Coding Camps for Kids on Campus is Great for College Recruiting

Today I thought I would write a little bit of how we think summer coding camps for kids on College and University campus is a great recruiting tool. By allowing kids ages 11 through 18 years of age to be on the campus physically is proving to be a huge success in the recruitment of those same kids when they’re older for many universities and colleges all over the U.S. There are a lot of reasons for this, but I want to cover 3 reasons of why it works in today’s blog post. Lets jump in!   REASON #1: GOOD MEMS ALL AROUND Anytime I talk with my buddies about the past we always state “good mems!” The main reason is that if you think about a child who’s brain is developing so rapidly in there younger years, they associate places, things, sounds, smells with either great times or possibly even bad times. By a College or University creating a wonderful atmosphere for kids to come and experience walking around campus and then sit in a computer lab where they see all those computers and cool gadgets, robotics stuff is surely to leave a profound impression on those video gamers when walking out of the campus computer lab!   REASON #2: START EDUCATING THEM NOW WITH LIVE EXPERIENCES Most everyone associates with a mentor or someone they look up to and it’s usually the person that taught them how to work, play, and have fun while doing it. By providing computer programming camps for kids on your campus you have already begun the education process for these young fellas to learn! AS the kids look to the University as almost a mentor, they will only want to continue with concurrent enrollment classes in high school, other continuing education classes because they’ll already be comfortable having been to summer camps. Learning a bit of computer science on campus for kids over the summer proves to be extremely beneficial for the parents as well. What parent doesn’t want to see their child graduate from the same University they did. Well… instead of sending them letters every year to donate to their alma mater, why not send a letter and say you’re offering a summer coding camp for kids for their own child who want to learn how to really program video games and websites or develop apps that make robots move. I mean you already have the computer labs and with Simply Coding you can use their curriculum and live chat support. Now all you need is have a page where they can register and possibly a teacher aide that needs to be in the room for adult supervision. By educating kids now on your campus is a very smart idea for any continuing education department looking towards the future students that you will want to attend. Experience is everything! I just saw this coding camp all the way out in Singapore. REASON #3: A LITTLE EXTRA FUNDS I don’t know if this falls into a reason why, but I have to mention it anyways as for the smaller colleges and universities, they may want to make a little money on the side over the summer. With a revenue share model, the continuing ed department can receive some money from the camps that then in turn can be used for advertising of the camps or funding other summer camps for kids. Coding isn’t the only thing that kids are interested in nowadays, it’s just the majority. But there’s lots of little girl cooks like my daughter who would die to go to a summer camp where they learn basics of cooking instead of watching cupcake wars or bobby flay all day. As a parent myself I have no problem paying a couple hundred bucks for my daughters to go to a summer camp on the campus of my alma mater! CONCLUSIONS I remember when I went to a basketball camp when I was around 10 years old on the campus of my Dad’s alma mater. I’ll never forget it. It left an impression on me that made me want to grow up and go there when I’m older. Just as sport camps for kids did this for me, so do coding camps for kids, and others produce that same feeling of the memory. And guess where I ended up? Yup! Right where my Dad went to school! It is my opinion that there is no stronger recruiting tool for a college or university than to run summer camps for kids! It’s easy. It’s turnkey. It’s fulfilling. It’s affecting the lives of children in their social skills, confidence, and maturity. And most importantly it’s allowing the kids to feel and experience the wonderful culture your school is all about! Heck, give them a cool t-shirt with your logo and colors or a cool slogan! Any swag you can think of. That’ll go a long ways! Other interesting summer STEM camps for kids I saw out there were Sylvan, Idtech summer camps, Tynker stem camps. Be sure to look at all of them to make the best choice for your school! And of course we are here to answer any questions as we know all of them! Have questions about coding camps for kids? We’re here to help! Just click on the live chat or give us a call. For more information on how Simply Coding works with colleges and universities with summer camps you can just click on this link. Till next time, this is D signin off!

Is Code.org Bad or Good for my Student or Child

In today’s post I want to cover if Code.org is BAD or GOOD for your student or child. I’ve heard both sides and there’s a lot of misinformation out there online that is not giving the parent or teacher the right idea about exactly what is Code.org computer science curriculum. So hopefully I can clear this up once and for all and address the worrys of parents. Because I think the real worry for parents and teachers comes down to this: Is my student or child wasting their time on the computer and just playing games? Well…I promise if you keep reading you’ll stop feeling guilty as a parent like I did and see that computer screen time can be for learning and enjoyable.

About Code.org’s Mission

Code.org is a computer science curriculum for schools that is run as a non-profit. Their vision is to bring coding to every student all over the USA. You can read more about their vision here: https://code.org/about.

What we here at Simply Coding like about Code.org is that it really gives the kid or student a nice introduction into the world of coding specifically through their program called, “hour of code”. But as I write this I really want parents to understand the differences of real world coding for kids and what we like to call visual programming languages. I’ll do the best I can to explain in parent language.

2 Types of Programming Languages

Scratch EditorVisual Based Computer Programming (not real coding environment)

I like to refer to this as the drag and drop method of coding games. It is easier at first when you are just learning the logic or syntax to simply have a student click the mouse and then drag and drop either images or pieces of already written code into blocks. It’s also great for those who do not yet know how to type and are trying to gain exposure to see if coding may be something they will like. Most kids start here. However, if you notice your child starting to get bored, then it may be time for something more challenging. Code.org is instant gratification for kids, which is why they like it! You simply login online and start clicking and dragging and instantly can see your projects! However, the downfalls are that you cannot go farther than this, thus progression stops for the child and creates boredom. This is mainly due to the fact that most kids that are into coding have the brain to want to keep going and designing their own games or projects beyond their imaginations. With just dragging and dropping blocks is simply not going to cut it for them. Because it is a non profit there is no customer support, which can lead to a first time frustrating experience for some. The child is on their own. So parents just be aware of that. And I almost forgot that because they host all kids projects on their libraries (website) you can’t really save your work and post it whereever.

Examples of visual based coding: Code.org Blockly Hour of Code, Khan Academy, CodeCademy, Scratch MIT program

Bottom Line: Blockly and other similar programs are great to introduce logic or syntax. They are fun to do for kids and great to expose them to how coding works and the cool stuff you can make with it. It is more like you’re playing a game right of the bat. I relate it to perhaps a “theory” class of learning the piano or learning how to play one song without really learning the notes. I can still play “in the jungle” by Lion King and don’t know a single note!

Text Based Computer Programming (real live coding environment).

Once your child is bored, then it is definitely time to move into the text based computer programming to keep feeding his or her imagination of creations. This is the real life coding where your child or student will download a text editor onto their computer (which is free by the way) and actually write or type in letters, numbers, symbols, etc. to then upload to the internet and display their games or projects. A text editor is like notepad or microsoft word, but for computer programming for kids. The downfall is it can be kind of boring to start off as one doesn’t know the basic instructions or rules. However, at Simply Coding we actually have come up with 3 useful games (pong,fish,mario) in the first lesson that we use as a medium to teach the kids coding. This helps with the boredom. We also do live chat support and live weekly webinars to help the child through any frustrations they’re having to try and make it a great first experience. The downfall is that the student does need to know how to type 15 words per minute and this is because we want it to be a great experience and finger typing won’t get the job done and be frustrating for your child and you as the parent. The other thing to be aware of is that there is no forgiveness in text-based coding for kids. You put a semi colon in the wrong place or forget a letter somewhere, the computer will not have the right instructions to move an object and the code will fail. But nowadays there’s so many tools that check the code and tell the student where the errors are. Just like if you were to hit the wrong key on the piano. Also unlike other sites we do NOT host your kids projects at all. They get to learn how to post it on github and create their own portfolio of stuff. This way they take it with them and it’s theirs forever!

Examples of text based coding for kids: Javscript game designPython multiplayer, building websites in html css

Bottom Line: Text based computer programming is the real deal. You actually type the code and then see it come to life! There are no boundaries. The more you learn, the more you can do that eventually leads to a skill and a job or career! I would relate this to actually reading music and playing the piano and not just learning a song to where you eventually can pick up a sheet of music and play anything. At least that makes sense in my head.

text based coding for kids

Which Coding for Kids Course Best for my Child or my Students?

This is actually quite easy to answer. It really depends on their age and or grade in school, their previous exposure to any type of coding, and typing skills. If the child is in elementary school or 11 years or younger, then they probably most likely don’t know how to type yet either and would benefit from code.org or scratch coding programs for initial exposure and to learn some logic. If on the other hand your student or child is 12 years old to 18 years old and can type, then the dragging and dropping will become very boring very quickly and the free coding resources out there is not going to cut it.

Conclusions:

I hope this was explained well enough to a parent, but if you have any questions, please hit us up on chat or email us at support@simplycoding.org or heck even give us a call. We are parents too and totally get it. Simply Coding for kids is all about turning those computer gamers into programmers and coders. Feel free to watch our video series on this here. It will go through 4 short videos of what we exactly do at Simply Coding!

Signing off,

Dustin

Fortnite Bad for Kids: Can It Really Teach a Child to Code to Get a Job

Is Fortnite bad for kids? Can a child that plays Fortnite all day really learn how to code video games and then actually get a job and/or career? I tried to think what I would title this post for the week as I stumbled upon some Fortnite coding ads that I thought were funny. Now I’m a parent and have to admit that I’ve never played Fortnite and probably never will! Actually, my daughter Shay just walked into my office and saw me searching up on google “fortnite” and blurted out, “That’s the lamest game ever! It has a lot of violence!”. She’s obviously our most obedient child. Hahahaha!!!! So I read up a little bit here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fortnite. If you don’t want to read through it then I’ll sum it up for you in my daddy language. MY DEFINITION: Your child basically creates worlds and battle arenas inside the video game and fights other kids till the last man is standing! Which is funny to me because really there is no ending to the game. So there really isn’t a last man standing. I guess that’s how my parent brain once again thinks. Perhaps people can comment below and help me better. fortnite THEIR DEFINITION: Now fast forward to current years and there are actually 3 versions: Fortnite: Save the World is designed as player-versus-environment game, with four players cooperating towards a common objective on various missions. The game is set after a fluke storm appears across Earth, causing 98% of the population to disappear, and the survivors to be attacked by zombie-like “husks”…..From missions, players are awarded a number of in-game items, which include hero characters, weapon and trap schematics, and survivors, all of which can be leveled up through gained experience to improve their attributes. Fortnite Battle Royale is a player-versus-player battle royale game for up to 100 players, allowing one to play alone, in a duo, or in a squad (usually consisting of three or four players). Weaponless players airdrop from a “Battle Bus” that crosses the game’s map. When they land, they must scavenge for weapons, items, resources, and even vehicles while trying to stay alive and attack other players, eliminating them….This forces remaining players into tighter spaces and encourages player encounters. The last player, duo, or squad remaining is the winner. Fortnite Creative is a sandbox game mode where players are given complete freedom to create anything they want on an island, such as battle arenas, race courses, platforming challenges and more. Epic Games reviews some of the most popular creations from Creative and rotate these into the Battle Royale map in an area called “The Block”.[1] Featured creations are also shown in the “Creative Hub.” SOURCE: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fortnite FROM GAMERS TO CODERS… REALLY?  So now that we know what it is…. I want to get back to the Advertisements that I saw online about how Fortnite can help your son or daughter learn how to code. Here is one below: fortniters to coders And here’s another: Fort Nite Careers In this ad it states video game developer, strategic planner, architect, & project manager expert are some of the jobs that you can get by playing the game. However, we know this is just advertising and a hook to really get kids to use the medium of gaming and convert it into real life skills of computer programming and coding. That’s why I love working here at Simply Coding. We have the same philosophy of “Don’t Consume It! Create It!” PROCEED WITH CAUTION Carefule of Video Game AddictionsSo we get back to the question if Fornite is bad for kids. Now obviously, parents we want to be careful with our children and make sure there are not becoming addicted to playing FortNite or other video games. Because too much of one thing is never a good thing. Not sure who said that or who I’m quoting, but it is TRUE! However, I feel that some parents may just go “cold turkey” on the video games with their kids and then actually be depriving them of the actual computer screen time that could very well have led to their talents and gifts God has given them to become the next Microsoft genius or Facebook programmer. CONCLUSIONS: Now I’m not here to tell you what to do with your child. That is not the reason for this post. Plus there are hundreds of debates online that you can find on whether FortNite is good or bad, healthy or unhealthy, etc. etc. Just google, “fortnite bad for kids” and it will come up with 35 million results! Here at Simply Coding for kids we can tell very quickly with in the first 3 months if a child has the ability to become a great coder OR he or she just likes playing video games and learning to code is not his/her thing and should probably pursue something else. That kind of investment of a mere $60 bucks to find out if my child has what it takes is totally worth it in my opinion. This post is going a bit longer than what I wanted. If you want, we actually do a whole video series though on this conflicting guilty feeling of a parent who has a child that plays video games and says they want to design video games for a living. YES this is a real thing! You can check it out here. If anything, it’s very informative and feel free to contact us if you have any questions. We are here to help! It’s our passion to help YOU help YOUR children discover their passions in the technology careers of tomorrow and it’s never too early to start. Trust Me! Till next time. Signing off…

Every Kid Needs Coding – Don’t Be Left Behind

The skill of the future & why every child needs coding

Look around you, computers are everything. I bet you can’t name a job that doesn’t include using a computer – I dare you. It just doesn’t happen. So why not understand learn coding by bill gatesthem? In a recent report, by the year 2020 5 million jobs will be lost to automation. Now, it’s not that you can’t get a job in the future if you don’t know any basic code, but it is saying that it will be very hard to get one of those jobs. Why play Texas hold ’em with 1 card? Instead, choose to play with pocket aces, and learn computer coding. The time is now! kids are creative and smart. They are open to new learning strategies and have the chance to learn a valuable skill right now! “Learning to write programs stretches your mind, helps you think better, creates a way of thinking about things that I think is helpful in all domains.” –Bill Gates

Coding for Kids – Regardless of Profession

Computer developers are not the only people who use code. This is a common misconception. Marketing/Adverting, Public Relations, Sales, Human Resources and many other jobs often ask for applicants to have some background in coding. If you docoding for kidsn’t believe me go to glassdoor.com (or any job search engine) and search for jobs in any of these fields. Under skills, most will ask for a basic knowledge of JavaScript, HTML or CSS. An applicant without any of these skills is instantly placed on the bottom of the list. It isn’t enough to understand social media or to be familiar with just tech. Knowing how to use a computer is not the same as knowing how a computer works. Make sure you stand out for the future.

We give your child a head start

Stop allowing your kids to waste entire summers playing video games and watching YouTube. Give them the chance to learn a new skill while still having fun. With summer camps available all summer long, they can finally start getting familiar with code. Whether they try it for one week or do a whole month, we can help them start understanding code with fun, interactive methods like learning JavaScript through modding Minecraft. We teach kids to understand what the different computer programming languages are and the courses allow them to create using all of them.

computer terms for dummiesALSO….A FREE GIFT for You!

If you haven’t already we are offering our “techie” dictionary. THE “TECHIE” DICTIONARY FOR PARENTS WHO DON’T UNDERSTAND THEIR KIDS’ COMPUTER JARGON. Have you heard your children use words like, Scratch, MMO, Javascript, Minecraft Mods, Github, Raspberry Pi, Arduino, or even Java? Well… we’ve compiled a list of the TOP 70 computer jargon words you absolutely need to know as a parent in this FREE parents guide. Think of it as a “computer terms for dummies” type read, but entertaining! CLAIM IT HERE.  

Don’t Let Your Kids Waste Another Summer! Take Coding Classes This Summer

A summer of learning

Imagine this scenario: a summer where your child plays video games and learns a new valuable skill. Here at Simply Coding, this isn’t just a dream scenario, but a reality. Let’s be honest, it can be challenging to find something in the summer that challenges children while at the same time allows the children to enjoy what they are doing. We understand this, which is why what we are doing is revolutionary. Our summer programs allow your children to not only learn computer coding skills, but let’s them play Minecraft while they learn!

Why it works

We developed our software with the realization that children get a real sense of satisfaction if they relate to what they create. By working through Minecraft, the kids can compare what they create to what they have already experienced. They get excited to see the things that they create in a game that they already know and love. As the children evolve in their coding skills, they enjoy the art of coding itself, unlocking their true creativity.

How does playing a video game teach code

Minecraft, the game, is written in Javascript code. Javascript is one of the three core languages of the world wide web, which means that it is very used and very valuable. By understanding the Minecraft’s code the kids are actually learning to read and manipulate Javascript code. The kids will learn to build websites and write code all with their knowledge that started by learning to make mods in Minecraft.

See for yourself

Our summer programs have gone on for a couple years now. During this time we perfected and fixed our program so that the children learn the necessities of coding, while at the same time enjoy showing up daily to perfect their projects. These lessons encourage the kids to upload everything they do to their own personal portfolio on github.com (just like this). They will be able to show these portfolios to future schools and future employers. To see others games made by real students, go to the student page on the home screen of simplycoding.org and under the student tab, click on code dungeon. Our goal is for these kids to be career ready one day, while enjoying the learning process right now. To learn more about the summer camps, or to reserve a spot, contact us here.  

Social Media Safety

3 Easy Tips to Make Sure Your Kids are Social Media Safe

Whether it be Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook or Twitter, social medias can be really fun way to interact with friends. As much fun as they can be, we need to always remember there are real threats to using these tools. Social Media can be dangerous too. So, how do we protect ourselves, and make sure our kids are protected too? Here are few things you can do to teach your kids about social media safety.

1-Don’t let young kids roam free

First things first, if your child is under the age of 13 make sure all of their accounts and passwords are connected to your device or computer. You should have total access to them. I’m not saying you should log on and read their messages, but you should be able to block or unfollow anyone that you feel could be a danger to them. It’s important to trust your kids, it’s even more important to make sure they are safe. Remember, there are some nasty things on social media, and you never know what is really happening if you don’t have full access to the your children’s accounts. So be smart, don’t allow your kids under 13 to have full and total reign over their accounts.

2-Stay private

This allows only your friends to be able to see what you post. REMEMBER: IF YOU ALLOW PEOPLE https://nakedsecurity.sophos.com/2011/11/17/do-not-track-web-privacy/TO FOLLOW YOU THAT YOU DO NOT KNOW, YOU ARE NO LONGER PRIVATE. Make sure you monitor the people your child allows to follow them. If you don’t k now who they are, ask. Being social media safe, means constant check ups to stay social media safe. If you have any questions on how to make your social media accounts private, this should help.

3-Parody accounts are a wild card

Accounts that are created for memes and other funny internet things are usually accounts trying to build a large following to earn money through ads. Make sure you know what parody accounts your children are following. Once these accounts have a large enough following, they will often post inappropriate content for an easy buck. Don’t fall into the trap of a couple stupid jokes just to put your child in risk of seeing something that they shouldn’t. Remember being social media safe means preventing the problem before you have to deal with the problem. Don’t let social media teach your children about the birds and the bees. We’d love to hear about other ways to protect our kids on social media. Leave us a comment and let us know how you do it! Being social media smart is a joint effort.          

Internet Safety; Is Your Child Safe on the Internet?

6 Tips to Help Parents Understand Proper Internet Safety

The Internet can be a dangerous place. Without the proper precautions, your child’s safety could be at risk. With one click even kids can access things that would give most adults a stomach ache. So how can you make sure that what they are viewing is safe? The best way to combat the dangers of the internet is to know what they are! Your kid’s internet safety should be the number one goal. Here is a list of the best ways to make sure that your children are safe while using the internet . 1. Computer location is key Make sure the computer is located in an area of non-privacy, like the front room or kitchen. This prevents kids from wandering the internet (like clicking random links) without parental supervision. Kid’s internet safety depends much on how daring they are willing to be and they are much less likely to take chances if someone else can see what they are doing. 2. Be a part of their cyberworld Know what types of social medias and forms of entertainment your children are using. Follow their social media accounts and check their posts and the comments on their posts somewhat regularly. Make sure you know who is commenting and liking their photos and posts. If you don’t know who someone is, ASK! 3. Account privacy is most important Teach your kid not to share passwords, even with their best friends. You never know who else will find out. Keeping information private is the best way to say safe on the internet. Teach your kids to logout of computers, even if they are personal or home computers. Also make sure to check your search engine settings. Most search engines allow parental controls that will help narrow the list of possible choices that appear when your children are surfing the internet. 4. Keep up with software Use antiviruses and pop-up blockers. There are plenty of free or pay-for-use pop-up blockers and antiviruses available on the internet. Antiviruses keep your computer safe from bugs and malware. This is just like putting up a fence to keep your toddler in the yard. It’s a precaution if everything else goes wrong. To find that best antivirus for windows, click here. Of the top ten, nine are pay-for-use, however, if you’re budget is tight there is a free one too. Here is a link to the same site but for Mac computers. All on this list are paid, but fear not, here is another link for free mac antiviruses. 5. Don’t just ban, understand One in four children see porn by the age of 12. Try to understand why this is and make sure you stay in constant communication with your children about what they are viewing on the internet. If something goes wrong on the internet, don’t react by blaming your child. Instead, make yourself available for conversation if anything that they stumble on makes them uncomfortable. 6. What is put on the internet stays on the internet Make sure that your kids know that whatever they put on the internet, even if deleted later, is still on the internet. This makes anyone think twice about whatever they think they want to post to the internet. Let us know what you think about this list. If you have another way of keeping your children safe, let us know. Together we can make the internet a child friendly zone! #kidsafeinternet

Test Scores VS Skills Set. What’s Better for Homeschoolers?

I was at lunch with our Founder and President, Seth Iorg a few months ago and we were speaking to a gentleman who works for a highly reputable online charter school. (I won’t mention the name). But he started to tell us about how this notion that “it’s all about test scores (i.e. ACT’s, highschool exams, SAT’s, etc. ) ” is coming to an end. That all these big wigs and prolific school board of directors, associations aren’t even mentioned schools exams anymore. But the phrase they use now is “College and Career Ready”. Helping kids of todays day and age become ready for college and know exactly what they want or need to study OR prepare them for the careers of the future. This had quite the impact on both of us. We then decided to coin the phrase underneath our logo and it has now become our company motto! We want to provide a REAL coding (computer programming) PATHWAY for youth so by the time they turn 16-18 years of age, the child knows where to invest his/her time. Is it to pursue college? Is it to go directly into a career that may not require college. Whatever it may be… the parents will feel confident that their good money is not wasted. Simply Coding, Inc. has been designed around this concept. We put kids in a real coding (html, css, javascript, java, python, etc.) and allow them to create THEIR on portfolios on github of their projects and games to show to future employers, internships, and so much more!  

Top 5 Things Learned at Great Homeschool Convention

Just got back about a week ago from our first Great Homeschool Convention. It was a great time meeting all the wonderful parents there that passed by our booth and to see their passion they have for their kids. What great Great Homeschool Conventionchristian beliefs and friendly people. We learned a few things on our adventure:
  1. WE LEARNED parents want family discounts for our online coding pathways for youth. UPDATE: We have now implemented this and you can add family members to your regular monthly membership and you can always downgrade later if one of the kids don’t like the computer programming kind of thing.
  2. WE LEARNED that homeschool parents are awesome and really care about the skills that their children will learn.
  3. WE LEARNED that every child needs coding! The more and more we think about it, Level ONE is such a must-have for any type of job/career. We looked on monster.com and couldn’t believe the requirements of random jobs that want to see html, css, javascript on the resume!
  4.  WE LEARNED that age is not a great indicator of whether a child is ready to do computer programming or not, but that “typing” is the key component! If your child can Nitrotype 15 words per minute, then he/she will have a good experience learning coding. Usually this is around age 10 if that helps!
  5. WE LEARNED that Twix was the preferred chocolate at our booth, and Baby Ruth came in dead last!
To Your Child’s Success, Dustin