Hopefully you all know by now that, at Create & Learn, we are very passionate about bringing the next generation of Computer Science education to students, grades K-9. SXSW EDU is a premier education conference. We are proposing a session that that will help more parents and educators understand the importance of learning these subjects and how they can teach it too! Watch the video below and help bring AI & Data Science to more students by voting for our SXSW EDU 2020 session proposal!
Sony changed how we listen to music in July of 1979 when they released the “Walkman.” If you don’t remember (or maybe it was before your time), this was this very first introduction to headphones attached to something you could take on a “walk” with you. Obviously, this idea really took off, and is definitely the norm now. But how did this one invention kickstart how we listen to music now? Read all about it here!
Harvard researchers have been working hard to have bee-sized robots take successful untethered flights, and it looks like that’s finally happened. Their “Robobee” took flight earlier this year, and it was even caught on video! But what does this mean for the future of tiny robots? And what could they be used for? Find out all about it, and watch the fascinating video, here!
Pictures of happy kids, shiny computers, big smiles, and enticing class descriptions … this is what you see on almost every website that advertises kids computer classes. But how do you tell if your kid will really learn? Check out these 4 simple yet effective ways to tell if a program is as good as it advertises, and some of the ways might surprise you. Read on to find out more!
Samaira Mehta is changing the coding game, and she’s only 10! Mehta is founder and CEO of her own company CoderBunnyz, which is a board game that teaches players as young as 4 basic coding concepts. When she was learning to code, she noticed a gap in the education field that was much needed, and decided to create her own game. Learn all about Mehta and CoderBunnyz here!
As our children grow up, it’s inevitable that technology and the internet will become part of their daily lives just as much as our own. Cybersecurity is an increasingly important issue, but when do we let our kids know of this? And what’s the best way to do it? Learn all about it here!
Pictures of happy kids, shiny computers, big smiles, and enticing class descriptions … this is what you see on almost every website that advertises kids computer classes. But how do you tell if your kid will really learn? In fact, even after your kid has gone through the program and seemed happy, how much have they actually learned?
These are important questions because coding is a critical skill to master and schools teach very little of it. So, parents have to turn to after-school programs/camps to make sure their kids fill the gap. I struggled with these questions for years myself before founding Create & Learn. My daughter started attending tech camps in summer since age 6. But results had been mostly disappointing (and the most expensive ones often fell short the most). I spent a lot of efforts figuring out what she had learned and benchmarking. But for busy parents who don’t have time, or those who don’t have a coding background, how can you tell?
Luckily over the years, we have found some very simple but strong indicators of program quality that will only take you a few minutes to check without having to do hours of deep research. The key is to go beyond the fancy pictures and words, and get to the foundation of the programs.
#1: Class Size
Your intuition probably tells you smaller class size is better already. But do you realize it pretty much sets the ceiling for how good a program can be? Even the best teacher in the world will have his/her hands tied in a large classroom because the teacher can no longer adapt to individual student’s needs. Personalized attention is particularly important for developing students’ creativity and critical thinking skills. What we have found is that if there are more than half a dozen students per class, the teaching will likely be instruction-based following a rigid template, without sufficient attention to each student’s strength and areas of needs. For elementary or middle school students who are still learning how to learn, the lack of individual attention will fail to deliver the best learning.
#2: Differentiated Projects
When you see your kid’s projects at the end of a program, don’t just get excited about what your kids have done :). Take a look at how your child’s projects are different from those of other students’. In many programs, students produce almost identical projects. This is because instead of teaching kids coding, teachers just hand detailed instructions for building the projects to students, who then blindly follow the steps. There is little true learning, exploring, and creating. As a result, even after producing the projects, many students still don’t understand what they have done.
#3: Teacher’s Background
Most camps are staffed by high school and college students. They are great people, and some may care about teaching, but can they teach well? Teaching is a skill that takes many years to master. Think for a second examples from your own school days, of both good and bad teachers. Did they make a world of difference in your own learning? Effective teachers not only help your kid do one class well, but also nourish his/her passion for learning in general. The reverse is also true. The influence of a poor teacher can go far beyond a single class. So be very mindful about who teach your kids.
#4: Who Created the Curriculum?
Learning coding is not that different from learning skills like painting or swimming in that learning from the masters or Olympians will no doubt set your kids on a much more successful path. The experiences and accomplishments in the tech world of the people who create the curriculum determine how far the program can bring your kids. If you would like your kids to go far in the tech world, find out if the curriculum team has worked in the top tech companies and if they are insiders of both the tech and business side of the broader high-tech industry, not just someone who can code.
There you have it!
To sum up, check out these 4 things before signing up your kids for a coding class/camp:
Class size — ideally no more than 5–6 students per class
Whether students produce diverse projects
Background of the teachers — do they have extensive teaching experiences?
Who created the curriculum — do they just know how to code, or have they held important technical and business roles in top tech companies?
Here’s to all of our kids having fun, learning and flourishing! If you would like to get a taste of what a first-tier program looks like, sign up for a free class at www.create-learn.us.
AI technology advancements have created some amazing things, including the ability to create art. What does it look like when computer scientists use AI to perform jazz music? Speaking of amazing advancements, a new technique tracks brain activity 60 times faster than an MRI, but how? And when it comes to eating with the climate in mind, what’s better: a Locavore diet or a Vegetarian one? Find out in this week’s Tech News 4 Kids newsletter!
AI can do so many incredible things, like write a book, design furniture, or create art. However, some computer scientists have been wondering if AI can create improvised music, such as jazz. Find out how these questions came about, and what is next in regards to AI and music, in this article!
The human brain has fascinated scientists and biologists alike. It’s fast-reacting, and specific, neurons have been difficult to catch in real-time — until now. Researchers have found a new way to track the amazing things our brain does at such a fast pace that it’s almost like watching it happen instantly. Find out what these scientists are hoping to do with their findings, and how it all works, here!
Climate change is happening, and food plays a part in this. So, people have been doing their best to be more conscious of their food choices. This consciousness brought about a question — is it better to be a Locavore (where you only eat foods grown and harvested within a certain radius of your home) or a Vegetarian? Find out what researchers have found here!
Create & Learn Monthly — The AP Exam — Another Great Reason to Learn Computer Science Early
Your kids’ Computer Science learning can be translated directly to college admission more so than ever as more and more students take the Computer Science AP exam. Huge progress has been made in recent years which offer strong evidence of its popularity. However, big gaps still remain for female and minority students. We took a look at the 2018 AP Exam Computer Science results and have summarized the key insights for you. Speaking of college admission, there are more competitions in computer science also, because of how desirable it is. And can kindness really be a skill we can all learn? Find out in our May 2019 Monthly Newsletter! Join our classes to learn more about the state-of-the-art technologies — coding, artificial intelligence, and more.
The AP (Advanced Placement) exam has been gaining traction in regards to the number of tests being taken each year. We looked at the Computer Science test numbers to see what interesting information it offers. There is a ton! Take a look at what we found in our latest article here.
Computer Science (CS) is one of the most practical and economic major to go into in college, with basically a guarantee to get a job right away. But with great job security after graduation comes great competition. Naturally, it is highly competitive to get into. So what does this mean for our children looking to merge into the field, and how can you help? Find out here.
What does it take to be kind? And can it be learned? Specific scenarios bring out different sides of who we are and how we handle them. Each situation is explored with a unique perspective, and how we can be the most kind we can. Find out what we can do in regards to kindness and how to build that skill set here.