🎓 Technology Learning Resources for Kids

🎓 Technology Learning Resources for Kids


🎓 Technology Learning Resources for Kids

Author(s): Christian Scott, Blake Shalem

✨ Objective of This “Guide”

This is an informal compendium of general technology, software development, cybersecurity, and 3D printing resources, guides, and tools specifically directed toward children/students between the ages of 4 thru 16. Most standard school curricula on these topics that we have encountered have been a bit lackluster, so we wanted to create this "awesome starter list" for our colleagues, friends and family… Actually, anyone who is passionate about teaching their children about technology. 😊

🌎 Introduction

The world is rapidly changing, and technology is playing an ever-increasing role in our daily lives. Technology is everywhere around us, from the computers we use to the smartphones we carry, to the cars we drive. In this increasingly digital world, it's important to start teaching children about technology and STEM education from an early age.

🧠 Getting children interested in technology has many benefits such as it teaches them critical thinking skills, problem-solving, and patience. These skills are essential for success in any field, and being introduced to them at a young age can help children develop into well-rounded individuals who are ready to tackle any challenge.

🎨 One of the most significant benefits of teaching children about technology is that it encourages creativity. Coding, 3D printing, and cybersecurity are all creative outlets that allow children to express themselves while learning new skills. Whether they are designing a website or creating a 3D model of their favorite animal, technology provides endless possibilities for children to explore and create. Besides job prospects, these creative technology skills give children a sense of fulfillment and the new abilities to create unique things and make the world a better place.

👩‍💻 Lastly, it's important to note that technology is not just a "boys thing"; girls should be equally encouraged to develop an interest in technology and STEM in general. By opening up this opportunity to both boys and girls, we create a more diverse and inclusive communities with the best problem solving skills.

⚙️ Coding & Software Development

Coding is the process of designing, writing, testing, and maintaining computer software. It is an excellent place to start when introducing children to technology. It's a skill that is becoming incredibly valuable in today's job market, and it can also be a fun and creative outlet for children. Some languages that are easy for kids to get started with include Blockly, Scratch and Python. Both Blockly and Scratch are languages provide a visual interface that is easy to understand, making it simple for children to learn the basics of coding. Coding hardware kits like Lego Mindstorms or Micro:Bit can also help children understand coding concepts better.

  • Tynker is a platform that offers interactive programming courses designed to teach children how to code. The platform is designed for children aged 5 and above and uses a visual programming language, making it easy for children to learn the basics of coding. Tynker's courses are game-based, which makes it fun for children to learn and helps them to stay engaged while they develop new skills.
  • Teach Your Kids Code is a website is designed to help parents who do not have a background in computer science to teach their children the fundamentals of coding. The site provides step-by-step guidance on how to teach coding to children, with a focus on making the learning process fun and engaging.
  • Code.org is a non-profit organization that is dedicated to expanding access to computer science education and increasing participation in computer science among underrepresented groups, including women and minorities. The organization provides a comprehensive online platform for students and teachers to learn computer science and coding. The platform includes a range of free resources, including coding lessons, tutorials, and interactive games designed to teach coding in a fun and engaging way. Code.org's curriculum is suitable for students of all ages, from kindergarten to high school, and covers a range of topics, including programming languages, app development, and web development.
  • Codecademy.com is an online learning platform that offers interactive coding courses for learners of all levels, from beginners to advanced learners. The platform offers a wide range of coding courses covering a variety of programming languages and technologies, including HTML, CSS, JavaScript, Python, SQL, and more. Codecademy courses are self-paced and interactive, allowing learners to practice coding exercises and projects as they learn. The platform also provides access to a community of learners, where learners can interact with each other, share their projects, and get help and feedback from peers. Codecademy's platform is user-friendly and suitable for learners of all ages and backgrounds.

🔐 Cybersecurity

Cybersecurity is the practice of protecting computer systems, networks, and devices from digital attacks, theft, or damage. It is another critical aspect of technology that parents should teach their children. Cybersecurity is a crucial skill to have in today's world, where cyber attacks are becoming more frequent. Parents at minimum should help children understand how to practice good cyber hygiene, prevent cyber-bullying and recognize the signs of fraud & hacking.

  • The FBI's Safe Online Surfing (SOS) is a free online program provided by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) that educates students in grades 3-8 about internet safety and cyber citizenship. The program consists of a series of interactive activities and challenges that cover topics such as online privacy, social media, mobile devices, and cyberbullying. Students can participate in the program from any computer with internet access, and teachers can register their classes to receive progress reports and access to additional resources. The program is designed to be both educational and engaging, with game-like features and animations that help students learn about internet safety in a fun and interactive way. The SOS program is an excellent resource for parents and educators who want to help children stay safe online and become responsible digital citizens.
  • The Cybersecurity Lab is part of PBS's NOVA Labs initiative, which aims to engage learners in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields through interactive and immersive experiences. The platform is a great resource for those who are interested in learning about cybersecurity and online safety in a fun and engaging way. The platform provides a range of interactive cybersecurity games and challenges designed to teach learners about topics such as encryption, network security, and online privacy.
  • US Cyber Challenge Quests is a website that offers a series of interactive cybersecurity challenges for students and educators. The website is operated by the United States Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and provides a range of challenges that test the participants' knowledge of cybersecurity concepts and skills. The challenges are designed to be both educational and entertaining, and they cover topics such as cryptography, network security, web security, and malware analysis. The challenges are divided into different difficulty levels, and participants can earn points and badges for completing them. The website is an excellent resource for students, educators, and cybersecurity enthusiasts who want to improve their cybersecurity knowledge and skills in a fun and interactive way.
  • Cyber.org is a non-profit organization that provides cybersecurity education and training resources to K-12 schools, teachers, and students. The organization was established to address the growing need for cybersecurity professionals in the workforce, and it aims to equip the next generation with the skills and knowledge necessary to secure their digital lives. The cyber.org curriculum covers a wide range of cybersecurity topics, including network security, digital citizenship, cryptography, ethical hacking, and more. The curriculum is designed to be flexible and adaptable, allowing teachers to customize it to meet their students' needs. Cyber.org provides a range of free resources, including lesson plans, activities, and assessments, to help teachers integrate cybersecurity education into their classrooms.
  • The CISA Cybersecurity Awareness Program provides a range of resources, including posters, tip sheets, and lesson plans, that are designed to help students learn about cybersecurity and how to stay safe online. The resources cover topics such as phishing, social engineering, password security, and online privacy. The program is designed to be engaging and interactive, and the resources are suitable for learners of all ages, from elementary school to high school.

🖨 3D Printing

3D printing is a technology that offers children the opportunity to bring their designs to life via the process of creating a three-dimensional objects from a digital files. FDM (Fused deposition modeling) 3D printing is the most common 3D printing technique that melts and deposits plastic in many overlapping 2D layers on a build platform to form a 3D object. It is a fascinating technology that has the potential to inspire children to create things beyond their wildest imagination. Young children love creating things like drawings and painting, and those skills and passions can be transferred into creating digital art as well as 3D printing. 3D printing an excellent way to teach children about resourcefulness, patience, problem-solving, and critical thinking skills.

  • Tinkercad.com is a free, browser-based 3D design and modeling platform that allows users to create 3D designs and models. The platform is owned by Autodesk, a well-known software company, and is designed to be user-friendly and accessible for beginners, making it an excellent resource for children and students. The platform offers a range of tools for 3D modeling, including the ability to add shapes, text, and graphics to your designs.
  • Thingiverse.com is a free online community and repository for 3D printing models and designs. It offers a massive library of user-generated 3D printing models and designs, covering a wide range of categories, including toys, household items, jewelry, art, and more. Users can upload their designs to the platform and share them with others, or they can browse and download designs created by others.
  • Total3DPrinting.org is an online platform that provides resources and information for anyone interested in 3D printing. The platform offers a range of articles, tutorials, reviews, and news related to 3D printing technology, including reviews of 3D printers, filaments, and accessories, as well as comparisons of different 3D printing software and tools. The platform also features a community forum where users can interact with each other, share their knowledge and experiences, and get help and advice on 3D printing-related topics. Total3DPrinting is a valuable resource for students, educators, and hobbyists who want to learn about 3D printing technology and stay up-to-date on the latest developments in the field.
  • Toybox.com makes a 3D printer designed specifically for children. The Toybox 3D printer is a compact, user-friendly printer that allows children to create and print their own 3D toys and designs. The printer uses a proprietary filament system that is safe and easy to use, and it comes with a library of pre-made designs that children can customize and print. The Toybox 3D printer is controlled via a smartphone or tablet app, which allows children to create and print their designs from anywhere with an internet connection. The Toybox 3D printer is a safe and fun way for children to explore 3D printing technology and bring their designs to life.
  • The3Doodler.com makes a kid-friendly 3D printing pen that allows users to create 3D objects by drawing them in the air with the pen. The 3Doodler pen uses a plastic filament that is melted by the pen and extruded as it is drawn, allowing users to create a wide range of 3D objects, from toys and jewelry to custom parts and repairs. The 3Doodler pen is suitable for users of all ages and skill levels and is a fun and creative way to explore 3D printing technology.

🎯 Conclusion

Teaching children about computers and technology is essential in today's world, and parents should encourage their children to be passionate about technology, irrespective of gender. Parents should encourage their children to get involved in coding, cybersecurity, and 3D printing to help them develop problem-solving skills, creativity, and patience. The benefits of learning these skills go beyond just preparing for a career in technology; they help children become well-rounded individuals ready to take on any challenge. Remember that consistency & patience when teaching children is key to ensuring they develop new skills and passions.

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