Can We Encourage Our Kids To Become Digital Creators & Not Just Digital Consumers

Can We Encourage Our Kids To Become Digital Creators & Not Just Digital Consumers

The world around us is going increasing digital – Our kids today are growing up in a world that connected like never before. Take a look around you, the local government services we consume are increasingly being offered online, educational content our kids consume at school and home is increasing being delivered online, shopping online i.e. ecommerce has grown tremendously over the years with pure brick and mortar stores loosing out to their online counterparts, entertainment for kids i.e. be it games or video content (youtube, etc.) is increasingly being delivered through online platforms, etc. Online services, education, entertainment, commerce, communication, etc. will only continue to grow over the years as more consumers move online and different parts of the world are connected to the internet. The big question for us an our kids is, are we positioned to become content creators or will we continue to be content consumers.

Survival skills in our digital world require fluency with different digital platforms, both as digital creators and digital consumers. Kids today at an early age learn to navigate through these different digital platforms and master their use early on as digital consumers. Let’s admit it, most of us are digital consumers as well. However to survive in a world that increasingly going digital its important that we invest in skills that will help our kids learn how to become digital creators and move away from just being digital consumers. By digital creators i don’t necessarily mean that every child should aspire to become a programmer or a data scientist but rather have an strong understanding of the digital ecosystem, a sound understanding of how these digital platforms work, interoperate and most importantly how to use these various digital platforms to create digital services, offerings that can be delivered with a human (offline) touch. .

Little girl exploring learning resources with her mother

Helping our kids become digital creators – Not knowing which direction digital is going to take, which professions will be most impacted by increasing automation, not knowing the new types of jobs that will be in demand in 10-15 years time it’s impossible for anyone to confirm the exact mix of skills that we ought to give our kids. However what’s clear is that with a strong understanding of the digital ecosystem (which is constantly evolving), with the knowledge of how the various digital platforms around us work combined with the knowledge of creating digital content, our kids should be better positioned to take on the evolving digital world. The digital world is still going to require real people with real world skills to interact and deliver services with a human touch. As digital creators our kids now have the understand, the knowledge, the confidence required to shape delivery of those digital services while providing the much required human touch.

By digital creators i don’t necessarily mean that every child should aspire to become a programmer or a data scientist but rather have an strong understanding of the digital ecosystem, a sound understanding of how these digital platforms work, interoperate and most importantly how to use these various digital platforms to create digital services, offerings that can be delivered with a human (offline) touch.

Australian Technology Curriculum and what if offers – At the code clubs we run here in Melbourne, Australia we extensively make use of the coding resources from the Raspberry Pi foundation, CoderDojo international, CodeClub international including a host of other international platforms, websites catering to kids of different age groups. All of this learning content from a myriad of different sources is aggregated and easily accessible through KidzCanCode. You can check out the different resources we use for coding, electronics, robotics, web development, 3D modelling at KidzCanCode. Many of the resources we make use of in class have been mapped to different parts of the Australian Digital Technology Curriculum.

The Australian Curriculum including the Australian Digital Curriculum has been put together by the ACARA ( Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority). According to the ACARA, “The Australian Curriculum sets the expectations for what all young Australians should be taught, regardless of where they live in Australia or their background. ACARA draws on the best national talent and expertise, and consults widely to develop the Australian Curriculum and resources. Education plays a critical role in shaping the lives of young Australians and contributing to a democratic, equitable and just society that is prosperous, cohesive and culturally diverse. The rationale for the introduction of the Australian Curriculum centres on improving the quality, equity and transparency of Australia’s education system”.

The Australian Curriculum Assessment and Reporting Authority have a lovely website that talks about the different parts of the digital curriculum it recommends for students including the outcomes the curriculum should be delivering. Let’s dive in to what the ACARA has to say (from the ACARA website) –

Rationale – In a world that is increasingly digitized and automated, it is critical to the well being and sustainability of the economy, the environment and society, that the benefits of information systems are exploited ethically. This requires deep knowledge and understanding of digital systems (a component of an information system) and how to manage risks. Ubiquitous digital systems such as mobile and desktop devices and networks are transforming learning, recreational activities, home life and work. Digital systems support new ways of collaborating and communicating, and require new skills such as computational and systems thinking. These technologies are an essential problem-solving tool set in our knowledge-based society.

The Australian Curriculum: Digital Technologies empowers students to shape change by influencing how contemporary and emerging information systems and practices are applied to meet current and future needs. A deep knowledge and understanding of information systems enables students to be creative and discerning decision-makers when they select, use and manage data, information, processes and digital systems to meet needs and shape preferred futures.

Digital Technologies provides students with practical opportunities to use design thinking and to be innovative developers of digital solutions and knowledge. The subject helps students to become innovative creators of digital solutions, effective users of digital systems and critical consumers of information conveyed by digital systems. Digital Technologies provides students with authentic learning challenges that foster curiosity, confidence, persistence, innovation, creativity, respect and cooperation. These are all necessary when using and developing information systems to make sense of complex ideas and relationships in all areas of learning. Digital Technologies helps students to be regional and global citizens capable of actively and ethically communicating and collaborating.

Aims – In addition to the overarching aims for the Australian Curriculum: Technologies, Digital Technologies more specifically aims to develop the knowledge, understanding and skills to ensure that, individually and collaboratively, students:

  • design, create, manage and evaluate sustainable and innovative digital solutions to meet and redefine current and future needs
  • use computational thinking and the key concepts of abstraction; data collection, representation and interpretation; specification, algorithms and implementation to create digital solutions
  • confidently use digital systems to efficiently and effectively automate the transformation of data into information and to creatively communicate ideas in a range of settings
  • apply protocols and legal practices that support safe, ethical and respectful communications and collaboration with known and unknown audiences
  • apply systems thinking to monitor, analyze, predict and shape the interactions within and between information systems and the impact of these systems on individuals, societies, economies and environments.

Structure – The Australian Curriculum: Digital Technologies (F–10) comprises two related strands:

  • Digital Technologies knowledge and understanding – the information system components of data, and digital systems (hardware, software and networks)
  • Digital Technologies processes and production skills – using digital systems to create ideas and information, and to define, design and implement digital solutions, and evaluate these solutions and existing information systems against specified criteria.

The ACARA website neatly lays out content description, achievement standards including sample portfolios for each of the grades. To learn more about what the Australian Digital Curriculum suggests for each of the different age groups heads over to the Australian Digital Curriculum website.

STEM Learning Resources – We built KidzCanCode.com over the last year to enable our kids to work on different STEM related challenges in class. Over the last year we’ve seen increasing amount of traffic from different parts of the world with parents, educators now starting to make use of KidzCanCode.com to deliver STEM learning to their kids at school and at home. KidzCanCode.com is an aggregator of sorts, a lot of the content is linked through KidzCanCode.com making it easy for parents, kids, educators to find STEM learning resources for kids of different ages. You can check out the different resources we use for coding, electronics, robotics, web development, 3D modelling at KidzCanCode. We are constantly adding new resources to KidzCanCode.com so head over and check them out now.

The table below from the CodeClub Australia website shows the suitability of all STEM learning modules offered by Code Club and how those modules map to the different learning outcomes across the different year level bands as prescribed by the Australian Curriculum: Digital Technologies. All of the learning content referred to below is accessible (linked) through KidzCanCode.com and also directly through the CodeClub website.

Mapping of CodeClub STEM learning resources to the Australian Digital Curriculum

So if you are keen on keeping up with the Digital revolution head and helping your kids gain the skills to move from being digital consumers to digital creators head over to KidzCanCode.com and checkout the 70+ learning courses we have on offer. Get yourself and your kids started on their own STEM learning journey right away!!!!!!

At KidzCanCode.com we offer FREE access to various STEM (Science, Engineering, Technology, Math) development courses at KidzCanCode.com . At KidzCanCode.com you will find courses on Scratch, BBC Micro:Bit, Arduino, Raspberry Pi, fundamentals and advanced Robotics, fundamentals and advanced Electronics, Web development, Mobile application development, Python development, 3D modelling, etc.

If you are looking for a BBC micro:bit, Arduino, Raspberry Pi, starter kits, electronics kits, robotics kits including other STEM learning kits we would recommend you drop by our online store here – <OzToyLib>.

Hopefully you have enjoyed the post. If you have any questions, comments or suggestions for future tutorials drop us a note at – learning at hack2 dot live.

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