These aren’t the droids you’re looking for.

What do you see when you look at small children these days? Phones.. tablets..  it seems like nearly every parent’s immediate reaction to a fit or tantrum, which go figure – induces future tantrums. Fortunately, this isn’t the way my family operates as I would rather my children learn to cope without digital vices. The point I’m getting at here is that kids are inundated with electronics from the moment they can swipe and pinch, and I think that’s an issue we as a society need to address.

What we’re building is a generation of consumers.

I stumbled across this TED talk the other day which I have shared with a few, but it really struck a cord with me so I figured I’d post it here.

Give it a watch:

This really made me think about my childrens’ potential; particularly my oldest daughter who adores reading and writing about all sorts of fantasy worlds.

Now as an IT professional and nerd extraordinaire, I have dabbled with teaching my kids about various computer concepts, yet it always felt like I was forcing them to receive a lecture (I was). What I seemed to be missing, which this talk made glaringly obvious, is that I was teaching it from my perspective instead of letting them explore their own. After watching this video I was inspired to see how they felt about technology. How do they think it works? Do they think it’s magic?

Well, it turns out my lessons had some merit and they had a pretty good grip on things.

I went to the Hello Ruby website and printed out a few of the exercises –

Alayna's computer theory

Usually, my daughter would tire very quickly of my lectures, but when I let her explore this on her own, she spent a good 20 minutes thinking about and drawing her ideas. Not only did she invest more time, but as you can see it also made her happy, so it certainly felt like a milestone.

Since this little project seemed to work, I decided to take it a step further, and after a little research purchased a Kano computer kit.

This computer kit is as simple as legos and allows them to begin coding on their own within minutes, and without accidentally restarting my computer and crushing my unsaved documents (in notepad, who the hell uses notepad?) Yeah that happened… My plan is to be as hands off as possible and let them explore and learn in their own way, at their own leisure.

My hope is that my kids can begin to become more than consumers, and begin to manipulate the world around them in ways they have yet to discover. I will update with progress as they move along!

Until next time, this is a place for my brain.

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