When I was a middle school student in rural India, I was fortunate to have an amazing math teacher who noticed my curiosity for math. There was no program for “gifted students” where I lived, but he nurtured my passion by voluntarily spending a lot of after-school hours teaching me advanced concepts and inspiring me to develop a love for learning. He went above and beyond what was required of a public school teacher. Only later I learned that this was a great example of how personalized learning can engage kids to grow the love for learning.
His mentorship and influence were profound, and soon after, I joined the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) in Delhi, India’s premier university for computer science and engineering studies. This is where I first learned to use a computer and begin coding, precious skills that led me to graduate study at Stanford University, then to Google where I worked as an engineer, and now to Osmo. I see clearly my love for learning has been critical to making an impact on how next-generation learns and grows.
I share this story with the hope that students, as well as parents, will see value in pursuing math, computer science, and other areas of STEM education. I’m the first to admit that STEM knowledge is not without challenges, and its depth is vast as our universe–you can never know everything. The road towards being proficient in STEM subjects seems like a steep climb, but I assure you that if you develop a love for these subjects, it will be a very fulfilling journey.
Coding is a critical 21st-century skill for kids today and future generations. Learning coding changes the way children think, approach problems, and solve them. Back in 2016, the World Economic Forum predicted the top 3 skills for 2020 are complex problem-solving, critical thinking, and creativity. With computational thinking, the sooner you start, the stronger you get. And many products make it easy for young kids to start learning at home, such as Coding Starter Kit. As I tell my children often, computational thinking is the backbone of almost any job, and it will enable you to do the job better. It will give you a superpower to use computing to augment any field you decide to pursue.
For parents who don’t understand the importance of coding, I always tell them, if you teach kids to read, the whole world opens up to them. With coding, it’s a similar process and I believe that coding is as fundamental as reading. For parents whose kids are already pursuing STEM learning, I suggest they nurture within them a deep passion. There’s a big difference between learning to read and loving to read. You want kids to love coding, in order for it to have a real impact on their education.
In terms of job placement and financial security, there’s always a reward for those who make the effort to learn tough subjects, persist in their studies, and more. I have always witnessed a successful career as a result of learning STEM.
This content is sponsored by Osmo.
Photos provided by the author.
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