Friday, April 8, 2016

Hidden Gems: Tech Literacy

If you are reading this blog post, chances are you are familiar with our website. As our "face to the world" and our first interaction with many of the families, students, and schools with whom we work, our website needs to convey important information about who we are, what we do, and how we do it. What sometimes gets lost as we provide this necessary background and explanation of our work, are our terrific lists of resources for students -- young and older -- as well as parents and educators, which are tucked away in the "back pages" of our site.

These lists, numbering roughly a dozen separate subjects at any one time, include many of the resources we frequently recommend in our Learning Plans, and are meticulously supplemented and kept up to date by Yellin Center Learning Specialist Beth Guadagni, M.A. We think you will find them helpful, and will be shining a light on them here in our blog over the next week or two. And, for those who don't want to wait, we invite you to explore all our resource listings at any time.

Today, we begin with our list of resources for students interested in tech literacy.

Codecademy – upper elementary – adult
This a free web-based program that teaches users Javascript, Ruby, Python, CSS, and other languages. It is also available as an app for iOS devices. In addition to learning coding languages, users can learn to build an interactive website, a Rails application, and more.

Hopscotch – ages 8+
A simple programming iPad or iPhone app, Hopscotch is an award-winning program that students can use to make their own animations, apps, digital stories and games. The basic app is free, but Hopscotch School Edition is available as extension for $9.99. Here, teacher-centric features improve the integration of Hopscotch as a learning medium. 

Tynker – ages 8+
Tynker offers self-paced, online courses designed teach children to code at home or at school. The program infuses step-by-step instructions with games, videos, and puzzles. Price: approx. $50 per course or $399 for an entire classroom

Made with Code – upper elementary – high school 
This resource page, brought to you by Google, showcases disruptive technologies that are being made with code and offers free projects to give students a taste for programming. There are also community-building resources and real-time events for students who develop a real interest in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math). – kindergarten - adult offers tips for both learning and teaching computer science. There are also courses, tutorials, and up-to-date statistics on growth in the computer science industry. Introductory courses and tutorials are free.

girls who CODE – high school
This organization is dedicated to inspiring young women to enter the STEM fields. They offer summer intensives, clubs in many neighborhoods, and mentorship programs.
Mozilla Webmaker - upper elementary - adult
Make your own apps and websites, learn about events in your area, and interact with other programmers of all levels for free on this well-designed, accessible, and fun site. 


Whiz Kid Robotics - beginners to pros
This innovative company aims to make STEM fun by offering all sorts of programmable robot kits to get kids hooked on robotics. Kits vary in complexity, so there's bound to be a project here that is suitable for nearly anyone of any skill level. Visit Whiz Kid's Robotics Guide and STEM resources for links to outstanding activities, organizations of interest, and more.

SparkFun is an online retail store that sells the bits and pieces to make nearly any electronic project you can imagine possible. It sounds complicated, but SparkFun's products and resources are designed to make the world of electronics accessible to the average person. In addition to products, SparkFun offers classes and online tutorials designed to help educate individuals about embedded electronics. Its ever-growing product catalog boasts over 3,500 components and widgets designed to help you unleash your inner inventor.

NASA Robotics Alliance Project
An extensive library of resources, for educators and students in elementarymiddle, and high school. 

Some resources may not be appropriate for all learners. We urge you to carefully review any of the products, services, or tools linked from this blog prior to allowing children to use them without adult supervision.

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