Kids Coding: Understanding the jargon for parent

Children spending more time on screens? It's worth us parents knowing 'a bit from a byte' - just read our guide to busting that coding jargon

Kids Coding: Understanding the jargon for parent

With lockdown, homes-schooling and life at home now well underway – it’s likely that your kids are going to be turning to tablets and computer games to keep busy ore often than usual. And, they’re not alone; more kids than ever are showing a passion for technology and now feel just as comfortable chatting about coding and gaming as they do about sports or their favourite Tik Tok dance.

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Feeling left behind? To give you a bit of a helping hand, Code Ninjas has provided us with this coding jargon buster, which offers a description for the terms (and games!) you might have heard of.

Algorithm

An algorithm is a series of directions to complete in order to achieve a task. An algorithm could be written about all manner of tasks, from making a sandwich, or more complex activities, like building a computer game from scratch. In the digital world, an algorithm refers to the set of instructions that a computer follows in the order they are inputted.

Bit

A single unit of information, usually shown as a 0 or a 1. The word is a shortened version of “binary digit”.

Byte

A byte is essentially just a measure of digital data, ranging from a kilobyte (KB) to a gigabyte (GB).

Coding

Coding is the general term used for inputting information and directions into a programme, which is how software, apps and websites are created.

JavaScript

JavaScript is a scripting language used to create and control dynamic website content. For example, anything that moves, refreshes or changes on your screen without you doing anything.

Minecraft

Minecraft is a sandbox video game, meaning a game where the player has the ability to create or change their environment. Players explore a 3D world and because of the lack of rules or instructions they can create pretty much whatever they want. It’s often referred to as ‘virtual Lego’, for the creativity it inspires.

Programme

A programme is a series of coded instructions that a computer can understand to solve a problem or produce a result. Two basic types of programmes are an operating system, which provides the most basic instructions to operate a computer and an application programme, like Word or PowerPoint, which does a specific job.

Roblox

Roblox is an online platform that enables its users to create and share their own 3D games and experiences using custom tools. The biggest difference between Minecraft and Roblox is that Roblox is predominantly played online, meaning your child can communicate with other players, whereas Minecraft is more often played in an offline gaming environment.

Scratch

Scratch is a computer programming language where you can create interactive stories, games and animations. Scratch has a zero-code interface, meaning that users don’t write the code for the games or animations they create, they just use the directions that already exist in the programme. Instead, users build blocks of ‘directions’ that instruct their chosen ‘sprite’ or character to do something, like walk 10 steps or say hello. Once the user has built their series of blocks, they can click a green flag to run their directions.

Zero-Code Interface

A zero-code interface, in its simplest terms, is a paint-by-numbers way of programming. Users build their own games without actually writing the code, they simply utilise code that already exists.

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>> Code Ninjas teaches kids to code by building and playing their own video games. If you’d like to find out more about Code Ninjas and if a centre is coming to your area soon, visit www.codeninjas.co.uk