friendly approach to programming and allows kids to learn programming concepts through visual cues. It’s often used in educational settings and is popular among young children. Text-based coding involves writing code using a programming language. It requires understanding programming concepts and syntax and can be more challenging for beginners. It’s a more flexible and powerful approach to programming, allowing for more complex and customized programs. Text-based coding is often used in industry and higher-level educational settings.
    2. Easy to comprehend Block-based coding uses blocks which makes it easier for beginners to understand the simple instructions. They can easily guess the following steps, even if they are doing it for the first time. Text-based coding creates confusion, especially for beginners, and the mind-boggling experience can easily dissuade them from learning to code.
    3. Ease of use Block-based coding is about dragging and dropping the blocks with pre-written instructions. Children find it challenging to use when the same instructions are given in text-based coding
    4. Ushers in the world of technology in a fun way The way technology has invaded our lives, children need to understand it. But they are too young to bear the pressure to learn. In such a scenario, a soft launch is the best method to engage them in technology, and this is only possible with block-based coding For text-based programming, fundamental coding knowledge is a must, as familiarization with the coding lingo such as loop, a Boolean, array, etc. For advanced learning, you have to be familiar with programming languages like C++ and headers, libraries, functions, dynamic memory management, and much more before you get in too deep.

    Benefits of block-based and text-based coding:

    Block-based Coding Text-based Coding
    Block-based coding provides a visual representation of code. Text-based coding is akin to natural language, reducing the need for extensive memorization.
    Helps children understand the relationship between code and outcomes. Facilitates a deeper understanding of language and syntax.
    Develops problem-solving skills through a hands-on approach. Allows children to unleash creativity by creating intricate and complex programs.
    Encourages thinking in terms of algorithms and computational logic. Provides flexibility for diverse coding expressions.
    Fosters skills essential for future technological understanding. Text-based coding serves as a robust and scalable language for various tasks.
    Allows children to explore creative solutions to problems. Adaptable to a wide range of programming needs.
    Promotes thinking outside the box and innovative approaches. Equips children with the skill to identify and rectify errors efficiently.
    Block-based coding is designed for simplicity. Requires fewer lines of code for accomplishing tasks compared to block-based coding.
    Enables quick comprehension of code structure and functionality. Text-based coding presents challenges, fostering a trial-and-error approach.
    Encourages teamwork and collaboration among children. Learning to code instills a sense of accomplishment and pride in children.
    Maintains interest and motivation in learning coding concepts. Cultivates a positive and confident attitude towards tasks.

    Conclusion

    The choice between block-based and text-based coding for kids depends on factors such as age, experience, learning style, and goals. Block-based coding can be an excellent starting point for developing young children’s problem-solving and logical thinking skills. Text-based coding can help older kids better understand programming concepts and prepare them for more advanced programming languages.

    Moonpreneur understands the needs and demands this rapidly changing technological world is bringing with it for our kids, offering coding classes for kids to empower them with essential skills. We are on a mission to educate and ignite the flames of entrepreneurship through our holistically created online STEM programs, which will help kids master the futuristic sciences such as Robotics, Game Development, App Development, Advanced Math, and much more!! 

    Register for a free 60-minute robotics workshop today!

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    Arpana

    Arpana

    A journalist-turned-content writer, Arpana is a passionate storyteller who combines her journalistic experience with new technology to create engaging, persuasive, and impactful writeups.
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    4 Comments
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    Oceana
    Oceana
    9 months ago

    You have missed Thunkable and Tynker. They are best to make animations, games, and simulations.

    Henry
    Henry
    8 months ago

    Imagine you’re building a robot. Would you prefer a block-based interface to program its actions or dive straight into typing out the code?

    Ines
    Ines
    5 months ago
    Reply to  Henry

     If I were building a robot, I’d opt for a block-based interface initially. It provides a visual, hands-on approach, which is perfect for experimenting and understanding basic functions. As I gain confidence, transitioning to typing out the code would offer more precision and control. 

    Anshika Kanwar
    Editor
    5 months ago
    Reply to  Ines

    Micro: bit provides a more seamless entry point for young learners due to its block-based programming interface. It employs a visual coding language, making it intuitive and less intimidating. This simplifies the learning curve, allowing kids to focus on creativity and problem-solving rather than complex syntax.

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