5 Resources For Tech Savvy Creators Young & Old
As new technologies continue to emerge, they provide inventors, artists, and creative people of all ages with new ways to innovate and express themselves. Whether you're looking for a way to introduce your children to coding at an early age or trying to learn more about electronics as an adult, there's sure to be something on this list that suits your needs. This video was made with Ezvid Wikimaker.
Organizations & Individuals Helping People Learn About Technology
|Offers tools, gifts, and online learning resources for those interested in creating electronics and software
|Creates kits that enable young children to assemble and program their own robots
|Little Robot Friends
|Makes toys designed to spark children's curiosity and encourage them to experiment with coding
|Engineer, researcher, and educator dedicated to helping people use technology to improve their lives
|National Academy of Inventors
|Network of academic and non-profit research institutions dedicated to encouraging innovations that benefit humanity
5 Popular Programming Languages
Tips For Teaching Kids
- Find material that will give them the right level of challenge
- Study up on the subject yourself
- Use games and toys to stimulate their natural curiosity
- Stay positive and give encouragement
- Empathize with them when they're having a hard time
Does The Internet Threaten Creativity Or Nurture It?
As access to technological tools becomes ever more widespread, opportunities for innovation and discovery are multiplying as well. Recognizing the enormous potential for breakthroughs that benefit humanity, those with the necessary expertise are working to help others make effective use of emerging technologies. In no particular order, here are five individuals, companies, and groups seeking to encourage and empower creative invention, among people of all ages.
Leading off at #1 is Adafruit, which offers tools, gifts, and online learning resources, for those interested in creating electronics and software. It is a completely woman owned company operating out of New York City, created by acclaimed MIT hacker and engineer Limor Fried, widely known as Ladyada. Their creative team has produced numerous unique products, such as the Adafruit Feather line of development-friendly circuit boards and accessories, or the CRICKIT kits for fun and easy construction of controllers for robotics.
The web pages for Adafruit's products include links to helpful guides detailing their use, often including example projects to give creators a source of inspiration. Their main site also houses an enormous library of tutorials and circuit diagrams, describing how to make amusing devices or carry out various functions, using the platforms the company offers. These include introductory overviews of essential tools for engineering, and even a series designed to explain fundamental concepts in electronics to children.
These include introductory overviews of essential tools for engineering, and even a series designed to explain fundamental concepts in electronics to children.
Next up is #2, KinderLab Robotics, a company creating kits that enable young children to assemble and program their own robots. It was created to build on the pioneering research of professor Marina Umaschi Bers, of Tufts University, who demonstrated the striking potential of early childhood as a time to absorb concepts in programming and engineering. Their award-winning KIBO product line uses blocks that correspond to simple commands for the toy, which can be assembled into sequences driving complex behavior, giving kids a truly hands-on coding experience.
KinderLab provides resources for educators looking to make use of their products for young learners, from lesson plans for individual activities, to a comprehensive sixty-hour curriculum teaching robotics, coding, and computational thinking. They also offer training programs to familiarize teachers with the classroom possibilities of the KIBO platform. Extension modules, available through their website, expand the robot's functionality. Options include marker-holding arms for drawing, or a device for sound recording and playback. And the company's blog shares news and ideas about programming and engineering in early childhood education.
Entry #3 is Little Robot Friends, which creates toys designed to spark children's curiosity, and encourage them to experiment with coding. Started by a husband and wife team with over a decade of experience making interactive educational exhibits, the company believes in the value of fun as a gateway to learning. Their programmable robots have easily visible components, so that users can see how the hardware fits together, and their Paperbot Kits allow kids to assemble and decorate their own devices.
Started by a husband and wife team with over a decade of experience making interactive educational exhibits, the company believes in the value of fun as a gateway to learning.
The Little Robot Friends customization app uses clear visual elements to help young users learn basic programming logic, and input simple instructions. As their abilities advance, they can move on to the LRF Blocks platform to create more complex behavioral commands, and eventually to coding in the C and C++ languages using the Arduino environment. In addition to their online guides, the company offers instructional workshops, teaching STEM skills to children in classrooms, day camps, and even birthday parties. They also provide tools and lesson plans for educators.
#4 in our overview is Jeremy Blum, an engineer, researcher, and educator dedicated to helping people use technology to improve their lives. He is the co-founder of Cornell University Sustainable Design, a student-led initiative creating resilient, affordable, and ecologically responsible building concepts. He also helped to launch Sunn, a startup developing smart lighting for circadian health. Committed to enabling ongoing innovation, he releases much of his work under open-source licensing; one notable example is the research for his force sensor-controlled prosthetic hand design.
Blum is a frequent keynote speaker and podcast guest, sharing thoughts on design philosophy and innovation for a variety of audiences. His website hosts numerous tutorials on innovative applications of hardware tools like the popular Raspberry Pi single-board computer. His blog offers insights into his ongoing projects, letting readers see his creative process as it unfolds, and he is the author of Exploring Arduino, a detailed look at programming strategies for the well-known electronics coding platform.
His blog offers insights into his ongoing projects, letting readers see his creative process as it unfolds, and he is the author of Exploring Arduino, a detailed look at programming strategies for the well-known electronics coding platform.
Capping off the list is #5, the National Academy of Inventors, a network of academic and non-profit research institutions dedicated to encouraging innovations that benefit humanity. It was created in 2009 by a Senior Vice President at the University of South Florida, who wanted to highlight the important work being done by academic scientists, and foster recognition of those who bring groundbreaking technologies to the market; today it incorporates thousands of member organizations around the world, helping to create revolutionary advances in science.
Each year the NAI Fellows Program spotlights outstanding achievers working within their member institutions, honoring those who have shown a spirit of innovation throughout their careers. The organization also offers mentoring opportunities through the Global Academic Inventors Network, pairing up-and-coming researchers with experienced advisers. The Academy's Annual Meeting provides an opportunity for colleagues from across disciplines to connect and exchange ideas, and its journal serves as a forum for discussion of news, concepts, and breakthroughs in the applied sciences.