What is computational thinking and how do we use it?

By Katrine Kraft Hansen, KUBO Robotics

You might think that computational thinking has something to do with computer science or being tech-savvy, but it actually doesn’t. Computational thinking is an approach to problem-solving that involves critical and logical thinking in order to solve problems, the same way a computer would.

Computational thinking is made up of four main components: decomposition, pattern recognition, abstraction, and algorithmic thinking:

  • Decomposition is the task of breaking a big problem into smaller, more manageable problems.
  • Pattern recognition is finding similarities within the problem and among other problems, using what has worked before to help you solve the task at hand.
  • Abstraction is focusing on only the important details of the problem and ignoring other, lesser important details.
  • Algorithmic thinking is the ability to develop a step-by-step guide to solving the problem or a set of rules to solve it.

Computational thinking isn’t just used by computer scientists and programmers. It’s used by people in all kinds of professions, like doctors, carpenters, teachers, and artists.

You’re most likely also using computational thinking subconsciously on a daily basis. Just think about your process when you’re baking cupcakes on a Sunday afternoon. You break the recipe into smaller steps you do one at the time, and you know to bake them slightly longer than the recipe calls for because you’ve had to do that before. You also know chocolate chips aren’t a vital ingredient in your cupcakes, so you skip that step because you don’t have any in your pantry, and you know it’s a good idea to start preheating the oven before you pour the mix into the cupcake cases.

Working with KUBO is also good training in thinking computationally. The exercises in the Coding License are designed to encourage students to break big tasks into smaller steps and to draw on their past experiences with the robot to solve new problems. Students also have to think about what TagTiles to use for a certain exercise and which ones to leave, and some exercises require the students to write down their solution to the problem as a guide for their classmates, teacher or their future selves.

Whether it’s for baking, coding or other tasks, computational thinking is a great tool to have in your toolbox. Teaching kids to approach problems in a computational manner will greatly benefit their development and enable them to solve problems in the most efficient way.

How do you use computational thinking on a daily basis? And how do you incorporate it into your classroom? Leave your thoughts in the comment section!


20 ideas for teaching coding

Article by Tammy Pankey, elementary curriculum specialist

Published by eSchool News on June 14, 2018

You might think coding is a novel trend that doesn’t have other applications beyond programming, but coding offers many connections to multiple subjects, with the added benefit of reinforcing essential 21st-century skills. In coding, students use computational thinking and critical thinking to solve problems. This involves mastering the skill of perseverance, as they must be willing to fail, troubleshoot, and try again in order to have the code execute what was intended. Through this process, students are recognizing errors and determining how to fix them.

Here are a few ways teachers can integrate coding into the core subjects, while also fostering important 21st-century skills.

Math
Coding can help students visualize abstract concepts through concrete examples. They make sense of problems and persevere on a task. They can break down a problem into smaller parts to achieve the goal of solving the challenge.

Students apply logic, determine and understand variables, and develop algorithmic functions to solve coding challenges. It encourages them to think how they can create an algorithm of a series of steps to create a solution. Connections are then made to basic algebraic concepts.

Sample math applications:

  • Calculate the wait time needed in the program for the robot to travel a specific distance.
  • Determine the set score counters by evaluating how many times a loop will repeat.
  • Program a robot to specific coordinates on a grid and plot those points on a graph.
  • Code a robot to make different geometric shapes and patterns.

Science
With coding, students can make hypotheses about how they expect their program to perform. They can plan an experiment and use trial and error to get their program correct. Students will also analyze data from different experiments and recognize patterns as they form.

Students should code with purpose and have a plan and explanation for what they have coded. A great first step is to ask students to write out a series of the steps to solve the challenge—without coding it yet. This thought process helps students better understand the purpose of their activity.

Sample science applications:

  • Identify the coding challenge and use problem solving to find the solution.
  • Write and conduct experiments following the scientific method while coding the robot.
  • Calculate the speed of the robot by measuring its distance and time traveled to its endpoint.
  • Determine the force of the robot by calculating its acceleration and measuring its mass.

English language arts (ELA)
There are a lot of ways to include coding in reading, writing, and communication. Students can practice speaking and listening skills when they work together on coding projects to create a solution. You can have students present their solutions and explain the coding steps and the purposes they serve.

Students can practice writing skills by writing the steps they will code to solve the challenge or by writing a story connecting the solution to a real-life scenario. For example, coding a robot to travel the shortest distance along roads to a destination would be the same for a mail carrier delivering a package.

You could have students read different stories and pick out the steps followed by the main character. The students could code their robot to perform actions that simulate steps followed by the main character. For instance, the robot could represent a goat trying to cross a bridge and avoid a troll.

Sample ELA applications:

  • Code a robot to travel in or draw the shape of a letter.
  • Code the robot to spell a word or name.
  • Create a letter map that the robot can travel from letter to letter for letter recognition or spelling of words.
  • Write a story about your robot and then code the robot to perform actions based on the different pages or scenes in the book.
  • Create a treasure map for the robot that it has to collect different clues to get the treasure. Write a story about the robot’s journey.

Social studies
Social studies involves different areas of subjects including geography, history, and citizenship. Many civic issues are multidisciplinary in nature, so you can provide real-world scenarios that the students can simulate coding solutions.

If students have a robot that they can code movements to, you can have the robots navigate a wide variety of maps. You can take existing maps and overlay a clear shower curtain with black grid lines on it that the students could code the robot to travel to different locations. If you don’t have a map, have the students create one!

Sample social studies applications:

  • Code the robot to travel to different countries, continents, and oceans on a world map.
  • Explore different parts of U.S. history on a map, such as Lewis and Clark’s route, the Oregon Trail, or where people traveled for the Gold Rush.
  • Code the robot to travel to different states and state capitals.
  • Explore different parts of the community and community helpers on a city map.

Additional coding resources
As a curriculum specialist and former educator, I have used many great resources that integrate coding across curricula. Here are a few that can help you get a jump start on being a maker and innovator in your classroom.

For digital resources: Code.org is a wonderful online resource full of free computer science courses and activities for educators interested in teaching their students coding without needing a robot.

For early learning, hands-on solutions: A physical, hands-on coding solution is a great way to introduce early learners to the basics of coding. Pitsco Education’s KUBO is a fun screen-free, puzzle-like robotics coding solution for grades K-2 to learn the basics of coding.

For project-based learning environments: Encouraging students to join a robotics team outside of what they learn in the classroom gives learners an opportunity to take their coding skills to the next level. The FIRST non-profit organization hosts yearly robotics competitions at which student teams program an autonomous robot, develop a solution to a real-world problem, and compete with other teams.


4 reasons teaching coding improves SEL instruction

Article by Stephan Turnipseed, executive vice president and chief strategy officer for Pitsco Education

Published by eSchool News on June 1, 2018

Being able to recall facts may help you look good in front of your friends during trivia night, but memorizing content of the past has become largely irrelevant in today’s modern society. When it comes to education, the undeniable truth of the testing culture from the past 20 years is that children arrive to the working world woefully unprepared to deal with interpersonal relationships or even the ability to work in teams. This has as much to do with poor academic skills gained as it has to do with the lack of acquiring and developing basic social and emotional skills associated with positive human relationships. The hue and cry of the media announcing the demise of public education begs the question: What is the best solution for helping students prepare for the 21st-century workforce?

For a growing number of schools and districts, introducing social-emotional learning (SEL) into the classroom in the context of 21st-century learning is the answer.

SEL skills and competencies, as defined by Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL), include self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision making—all of the valuable soft skills important for lifelong success. The challenge is how to do this in an engaging and relevant manner.

For many, integrating curriculum around coding and programming to learn the “language” of technology while practicing the language of SEL has been the answer. A course previously taught only in college quickly trickled down to classes in high school. Now, even elementary and preschools are incorporating some level of coding into their agenda, demonstrating how young children are capable of developing an understanding of basic coding concepts.

I believe teaching early learners to code impacts their ability to gain SEL skills and should be taught together. Here are four reasons why:

1. Coding provides the right mix of challenge and engagement to allow SEL skills to develop naturally. Despite what many may think when they hear the word “coding,” the skills children learn from coding are far from technical. Instead, coding teaches students important SEL skills that can be applied to many areas of their lives, including a more positive attitude toward themselves, positive social behaviors and relationships, less emotional distress and resilience, and improved academic performance. This is because coding is a great way to help learners explore, strengthen, and expand their critical-thinking and problem-solving muscles. For instance, coding requires breaking down large complex tasks into smaller simple tasks that are more manageable. Through this process, they’re also learning from mistakes based on trial and error.

2. Coding creates play-based learning opportunities, which is one of the best ways to learn SEL skills. Everyone, especially students in grades K-2, learns best in a hands-on, play-based environment. When we are at play we are the most engaged and the most creative; we learn from our failures and develop the grit so often characterized in the SEL community. The various types of play—solitary, parallel, pretend, and cooperative—allow children to develop collaboration and social skills.

KUBO, our newest hands-on, puzzle-like coding solution for grades K-2, is intentionally screen-free to introduce young students to basic coding concepts in a fun and engaging way where they get to play, learn, and collaborate. You can find more great coding resources and activities for all levels that incorporate play-based learning and SEL skills at Code.org and CASEL.

3. Coding, complemented by SEL skills, paves way for the rise of the female engineer. One of the greatest issues we face when coding is introduced later in a child’s life is the self-selected gender stereotypes that influence their affinity for coding or math. Starting as early as third grade, girls tend to opt out of science and math when gender-selected pursuits show up. Consequently, we have an opportunity to engage girls in engineering (through coding) at an age when they are not influenced by gender stereotypes. With increased attention around SEL, coding in the classroom—when incorporated correctly—plays an important role in closing the gender gap in engineering.

4. Coding is interactive and fun, providing a positive environment for SEL. We know that when older children get involved in toxic environments, the harder it is for them to break out of the habits formed in these counterproductive situations. Additionally, collaborative SEL skills are more difficult to teach in environments where the outcomes are either prescriptive, such as in content classes, or are too ill-defined to provide a good collaborative solution.

Simply put, SEL is best and most effective when learned early and within a positive environment. Incorporating physical and interactive coding solutions not only gets students working together in small groups, but it allows them to experience coding in a positive, cooperative learning environment where collaboration and communication is encouraged.

As the famous author and teacher Robert Fulghum said, “Most of what I really need to know about how to live and what to do and how to be, I learned in kindergarten.” Teaching young minds coding concepts starting in kindergarten helps make SEL instruction more meaningful and, in turn, better prepares today’s students for a future we cannot predict.


Give kids the gift of digital literacy

One of my favorite pet peeves is the fact that we think of kids as digital natives.

It’s the same as me calling all people over 50 digital mummies. It’s a gross exaggeration, based solely on the years one has lived on this earth.

Or at least that’s the meaning the word has been imbued with over the last decade. What started out as a term used to describe the ever growing number of kids who have never known the world without digital things, ended up as a phrase used to describe what some felt was a natural— almost inbred — ability to understand how digital stuff works. All because of when they were born. To me, that’s just rubbish.

When we were young, we were taught the importance of not putting knitting needles in power sockets.

Since when is your age the sole factor that accounts for the sum of experiences you have had in your life? Since when does your birth certificate give you ‘special powers’ that others will not possess easily?

I mean, I know some 60-year-olds who have more digital fluency than most 10-year-olds. So just because the 10-year-old has never had to live without the digital world, he or she is supposed to automatically be knowledgeable about it? I don’t think so!

When Digital Natives became a thing

The debate about whether or not kids are digital natives started back in 2001, when a man named Mark Prensky wrote about the Y generation as Digital Natives, the first generation surrounded with digital technology from birth. Since then it has been adopted by the entire world, and for some strange reason it ended up being a term used as an excuse for letting kids run loose in the digital world. “Oh, they’re always so good at it” or “they’re naturals,” are phrases often heard accompanying the title. A strange excuse and even stranger thought if you start dissecting it.

I’ve talked about the importance of a digital upbringing for years. It’s something we need to take very seriously and something that too few understand the importance of.

So: are kids natural digital users? Sure. And by that logic, we all know exactly how electricity and cars work because we’ve seen them and used them since birth! Just because something might be easier for those who have seen it all of their lives, doesn’t mean that they are naturals at it.

I have been around math all of my life, and I’m definitely not a natural at it! It took me years to learn why and how it worked, even though it’s always been around. The ways of the digital world are the same. Only a handful are lucky enough to have things come naturally to them. The rest of us have to learn like we learned about electricity and being safe on streets.

Teaching is teaching, no matter the subject

When we were young, we were taught the importance of not putting knitting needles in power sockets, and that red means stop, and green means go. Basic things that later evolved into more specific instructions as we grew older. It’s a pretty simple principle of learning: start slow, making sure nobody kills themselves, and then up the amount of data as you go. It’s the same principle whether it’s electricity, math or digital literacy we’re dealing with.

Our kids need to get to know the digital world, and we — the adults — are the ones who should introduce them to safe ways of doing just that. I’ve talked about the importance of a digital upbringing for years. It’s something we need to take very seriously and something too few understand the importance of. Why? Because it takes a whole new perspective of looking at the way we raise kids when we add the digital world to the mix.

Though I see the idealism in the feat, it’s a hard path to walk in the world we live in.

And it has to be. There’s no way of avoiding it if you want to live in the same world as the rest of us. The second we enter the world, the first things we see are the backside of mobile phones and tablets, with people filming and taking pictures of us. Many relatives and friends will not see the baby in person before having met it digitally.

And we are meeting each other digitally more and more due to the rapid expansion and use of social media. So knowing this—and knowing how much time adults spend using the digital world—why shouldn’t it be a priority to teach kids the good, the bad, the ugly and the beautiful available in all those 1s and 0s?

Taking digital literacy outside the home

It’s not just in homes that the digital revolution has found a place in young children’s lives. In nurseries and kindergartens, tablets are now used for both playtime and learning experiences.

This has sparked debates worldwide about whether or not it’s damaging to children, especially very young ones. How does it affect kids to be near digital technology, and what’s enough exposure (or too much)? Is it okay for kids to be influenced by the devices both at home and when in care? Will they fall behind if they don’t get digital stimulation in daycare or the school system? How will it affect them in the long run?

As with so many other things, we don’t have definitive answers. What we have are studies that help us understand what happens when kids use tech and what happens when they don’t.

The latter has been around for centuries, so the data needed in this case is one where a modern child has never encountered the digital world. A rare phenomenon nowadays and something that requires a choice and quite an effort from the parents.

It’s so rare outside of tribal communities in Africa and other such places that the only thing I could find about kids living totally tech-free was an article about a mom who moved her 4 kids to a rural part of New Zealand. To perform this task, she had them homeschooled at first, and later found a school that disallows TV and tech for younger kids.

Though I see the idealism in this feat, it’s a hard path to walk in the world we live in. It also raises a lot of questions. What will happen when these children have to use technology when they lack the skill set their peers have trained the past five to ten years to gain? Will they be able to adapt, or will their lives and the way they use the digital world be like it was when the first digital immigrants had to learn what this tech-thingy was?

The mother hoped this sort of childhood would bring them closer to a life not enslaved by tech, and I applaud that. I just can’t help but think that she took it to an extreme when she could have done it in a more wholesome way. You don’t have to isolate yourself and your offspring to have a balanced digital and technical diet.

You can have both.

When Silicon Valley makes choices

In Silicon Valley, many of the high-level executives have chosen to send their kids to Waldorf Schools, where tech is not something that’s used until they are much older — if it’s used at all.

They also restrict the kids’ intake of tech at home, making sure it doesn’t consume their lives. These are the front runners of the digital tech revolution, and they have actively chosen to ease technology into their children’s lives. And I love it!

So maybe you want your child in a daycare with tech as a tool. Great — just make sure they have a plan!

It’s what we all need to do, in my opinion. By taking charge and helping kids take their first steps into their digital lives, we help them by creating a healthy balance; a safe place where the new inputs can be digested slowly and not gulped down in vast amounts. The virtual free-for-all we have been inclined to let our kids have at, creates too many conflicts, failures, and let-downs. Plus, it leaves the adult totally out of the loop, which is why we are experiencing so much cyberbullying, revenge porn, and other nasty stuff. Because if kids are left to fend for themselves and no one has taught them general rules of digital conduct, they will respond like kids always do: They will test and push boundaries until they find them, and they will keep testing them to see if they stick.

As I mentioned in the article Why coding should not be taught as ‘THE Truth,’it all has to start from the bottom up. It starts at home, with basic repetition, and then outside of the home where life really happens.

Tech isn’t a need for the youngest

Children under the age of 3 don’t need tech. They can have it like they can have all sort of other toys and stimuli, but it’s our need that decides if they should use it. If we give it to them, they will crave it, and if you use it, they will want to be a part of the fun. Nobody wants to be left out of the fun!

So maybe you want your child in a daycare with tech as a tool. Great — just make sure they have a plan for it! You might also want to choose a daycare without tech, and that’s your choice. Just make a choice. We need to take charge of our children’s digital upbringing by teaching them the digital literacy they deserve to know. They are not natural digital users. Digital literacy is an ability that we teach them, not a genetic predisposition.

And that is why I’m claiming that the term Digital Natives should be banned from every present discussion or debate about kids and the digital world. Period!

About the author

Eva Fog has been working with kids, parent, teacher and everyone else in the school system for the past 7 years. Being a life long tech geek, IT and digital platforms are her main interests and lifelong passion. She is also the founder of the girls tech club DigiPippi.


The four essential skills of the 21st century

The four essential skills every 21st century parent and teacher should instill in the next generation

Shortly after the turn of the 21st century, a group of business, education, and policy leaders put their heads together to figure out what skills were most important for children to learn in a world run on technology. They came up with four Cs: critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and creativity.

Some kids learn these skills faster than others. Their parents and teachers expose them to technology at a young age—and not just as users of computers, tablets, or smartphones. They are taught instead the language technology speaks, how to wield these digital powers, and how to work alongside technology. They begin to see how machines are put together and how they function, from their components to their coding.

Those lessons give children a leg up over their peers, and a fluency in technology that will expand their career prospects and prepare them to lead an automated future.

Here’s what the best parents instill in their children from an early age, and how it benefits them for their entire lives.

Critical thinking
Critical thinking in not just a way to immunize your kids against fake news—it is the fundamental skill that separates creators from mere users. In a now-famous video, Steve Jobs revealed his secret of life:

“Everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you. And you can change it, you can influence it, you can build your own things that other people can use. Once you learn that, you’ll never be the same again.”

What Jobs leaves unsaid is that without critical thinking skills, you’ll never be able to find room for improvement. By teaching children coding, parents and teachers train young minds to look for these opportunities. In programming, looking for mistakes is natural. From debugging code to improving an app’s functionality, seeking out and finding room for improvement is a path to learning new things.

Communication
Many parents (and increasingly, schools) teach their children multiple languages at an early age, taking advantage of children’s flexible minds to help them reach fluency faster. The “bilingual advantages” that come with this are more than just multiple ways to communicate: they include better focus, problem solving, and the ability to multitask.

While most multilingual children learn two or more human languages, code might be a better choice for kids today. In the future, our children will be working alongside both humans and machines, and their ability to interact with and communicate with robots and AI will be just as important as their ability to interact with co-workers.

By starting early, children more easily absorb and internalize the concepts of programming, allowing them to direct and work alongside machines as effectively as they communicate with their classmates and coworkers.

Collaboration
The greatest collaboration involves working with others who have different strengths and perspectives than you do. Creating an environment where that’s possible, both among humans and between humans and machines, starts when kids are young.

Parents who teach their kids how to work with technology make that kind of collaboration possible. Children are open to anything, and gender-neutral toys can introduce the concepts of coding even before first grade, teaching kids to interact and collaborate with technology.

Wait too long, however, and children’s identities settle into place. Trying to introduce technology in high school is a lot tougher than introducing it in elementary school. The parents and teachers who introduce science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) early help raise children more capable of collaborating not only with each other, but with the automated systems and technologies that will dominate daily life in the coming decades. Working well with technology and others is essential to their future.

Creativity
In one of the most popular TED talks of all time, Sir Ken Robinson breaks down how schools kill creativity. He says of children:

“They’re not frightened of being wrong. I don’t mean to say that being wrong is the same thing as being creative. What we do know is, if you’re not prepared to be wrong, you’ll never come up with anything original … And by the time they get to be adults, most kids have lost that capacity. They have become frightened of being wrong. And we run our companies like this. We stigmatize mistakes. And we’re now running national education systems where mistakes are the worst thing you can make. And the result is that we are educating people out of their creative capacities.”

By a certain age, some students are afraid to raise their hand in class out of fear of looking stupid if they get the answer wrong.

Programming and working with technology take a different approach: finding mistakes is a good thing. Children’s creative capacity grows when they are able to experiment, review the results of what they’ve done, and then try something new. As Robinson notes, if children aren’t taught to embrace and explore mistakes, they’ll “never come up with anything original.”

What to do now
Whether you’re already teaching your children these skills or have yet to start, find ways to help them explore, experiment, and work with others on technology. Don’t just teach them to use devices or software, teach them to be creators. You’ll instill the 21st century skills they’ll need in the classroom, and eventually, the workplace. Start now and they’ll reap the benefits for years to come.


Why teaching kids to learn requires YOU - the adult

Being a kid everything around you is about new learning or repetition of previously experienced learning.
It’s all you do, and it’s all you know.
Well — not all you know since a lot of it is done autonomously and without your cognitive processes even getting involved.
Nature did its best to make sure we get the most out of that big, beautiful brain we all possess, slowly introducing us to its capabilities.

Playing is one of the most fundamental methods of learning in our early developmental stages.
Getting to know why sand doesn’t taste good is as important, as you later learning how to write the letters of the alphabet.
It serves different purposes in our lives but still derives from the same path of learning.
Basically, we all need to learn how to learn, in the most sensible and fruitful way. More on that later.

Being a Waldorf educated pedagogue I’ve learned to appreciate the basic methods of imprinting knowledge alongside the more cognitive and abstract methods of traditional learning.
In my experience, one requires the other to get the most out of the ‘human experience.’

Now, it may surprise you when I reveal that I’m also a specialist in children and technology and, that I believe that being able to tell that sand doesn’t taste good is a vital piece of information to have when starting to learn the more technical stuff.

We use the same sort of imprinting in the early stages of life, no matter if it’s learning how to google the internet or not to eat stuff, which has no nutritional value to us. Like sand.

It’s all about how we learn and when we start learning it.
Contrary to what I’ve heard some people postulate, being human doesn’t mean we only have a limited time to learn as much as possible.
We have the ability to learn until the day we cease to exist, but there are more fruitful times in our developmental stages.

A childs brain versus the adults

In the early years, we tend to receive and process information much more fluently, meaning that we still haven’t developed too many brain grooves where information will be forced to pass.
As kids we have fruitful lush forests instead of manicured gardens, tended to as much perfection as we (adults) muster.

This exact reason is why we need to let kids explore their world in as many ways, shapes, methods and forms as possible!
They need structured learning time as well as unstructured, and it is vital that we balance it.

In Denmark and other Scandinavian countries, we treasure play time.
That’s why our children don’t start school until the age of 5–6 years old, and why they get as much free play time in kindergartens and nurseries as possible.
We focus on creative ways for the kids to play and explore, even when we ‘teach’ the little ones.

That’s why we use pedagogues and not teachers in the pre-school age.
It’s a completely different sort of education from being a teacher, though several government reforms have done their best to try and mash them together. Fortunately, not with complete success — yet. But that’s another subject entirely.

So to sum it up thus far: When dealing with our youngsters, play needs to equal learning every single time. Because it’s the same thing!
Until the age of 7, so many basic functions are formed through active interactions with the world and the things in it.
Touching, feeling, smelling, tasting, throwing and so forth are all part of what makes the brain understand even the most basic functions of traditional education.

We program our brain with every physical thing we do, thereby making neat little paths in our lush brain forests. We teach ourselves sequential thinking without even knowing it.

What does eating sand teach us?

It teaches our brains to think “So when sand equals YUCK maybe dirt does too?”, and next time we encounter something that resembles sand or dirt, we recall the previous experiences and — maybe — stop ourselves from putting it in our mouth.
Until next time when the sequence starts over, or until it’s made a nice and comfortable path through our wooden brain landscape.

At that time, we’ve programmed ourselves to avoid eating sand — maybe even why — and we never have to think about not eating it again.
It’s now hardwired and part of our autonomous brain pattern, and frees up our learning process to get to new stuff.
So in short; Sequential thinking makes us able to do all the things we need to do.

What does all of this have to do with tech?
A lot, actually!

Though the parent generation grew up with computers, we still have a tendency not to teach our kids the basic understanding of the darn things.
In many ways, it’s the Wild West, and we’ve just let the kids loose with a six-shooter, cowboy boots, and a wild stallion, expecting them to fend for themselves in an unstructured world we barely understand.
How is that teaching them anything constructive?
How is that helping them develop the right set of skills to go through a world, where tech is everywhere and still growing?

When our kids eat sand, we tell them ‘Ew, that’s not food,’ thereby enforcing their own internal YUCK response.
When they play soccer, learn to ride a bike or skip, we’re there to enforce their learning by praising, comforting and giving advice.

That’s why we need to do the same when it comes to tech and IT.
There are no such thing as digital natives so adults everywhere — shape up and start helping your kids learn!

Children need to eat virtual sand and learn when it’s bad for them, and they need adults to help them reflect on it.
They need to have fights, friendships and play with identities on the computer as well as the physical world.
They need to be taught how to learn, and if we adult isn’t there to help them, they’ll find their own way. Wild West style.

Let’s fast forward to classrooms everywhere that now uses tech and IT in as many situations as possible.
The children that have parents helping them through the technological sand-eating has the ability to navigate a whole lot better, than the children galloping in with guns held high, screaming demands.

Some might say that the teachers then have the responsibility to be the sheriff in town, but that’s unreasonable.
Sure, you can try to bulldoze your way through the unstructured brain woods of the unruly kids, but that has never been the way to good and sustainable learning environments.
No matter if the environment is tech based or paper based.

It’s our responsibility to help the next generation learn how to learn, and stop focusing on what platform they’re on.
It makes very little difference when it comes down to it.
In the end, it’s all about learning how to be human.

About the author

Eva Fog has been working with kids, parent, teacher and everyone else in the school system for the past 7 years. Being a life long tech geek, IT and digital platforms are her main interests and lifelong passion. She is also the founder of the girls tech club DigiPippi.