How to Teach Technology to Kids: Tips for Parents and Educators
Technology is everywhere, and kids are growing up in a world where it’s an integral part of everyday life. Whether it’s for entertainment or education, children are often drawn to technology like a magnet. However, as a parent or educator, it’s important to ensure that kids learn how to use technology safely and responsibly, as well as effectively.
I have taught programming to children from 10 to 12 years old. It was important for me to tell them absolutely everything that I know myself, because children are easily trained and easily absorb knowledge. It was also important for me to build such a system for obtaining knowledge for them so that they would not get bored and burn out when learning, because in this case, the python that I taught them would be associated with something boring, useless and difficult for them for life. I have brought out some tips for teachers or parents in teaching. Here are some tips on how to teach technology to kids:
Children are quick learners, and it’s never too early to start teaching them about technology. Introduce them to age-appropriate devices and applications, and allow them to explore and experiment in a safe and supervised environment.
I will give an example that is not related to obtaining hard skills by children, but nevertheless it is important. English is not my native language, my native language is Spanish, and I was lucky to have the opportunity to master and learn English well in childhood, when any information is perceived easily and quickly. In fact, children are clean and white canvases, and what you draw will remain with them for life.
Thanks to my parents, who considered it necessary to provide me with English classes in childhood, that is, to start as early as possible, now I do not speak the language badly, having worked hard in childhood.
Use Technology as a Tool for Learning
Technology can be a powerful tool for education, and there are many educational apps, games, and resources available that can help kids learn while having fun. Use technology as a supplement to traditional teaching methods, and encourage kids to explore and discover new things.
Most often, children are taught programming. It makes sense, I did it myself. Now there are a huge number of services that provide the ability to create entire training classes within the platform. One of these, for example, is Code Combat. An article about this resource is already on the site. This is a site that allows you to learn or teach programming languages through the game. Games allow children to become more involved in the process, understand logic faster and make it easier for teachers to teach.
You can create entire classes on the platform. By adding any other type of online conferences and calls to this platform, you will have a whole school of programming. This resource is one of many, there are enough of them on the net. But when choosing, always pay attention to the point, which I will discuss next.
Code Combat Main Page
This is insanely important. All modern programming languages are essentially built from two things - syntax, that is, the keywords that make the code work, and logic, that is, the thought process that the programmer or developer meant. Anyone can learn the syntax, for this it is enough to open the documentation, but the logic needs to be laid in the head much earlier.
Technical logic will allow a child, or a student in general, to think first and then do, will allow solving real problems simply and concisely, fitting into a few lines of code. Development logic applies not only to programming and development, but to the entire tech industry as a whole.
Teaching a student the logic of programming is not easy, to be honest. The guys from Code Combat handle it. This is not advertising, but they actually have almost the only platform that teaches programming logic and not programming itself. So I advise you to pay attention.
While technology can be a great learning tool, it’s important to set limits on screen time and usage. Too much screen time can have negative effects on a child’s health and development, so set boundaries and stick to them.
This item refers exclusively to the physical condition of the students. Do not force young professionals to spoil their eyesight and posture for the sake of writing a script to display Fibonacci numbers. It's not worth it. I do not want to talk much here and dwell on this point in detail, I think you already understand everything perfectly.
However, if you're doing face-to-face classes and meeting students in person, it might be worth taking a break from the screens and doing some theory games sometimes. For example, with our students, we played the simplest question-answer game. One says - what is a variable? - where a plush ball is sent to anyone and he answers. This is the simplest game that will help you take a little break from the computer for 7-10 minutes and at the same time repeat the theoretical material.
Teach Online Safety
The internet can be a dangerous place, and it’s important for kids to know how to stay safe online. Teach them about online privacy, the dangers of sharing personal information, and how to identify and avoid online scams and predators.
Phishing Letter Example (source)
In this paragraph, I put, firstly, the basics of information security. Whether you teach kids math or programming, teach them about the basics of online behavior - about malicious links that can be sent to them in private messages, about how phishing works, about what social engineering is.
Of course, you should not tell them about it in detail and explain how technically it works - you will only scare them. The main thing here is to teach the child to distinguish a real site from a phishing one and a healthy link from a malicious one. No need to explain to them about Kali Linux, about data protection protocols and SQL injection. Don't scare the kids!
Technology can also be a tool for creativity, and there are many applications and programs that can help kids express their creativity and imagination. Encourage them to create their own games, stories, and artwork using technology.
Again, this applies primarily to working with children. The child needs to be interested, and then he will learn everything in the world in a few weeks. Use the tools I talked about above and use your imagination to come up with fun and rewarding projects. Do not load children with problems about Fibonacci numbers or forgive the triangle - they will get tired of it in a few minutes.
Instead, try a creative approach to the same tasks. For example, we wrote a parser for Rotten Tomatoes in the class. And the challenge was to scrape as many movies from this site as they could. This is not a useless task at all - this is how students gained skills and practiced writing loops, creating lists, variables, manipulating lists and, of course, studying the bs4 library. Come up with creative tasks and be a successful teacher.
Be a Role Model
As a parent or educator, it’s important to be a good role model when it comes to technology use. Use technology responsibly and in moderation, and model good online behavior for kids to follow.
Writing Code on a Paper - Meme
Everything is quite simple here. If you teach programming or any other hard skill, then match your image. If you have a list of class attendance, then do not mark students in a notebook, create a table in Google Sheets, if there are problems with technology in the classroom, do not force the student to write a program on paper, give him access to your development environment through, for example, Team Viewer, and so on.
In general, if you position yourself and your classes as technical, then correspond to this status - do not ask to write to the mail, if you can send materials through social networks, send students to read not books, but watch materials on YouTube and so on.
Today, as a teacher, I shared with you my tips and rules that I follow when teaching children how to program. To some extent, they are universal and suitable for teaching children anything, but I talked about my experience and about my conclusions from this experience.
I hope my advice helped you at least somehow and always remember that you are teaching children. For them, it is important that everything is firstly interesting, and only then that there is any benefit.