Technology is increasingly becoming more ingrained in our daily lives, for better or for worse. But like all other media, it is all about how you use it. At MakerKids, we have a bias towards action and positive impact. Kids have developed a positive relationship with technology after taking our classes. So how do we do it? How do we leverage technology to help kids grow, learn and discover more about themselves? How do we ensure they are safe, are not addicted to playing games and not passively consuming technology?
Kids are going to encounter technology (like video games, cell phones, social media) one way or another. If they are showing interest, we like to proactively introduce them to the internet and creative programs they can use. This way we get to set the tone and introduce kids to some cool stuff out there that they may not have found normally.
- Positive environment
We set out our intentions, rules and guidelines before each class, like not playing with someone’s project unless they ask and returning supplies to where they are kept. If kids have their own rules they would like to implement, they can so as well, as long as the class agrees as well. Kids can now play, explore and experiment without worry, knowing what to expect. We also go over internet safely, taking to others online and how to keep logins secure.
- Snack chats (breaks)
We take frequent breaks from our computers and devices to let our brains recharge and change focus. During breaks, we play games and have “snack chats.” As a group, we discuss different soft skills, 21st-century skills and social issues, like, what is trolling, what happens when you make a mistake, and how to give feedback. Break time allows for creative thinking, helping kids view the big picture and interact with others.
- Learn together
Technology doesn’t have to be isolating. In our classes, we work, learn and set goals as a group. We beta-test and play with each other’s projects and video games. The learning experience is dynamic and engaging. Use this time to talk to each other, share stories and problem solve. Students in our class use video games and their websites as a mode of self-expression.
- Play with friends
Invite your child’s friends over to collaborate and play together. Minecraft is one of our most popular programs and is a great game to socialize with other kids and make creative inventions. Kids learn about working with other kids, build interpersonal skills, sharing, creativity, communication and conflict resolution.
You don’t need a fancy computer or programs to get started and learning about coding and technology. There are many free programs out there, like Scratch and simple drawing programs. Technology is a great way to enhance learning and developing change-making skills.Remember it is important to take breaks, chat with others and also get your body moving while you are learning!
Curious to see what it’s like in a MakerKids class? Join us for a STEM program or a free trial class.
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