Children are the future of our society. They are the ones that will shape the world in which we live in and they should be encouraged to pursue their passions. There is no better way to do so than by giving them a chance to explore their interests at an early age and help them grow into what they want to be.
This article will explore some of the best ways in which parents can encourage children with technology interests and help them build a solid career foundation for themselves. It will also provide information on how parents can help their children make sense of all this information so that they don't get overwhelmed or discouraged when exploring new things.
When you google top careers in technology, much of what you find is related to data scientists, software engineering, and the like. How do you get your child excited to explore career fields in technology when the job titles often sound dull and unexciting? One way to explore and nurture is their current passions. For example, they could have a career in building mobile apps like the ones they love to spend time on, or create their own video games based on ideas and insights they have from their time playing. What if they knew they did not have to wait until after college to get started on these creative endeavours, and could instead jump headfirst into these potential career paths now? There are several initiatives available to help children get involved in technology that will set them on different career paths. Enrichment programs are a great way to help students try out various activities to see what they are interested in. Stride, Inc. has several enrichment programs
available for all children nationwide who have an interest in technology.
Another area that is great for tech loving children is that the UK government has recognised it's importance and from 2014 it was made mandatory that programming be taught in schools. I know from my own experience of "computing lessons" we were never taught programming, just to touch type! Having programming woven through your child's curriculum definitely helps to broaden their understanding of the digital world and we all know that our world is ever-changing. Technology is the driving force behind this. Businesses are using technology in wider ways that are transforming the workforce and how businesses are run. Technologies such as automotive vision systems
that quality assure products and machinery are being used to improve quality, reduce fail rate and guarantee highly efficient production. It's vital that we encourage our children to have a tech background because without it, we may be limiting their future opportunities.
So how can we create opportunities for our children to enrich their understanding of technology?
If your child loves to read there are so many fantastic reads out their for children, here are a few below;See Inside Inventions -
This book teaches kids the mysterious and funny stories behind inventions. It aims to teach children the differences between discovery, invention and innovation, and how they come together.
Hello World!: Computer Programming for Kids and Other Beginners -
Although it is not the easiest subject for children to grasp, it can be a valuable skill and one that many kids will find extremely fun and interesting. Providing a thorough introduction to computer programming, the book is aimed at children around the age of 12 (and above) and shows them all the cool things you can do with this skill, from making computer games to one day starting your own business, or simply learning more about how your computer works from the inside out.
How to Code a Sandcastle - All summer, Pearl has been trying to build the perfect sandcastle, but out-of-control Frisbees and mischievous puppies keep getting in the way! Pearl and her robot friend Pascal have one last chance, and this time, they’re going to use code to get the job done. Using fundamental computer coding concepts like sequences and loops, Pearl and Pascal are able to break down their sandcastle problem into small, manageable steps. If they can create working code, this could turn out to be the best beach day ever! A great one for younger readers.
There is a new wave of video games that is helping bridge this gap. The best of these offers not only a way for children to make their own games but a pathway into a lifelong love of coding. Check these ones below to see if they are a hit with your own;
Coding through Nintendo’s Game Builder Garage -
In Game Builder Garage, the player uses a visual programming language based on creatures called Nodon. The Nodon represent various facets of input, game output, logic, and on-screen objects. The player programmes or in other words creates games.
Scratch the programming language is, of course, a drag-and-drop, block-based programming language initially designed for kids aged 8 to 16. It serves as an excellent starting point for kids and beginner coders to grasp programming fundamentals without worrying about technicalities (i.e., terms, concepts, syntax, jargon, etc.). Scratch, the website, is basically a platform that allows kids to create animations, short programs, and interactive games using the Scratch coding language. They can also share their creations with other players/creators in the Scratch community (which, to this day, is pretty active). By focusing primarily on fun and play, kids learn how to think creatively, systematically, and sequentially—all valuable skills involved in coding. This is a particular hit with students in my school.
CODE COMBAT -
One of the most straightforward coding games for kids, CodeCombat leverages kids’ love for fantasy stories and elements (knights, dragons, heroes, warriors) to teach them coding fundamentals. Each lesson is introduced as another chapter or milestone in the overarching storyline of the CodeCombat universe. This minimizes the complex technicalities of coding and focuses instead on practical application. The bold, colourful graphics and distinct character designs further add to the richness of the story and the game’s playability.
Places to visit
Family days out can be educational as well as fun, here are a few that will be brilliant for tech loving kids;
Magna Science Adventure Centre, Rotherham -
The Magna Science Adventure Centre in Rotherham, near Sheffield is housed in a conversion of a former steelwork which has won a prize from the Royal Institute of Architects. Today this impressive building is inspiring budding scientists as it is divided into areas that explore Earth, Wind, Water and Fire with engaging, interactive exhibits, games and activities. It may be science aimed at kids, but it will keep parents equally amazed. A huge water park and gravity-defying play area add to the fun.
London Science Museum -
London’s Science Museum is the most famous science attractions in the UK, and still one of the best. From the bright light saucers to whispering tubes, kids will love discovering the wonders of science through these hands-on experiences. The museum is packed with amazing technology sure to blow the youngest and most inquisitive of minds!
Techniquest, Cardiff -
There is a lot to discover at Techniquest, which was originally founded by experts from Cardiff University’s science department. The UK’s longest-established science discovery centre develops and sells exhibits to similar venues all over the world. Designed to make real science fun and engaging for all ages, the centre has attracted over 4 million people since it opened in 1986. There are lots of interactive exhibitions throughout the centre, including areas where children can play with water (be prepared to get wet), and discover how electricity works, as well as lots of optical illusions, puzzles and games. There are extra special exhibits that change regularly throughout the year, which means there’s always something new to see, learn and do!
Does your child love technology? I would love to hear how you foster a love of learning which is technology based.
K Elizabeth xoxox