Features March 2019

Using Technology to Learn

Today’s children are growing up in the age of technology.  From smart phones and game consoles to laptop and tv screens, our children are surrounded by digital products.  One valley program is helping kids and parents weed through it all.

iKidsCode strives to use advancements in technology as a tool to support and enrich elementary students’ learning environments both during the school day and in after school and summer camp settings.  Digital literacy is an important skill for 21stcentury learners, but there is a gap in our education system that leaves many teachers and students unprepared to navigate the technology landscape due to lack of resources, training, and opportunities to incorporate technology. There is a need for equity, digital citizenship, and consistency in elementary computer science instruction that allows students equal access to digital skills. iKidsCode curriculum fosters equitable opportunities for all students to learn how to be safe online while creating and problem-solving in authentic and engaging ways.

Children today may be familiar with technology, but there is a need to move from learning how to use technology to using technology to learn.  We aspire for our students to progress from playing video games to using their creativity and problem-solving skills to build and code their own games.  Students who attended iKidsCode classes have left saying, “This is the best thing I’ve ever done in school!” and “I love being able to make the game and then play it.”

Arizona has recently adopted Computer Science standards to be taught in all K-12 classrooms. Many schools currently rely on computer-based programs that leave students sitting in front of a computer with headphones on, simply moving through skill and drill activities. This leaves little room for creativity, problem-solving, and project based learning.  iKidsCode research-based curriculum will help children transition from being consumers of technology to become producers of information, content, and projects in a digital world. Providing elementary students real opportunities to practice coding and making digital projects can set children up for success in future computer science classes in high school and college and can positively impact their future careers.

Entertainment platforms like Fortnite and Minecraft have captured the attention of this young generation. iKidsCode ventures to use this intrigue in technology to provide a fun and energetic learning environment for our students while sparking an interest for them to develop a passion and natural curiosity to understand “how technology works.”  We aspire to utilize this interest in technology to reveal the many different computer science career opportunities that our children will have the ability to pursue.

We are pleased to share that iKidsCode students are not simply being consumers of technology, but are now using their talents and skills to be creators of it.  iKidsCode is honored to have the opportunity to help support and equip the young minds of our next generation of software engineers, computer programmers, web developers, technology specialists – the opportunities for our children are endless.  To learn more about iKidsCode and how you can positively impact our next generation, visit our website at ikidscode.com

Written by: Amy Boniface, iKidsCode

Amy Boniface is the Chief Curriculum Officer at iKidsCode and is passionate about bringing quality computer science experiences to elementary students. She also works as an Assistant Clinical Professor at Northern Arizona in the College of Education and supports undergraduate students who want to be teachers. Amy lives in the North Phoenix with her husband and two daughters.

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