Kids computing – there’s a lot of talk going on about it right now.  What do you learn about computing in your school?  Are they teaching you how to make cool video games?  How to come up with a story that makes sense, how to make sure that it’s engaging, that there are challenges at each level, and that there’s a reward at the end?  How to build that? 

How to make the bird you toss flop realistically into a pile of whatever you choose – making sure that gravity works the way you would expect it to (or not).  How to craft the graphics you need to tell your story?  How to publish that to your own smartphone and to share it (or sell it!) to friends and strangers? 

Hmmm, I didn’t think so.  “ I’d rather just do some Power Point and Word exercises, “ said no kid, ever.

Schools are moving in the right direction but it will take them time to catch up – because it’s young people who are leading the way right now.  The good news for you is that there are lots of resources and opportuntities outside of the classroom.

Today it is easier than ever to get your hands on the tools of the information revolution.  But why should you roll up your sleeves and get your hands dirty with coding?

It’s fun – there are great programmes available to get you started and they are free on-line.  Check out Mozilla’s X-ray goggles that let you hack any webpage and share with your friends.  You can use it to hilarious effect to switch up your favourite sites, but it also lets you see the source code and how the HTML is working behind the scenes.

It’s easy – primary school kids across the country are getting started with Scratch to make games and animations.  Check out their galleries to see what kids are up to.  It’s simple enough for young kids but powerful enough for you to learn computing fundamentals – but in a drag and drop environment so you spend your time on concepts, not fixing typos.

It’s creative – get your ideas out there!  Do you love to cook?  Start a blog with your favourite recipes!  Are you a budding pop star or fashionista?  Edit movies, videos, podcasts and let the world see them.  Popcorn can help you make amazing videos and Thimble lets you build your page – learning as you go.

It’s meaningful – These are the tools that can help you participate in issues that are meaningful to you.  Whether it’s sending support to Lady Gaga with video Get Well Soon cards, or fighting for the future.

So get creative with your computer.  I’ll be bringing you more resources to help you explore your interests.  You aren’t limited to consuming what others think you will like – you can dream it and make it yourself.  You’ve got the power!

 

 

Jill Hodges is the Founder of Fire Tech Camp, London’s first technology day camp.  Fire Tech Camp is teaching kids to programme video games, develop mobile apps and engineer robots during week-long courses held during term breaks and summer holidays.  If you’d like to come to camp, apply for a scholarship, or provide sponsorship to children who want to learn to get creative with technology, visit our website on www.FireTechCamp.com, like our FaceBook page, and follow us on Twitter.

 

5 Comments

 

  1. February 25, 2013  7:56 pm by isabel Reply

    at our school year 6 are doing scratch in i.c.t, and there is a scratch club for extra work at break-times. we are making advanced games as well as simple ones, and are enjoying it! i have an account as well and post some of the things i have worked on , though it is mainly the ones i have made at home on scratch.

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  3. May 5, 2013  12:02 pm by esme Reply

    Because our primary only had 114 pupils, we never got further than paint.net. if you could move a mouse around were counted as having exceptional skill.

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