Virtual Tech Connect At Your Convenience

The library is excited to offer Virtual Tech Connect for Kids videos and have now compiled them all onto a page where you can access them easily anytime and anywhere.  The sessions cover an array of websites and apps that will keep your children entertained and learning. 

While the library offers Tech Connect for Kids, (approximately 6 and up) all of the resources available are great for adults as well.  In fact, they might be more challenging than you think!  Most of our Virtual Tech Connect videos will be aimed towards beginners and hobbyists, but there will be a few links for older kids and adults that are ready to learn about computer science in depth or those that want to learn a programming language.  In addition to the video content and web-based resources that will be provided, the library also has many books available for all ages that cover different coding languages.

What kinds of things can you and your child learn? One concept is coding.  Lately this has become a buzzword for kids and it seems like it is mandatory for them to learn coding.   Are your kids missing out if they haven’t mastered a programming language?

The short answer is, no.  They are okay with not having any coding experience.  They don’t need to know how to build a computer or to create an entire website or code a game in order to be successful in the future.

So what is coding, really?  It is about teaching kids computer science, how different types of technology work, and yes, they can learn to create a game or a website.  However, the core concepts behind coding aren’t learning new vocabulary or perfectly entering in a programming language.

Following a task list, figuring out ways to solve a problem, working to find the simplest solution and not just the easiest one, using creativity to build something new, and learning logic concepts can be gained by learning coding.

Learning a programming language and coding something is a detailed, nit-picky process.  When really, what we want is to teach kids the basics behind it.  That’s why so many of the coding apps and websites look like games.  I promise you, your kids will have fun, but they are not just playing a game.  They are using logic and problem-solving skills.  They are learning to follow instructions to complete a task.  They are learning the best way to create a quality product.  

Your child might grow up and want nothing to do with a career in a technology field.  But if you take a look at the skills above, you can see that any job will use the skills that coding helps to teach kids.  Coding certainly isn’t the only way to teach kids problem-solving or creativity.  There are so many ways that kids learn and coding is just one option.  They might just dive into coding  and fall in love with it.

Scratch and Scratch Junior

Welcome to Virtual Tech Connect. Part 1 is going over Scratch Jr and Part 2 is going over Scratch. Scratch Jr is great for kids ages 5 and up while Scratch is geared towards kids 8 to 16 years old. Links to resources are listed below.

Scratch Links:

https://scratch.mit.edu/

https://projects.raspberrypi.org/en/codeclub

ScratchJR Links:

https://www.coderkids.com/blog/scratchjr-projects-for-kids

https://www.scratchjr.org/teach/activities

https://sites.google.com/a/tldsb.net/tldsb-coding/challenges/primary-challenges-year-one

Swift Playground

This week’s video is going over Swift Playgrounds which is a free download available on iPads. Swift is great for kids 10 and up, but even those as young as 7 or 8 might enjoy it. Please let us know if you have any questions.

Below I have included links to a few resources that you might find helpful to use with Ozobots.

Code.org and Khan Academy

Today we are going over two websites that have versions of Hour of Code and also have in depth resources for learning more about computer science and coding. Code.org and Khan Academy both have resources that are geared towards kids 8 years and up. Khan Academy also has computer science classes that go up through high school age as well. Please let us know if you have any questions.

Below I have included links for what we went over in the video.

https://www.khanacademy.org/computing

https://code.org/learn

https://studio.code.org/courses?view=teacher

https://studio.code.org/s/express-2019

https://code.org/curriculum/unplugged

https://www.helloruby.com/play

Lightbot, Spritebox and Box Island Apps

This video is going over three different apps: Lightbot, Spritebox and Box Island. All of the apps recommended today are for kids ages 7 and up. Please let us know if you have any questions.

For quick reference here are the devices where each app can be found:

  • Spritebox-iOS, Android and website
  • Lightbot-iOS, Amazon devices, Android
  • Box Island-iOS only

Osmo

In this week’s video we are talking about Osmo. Osmo has several different apps for different children’s activities, but the one we are focusing on is called Coding Awbie. The Osmo apps are available on iOS and Kindle Fire. Coding Awbie was created for kids ages 5-12 but older children and adults can learn a lot from Awbie too. Please let us know if you have any questions.

Grasshopper and SoloLearn

In the two videos we talk about Grasshopper and SoloLearn. Both of these have iOS, Android and web versions. Grasshopper and SoloLearn are great for slightly older kids, those 10 and up. Adults will find plenty to learn too from each of these apps. Please let us know if you have any questions.

https://www.sololearn.com/

https://learn.grasshopper.app/

https://edu.google.com/code-with-google/?modal_active=none&story-card_activeEl=enhance-any-subject