STEAM Conference

On Wednesday, February 13th we participated in the Lincolnshire-Prarie View School District 103 Learning Fund Foundations first STEAM Conference.

If you are not familiar with STEAM, this includes the traditional STEM fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, with the addition of Art!

This event provided almost 250 students with the opportunity to participate in many activities including coding games and robotics.

Head on over to the district’s Facebook page to see some great photos of the evening CLICK HERE.

We have included a copy of the event’s press releast for download STEAM Conference Press Release.

CES through the eyes of an expert

Last month we talked in this blog about the Consumer Electronics Show and why we as parents and educators should care about it.

This month we wanted to take a look at what was presented at the show. Our resident Children’s Technology expert Dr. Warren Buckleitner of the Children’s Technology thought were ‘pretty cool’. Included below are videos so we can see the show through his eyes and get his insight into the show.

  1. My Waymo Self Driving Car video lets you see what your autonomous car sees, as it sucks up the information from your town’s streets to make itself smarter. 

  1. The Wall by Samsung lets you build screens out of HD 6 by 8 inch blocks. This could have huge implications for classrooms or libraries. Why? You can make your big screen match your space, rather than the other way around. 

  1. Philips Avent Smart Baby Bottle is one of several cool baby gadgets I sent to the mother of my Grandson (aka my daughter). She’ll never use such a thing because she doesn’t even have a microwave. But this bottle can send information about the liquid inside the bottle to your smart phone via bluetooth, so you can check the temperature or track amounts and feeding times.

 

What are you most excited to see in your home in the future?

Why does the Consumer Electronics Show Matter?

This week  the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) will be happening in Las Vegas. This Expo is held each year and is sponsored by the Consumer Technology Association, which touts itself as an organization “which provides the ultimate platform for technology leaders to connect, collaborate, and propel consumer technology forward.” The show itself will host more than 4500 vendors. It is the international arena “where  next-generation innovations are introduced to the marketplace.” (https://www.ces.tech/About-CES.aspx )

One might wonder “What does a show about TVs and boomboxes have to do with STEM education?”

The answer is a lot actually.

Over the last 50 years, many of the things that are common place, or things that are now obsolete (Who didn’t love the VCR?) were first introduced to the marketplace. This year they will showcase more items in the realms 3D Printing, Accessibility, Advertising, Marketing, Content and Entertainment, AR/VR and Gaming, and Artificial Intelligence and Robotics just to name a few.

These items are the products that our student will be using in the near future, as well as the items that hopefully they will use their own imaginations, innovation and skills to improve upon or make obsolete as they enter the workforce.

The innovations introduced by the vendors, and speakers at CES will help determine what skills and innovations we should be introducing to our students in the classroom to help them become part of moving the world into the future whether they are interested in gaming, robotics, medicine, space, sports, or agriculture. CES is the space where the cutting edge technologies of each of these areas will be presented, as well as areas that we may not have not imagined yet!

Follow CES

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/CES

Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/ces/

YouTube – https://www.youtube.com/user/cesonthetube

Video Games Can Help Kids Too!!

Life Lessons

Parents often focus on the potential dangers and negative rumors about kids playing video games.  But the truth is, the right video games can teach kids powerful life lessons which they can apply in their school and social experiences.   According to Parents author, Cheryl Olson, Ps.D., “Video games can help parents choose appropriate leisure-time games, help educators seek ways to supplement classroom teaching, and help game developers create games that teach.”   According to a November 11, 2014 article in The Conversation, Video games have great educational potential in addition to their entertainment value. Games specifically designed to address a specific problem or teach a specific skill have been very successful, precisely because they are motivating, engaging, interactive, and provide rewards and reinforcement to improve.”  We see our kids absorbed in their video play, completely focused on achieving the path to win their game. This is a lesson in failing and not giving up on a goal; which can be applied throughout life’s obstacles.

Benefits of Learning How to Make and Code Video Games

Being comfortable around technology instills confidence and boosts creativity among children  There are many benefits to learning how to code and create video games. According to, Raise Smart Kids, the author summarizes 14 strong benefits kids inherit from learning to code: “1) Kids learn computational thinking, 2)Kids learn to use logic, 3)Kids learn problem solving, 4)Kids learn how things work, and create things that work, 5)Kids learn to anticipate and avoid problems, 6)Kids learn structural thinking, 7)Kids learn algorithmic thinking, 8)Kids learn perseverance, 9)Kids exercises creativity, and in a fun way, learn to create stuff that works, 10)Coding prepares kids for skills that are necessary in the future, 11)Coding shows math in action; it shows kids the practical application of math, and why it is so important, 12)Coding can make your child discover his lifelong passion, and can be helpful for him to decide his future career, 13)Those exceptionally creative and entrepreneurial coders can earn a lot of money, 14)Coding encourages kids to think outside of the box; it sends a message to kids that they can create anything from nothing if they want to work on it.“  Coding provides a foundation to kids that brings together academics, social and emotional strengths, thereby boosting creativity and confidence in kids!

COMPUTER EXPLORERS offers classes in various aspects of Video Gaming such as, Video Game Robotics, Minecraft, X Box Video Game Coding, 3D Game Coding, Game Making with Sploder, Video Game & Puzzle Design and more!  Contact us today to sign up for our classes!

Get a Head Start with STEM Programs!

BUILD MATH & SCIENCE SKILLS

There are numerous benefits to introducing Engineering to elementary school students.  Children are fascinated with building towers and bridges using objects like blocks and spindle toys.  Such activities require their curious minds to use math and science skills. Engineering concepts are being applied as they solve how to make their building project complete!

 

INCREASED CONFIDENCE

According to Engineering is Elementary, developed by the Museum of Boston, “Research suggests that engineering activities help build classroom equity. The engineering design process removes the stigma from failure; instead, failure is an important part of the problem-solving process and a positive way to learn.”  The idea is that there are multiple answers and solutions to solve a puzzle and build a tower or bridge.  There is no right answer. This leads to increased confidence in children and the belief that anything is possible if you keep trying!  The concept of learning from mistakes, and not giving up, are part of elementary school, and is instilled in the introduction of Engineering concepts to children.

IMPROVED SOCIAL SKILLS

Computer Explorers’ Engineering classes are designed as team based lessons.  This encourages kids to use collaborative efforts to get through their lessons.  Furthermore, students work on improving social skills, such as sharing, patience, and team-work.  These are fundamental skills intertwined with Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math lessons all available through TechStars programs at Computer Explorers.  

Engineering classes are available for kids as young as 5 years old, with our Intro and Jr Fun-Gineering classes.  Additional Engineering classes for older kids offered include: Fun-Gineering, Circuits & More, and Physical Programming with Micro:Bits.  Computer Explorers also offers classes in Robotics, Coding & Programming, Digital Design & Arts, Digital Sciences and more! Contact us today to sign up for our COMPUTER EXPLORERS’ classes located throughout Northeast Chicagoland!!

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