Top 5 Ways Kids Can Learn About Robotics

Robotics is one of the most perspective and most exciting disciplines one can learn. Not only does it open doors to many possibilities, but it also develops logical and practical thinking and paves the way for a successful career.
While children generally have an affection to all moving things that shine, it’s essential to introduce them to robotics the right way, so they learn how to build their knowledge and stay consistent in their choice gradually.
Fortunately, we’ve prepared a list of ways to help you introduce them to this beautiful discipline and help them develop an interest in such a career.

1. Collaborative workshops

Robotics communities are thriving all over the country, with many cooperative clubs and seminars opening up in many places. They are usually hosted by enthusiasts seeking to combine their knowledge and efforts to improve their designs.
They know their stuff inside and out, and they are also open to newcomers be being willing to share their vast knowledge with them. They’re usually called Makerspace workshops. So try searching online for them and see if there’s one in your neighborhood or city.

2. After-school courses

Any good school will have some after-school session in robotics which children can attend after their classes. Ask around and see if there’s a possibility to sign up. At iCode, the approach to robotics is to ensure students gain a thorough understanding of the science behind the technology.
Make sure to speak with the leading teacher, as it’s vital to choose a tutor who knows how to motivate children while giving them the appropriate knowledge and skills.

3. Libraries and Institutes

The time when libraries only served for lending books is over. Modern libraries have become interactive institutions, offering insight from all sorts of areas. One of them is robotics. Although not that common, most libraries these days have some robotics workshop or can give you contacts to people who host them.
Make sure to check with your local or nearby library if they host any workshops, or if they know where to find one.

4. Give it a go with a Raspberry Pi or Arduino

Once considered exotic; handheld single-board computers have become an everyday item, perfect for robotics and all sorts of other hardware enthusiasts. There are many variations out there, but two stand out as the most popular and most useful.
Raspberry Pi is a family of single-computers developed by a group of enthusiasts with the core idea of promoting computer science in schools and bringing coding closer to ordinary people. With a price of just $60, it’s a powerful and versatile device which can be programmed in any way and connected to all sorts of systems, making it a perfect platform for experimentation.
Coming in at second place is Arduino, a series of microcontrollers which can be utilized for building and handling complex hardware systems. Standing at just $20 per piece, it’s a wise investment for those looking to build their systems, or experiment with coding.

5. Take on a challenge

Now that your children have the necessary knowledge and tools to start their first robotics projects, it’s time to crank things up by joining a challenge. This kind of activity is perhaps the best way to learn and perfect their skills, as it will teach them not only to improvise but also learn from their mistakes, which is essential in building their career.
There are many robotics challenges hosted annually, both state and countrywide, so check online to see which one is nearest and best for you.
By gradually introducing your children to robotics and finding the best experts and tutorials to teach them, you will send your kids on a beautiful and inspiring journey which will not only lead them to a successful career but also show them some valuable skills that will help them throughout their lives.
To enroll your child in iCode’s robotics camps or computer science classes, visit us at www.icodeschool.com.

Benefits of Learning Coding at a Young Age

When someone mentions the word ‘coding,’ most people immediately think of either World War II message-intercepting machines and their operators, or a heavily bespectacled younger gentleman typing endless streams of 0’s and 1’s into a computer with a black ‘n’ green screen.
Whatever the first thing that springs to your mind, one thing is sure- for the vast majority of people, coding appears to be on par with nuclear science, and only suited for knowledgeable people who got their knowledge and skills from God knows where! (Aliens possibly!)
In actuality, however, coding, while quite complicated at times, is a way of communicating with a machine- in many ways similar to a human writing script and virtually anyone can learn it.
It’s made up of a finite set of rules and commands, and once you master them all, you can control a machine in any way you want!
Now, in the brave new world we live in, coding has become a new form of literacy, and the way the technology is progressing, understanding how machines work and how to ‘communicate’ with them is going to be the new norm in future education!
As intimidating as it sounds at first, coding can be taught at an early age, so by signing up your child for a summer course or a school with a curriculum that includes coding can be a great way to set it up for future education!
In this article, we’ll discuss why learning coding at a young age can benefit your child.
Alright, here’s the deal!
So, what is Coding in the first place?
Responsible for bringing machines, websites, and applications to life, coding represents the act of issuing commands written in a programming language to achieve a specific result.
Most everything you’ve seen on your desktop screen, a laptop or on an iPhone has been programmed by writing code sheets. In fact, you can read this very article thanks to a coded platform which enables a written document to be displayed as a cohesive stream of letters, punctuation signs, and numbers!
For example, the capital letter ‘Q’ is represented as ’81’ in HTML ASCII code!
Why Should Kids Learn How to Code?

  • Coding develops problem-solving skills – Writing code into a platform to make something ‘come to life’ is a fairly high-precision craft. Through trial and error, a child will learn how to make something work and then even fix it if it fails along the way!
  • It makes them gritty – Dealing with a task that can go wrong if you type in a dot or a comma in the wrong spot makes for a pretty challenging experience at times. By learning how to identify and fix their own mistakes, kids develop grit, and that’s always a valuable life skill, no matter what their future profession will be!
  • Gives them better job opportunities in the future – For all intents and purposes, programming (and with it inevitably coding) is becoming increasingly popular and will be even more so in the future!

Bottom line, learning how to code doesn’t happen overnight. So, considering that the future has plenty of programming and technology for our children and us, having them to get acquainted with this subject matter while they’re still young. It is possibly the best way to give them an upper hand in education and finding a well-paying job!

How Can STEM Shape Your Child’s Future?

Whether you’re trying to do something as simple as sending a message to a friend or perform a more advanced activity such as editing a video, using technology is inevitably going to be a part of the process. Unless you fancy sending smoke signals, that is. (Not for the video editing, though, that probably won’t work.)
Technology, in general, has become an integral part of everyday life and while it may appear quite incredible to think that it will grow even more prominent in the future, this is likely where we’re heading.
Now, this somewhat amusing prospect raises an interesting question- what will jobs and markets look like in the future and how do we prepare for a more advanced, tech-savvy world of the tomorrow?
Well, at least when education is in question, there’s been a massive shift lately toward technology-oriented curriculums, and many schools are starting to adopt a brand new way of educating children- STEM!
In this article, we’ll explain what STEM is in the first place and how it can be used to improve your child’s prospects for future education and chances of finding a well-paying job!
Right then, let’s dive straight into the heart of the matter.
What is STEM?
STEM is an abbreviation that stands for four key disciplines that will become very popular in the future. (They already are now!) These would be the following:

  • Science
  • Technology
  • Engineering
  • Mathematics

Generally speaking, the goal of STEM education is to incorporate these four fields into a unique curriculum which would concentrate on teaching children how to solve problems using the knowledge and skills relevant to these four areas.
The main idea is to teach kids through examples and make them understand how various gadgets work on a deep level. The result is they will be able to approach resolving problems and coming up with new solutions more creatively and intuitively!
How Can STEM education Benefit Your Children

  • It encourages innovation – Getting to understand how various devices and gadgets work early on can have some benefits for a child’s future undertakings regarding technology. Similarly to how we never forget how to ride a bicycle having learned it at a young age, children who become tech-savvy can come up with innovative solutions later on, that were previously thought impossible!
  • It’s excellent preparation for college – If your goal is to enroll your child into a school that would prepare him or her for college in the best possible way, you should consider an education institution with a STEM-based curriculum. STEM education seeks to equip children with necessary skills in the four disciplines as mentioned above, so they’ll have a stable platform for a wide variety of subjects later on!
  • Increases the chances of them landing well-paying jobs – Technology and science-related professions are traditionally well-paid and sought after on the market. With STEM education under their belt, your kids will have a much better chance of finding a job that will be interesting AND pay well! (Even if they don’t go to college!)

Technology is going to be even more popular in the future than it is today by the looks of things. Preparing your children appropriately through well-rounded and tech-based education is a great way to set them up for success! Your turn now!

STEM Education: What Is It and Why Is It Important?

In this day and age, it’d be hard to find a spot on Earth where modern technology hasn’t managed to assert itself as an integral part of everyday life.
Whether it’s several stories high nuclear-powered warships, or those food preservation containers that lock your cookies away for a specified period lest you give in to the temptation, plucky devices full of sophisticated electronics and circuits are everywhere around us!
It’s a brave new world, really, and to be one step ahead of it in the future, we need to teach our kids how to control, operate, and then even make some of these mighty contraptions.
It may sound far-fetched, but the exciting thing is- it’s already happening! STEM education represents one of the first steps in preparing our children to take on the future, no-doubt, technology-filled world with an air of confidence and a sufficiently-developed set o’ mean skills!
In this article, we’ll describe STEM education and explain why it’d be essential to consider it when it comes to choosing the educational direction for your kids.
Let’s take a closer look, shall we?
What is STEM Education?
The word STEM does not represent just a clever name to pitch the new education platform to curious parents. In fact, STEM is an abbreviation, and it stands for four particular scientific fields that are the most represented in the world of high technology. These are:

  • Science
  • Technology
  • Engineering
  • Mathematics

Now, this does not mean that a STEM education program will have a student merely attend some classes in these four subjects, proceed to study from a fat ole textbook, and then take an exam.
Instead, a STEM-based education encompasses a dynamic learning environment where these four subjects are explored by working with real-life examples. For instance, ‘disembowelling’ a laser printer may be the topic of one of the classes!
Benefits of STEM Education

  • Problem-Solving Skills – Working with high-tech devices means understanding what makes them tick. So when they do break down, bringing them back to the operational state will make a child think before it acts.

Experiences acquired by setting a faulty piece of equipment back on track can be valuable for developing critical thinking and a problem-solving mindset!

  • Encourages Creativity – Organizing your assets around a problem and then tackling it head on afterward is a procedure that surely demands a fair share of creativity. Whether it’s coming up with a new and exciting design for a 3D printing project or finding a solution when the rest of the team hits a brick wall, STEM education provides a child with a toolset that will enable it to unleash its creativity to the fullest extent!

 

  • Creates an Advantage for Future Careers – The world of tomorrow is the world of technology. Soon, an increasing number of jobs will revolve around handling robots, providing cyber security and performing maintenance on various high-tech contraptions. In respect to this, STEM education is the best possible way for ensuring that your child will have a sound platform for further education and job search!

Bottom line, as technology starts making its way into more businesses and different areas of our life, becoming acquainted with it and understanding how it works early on, undoubtedly represents a massive advantage for a child’s future.
STEM education can help your child unleash its creativity, learn more about the new technologically-based world, and possibly have an easier time finding a job in the future!

Learning Computer Science This Summer

As of recently, there’s been a new saying circulating on the Internet that goes something like- ‘If you’re not on Facebook, it’s as though you’re not alive at all!’

Fairly cheeky, for sure, but it also signifies a rather important shift that’s happening before our very eyes- the one towards all things electronic, digital, and otherwise online-based! Just as our social presence is becoming increasingly more prominent online than offline these days, a host of other aspects of everyday life seem to be hell-bent on going digital- and it’s going to happen sooner rather than later, by the looks of things.

Most notably, education- one of the most important processes in anyone’s development (especially a child’s), has also been seeing some rather radical changes recently. Namely, both parents and schools are starting to recognize the role that technology is going to play in the near future, so a new breed of educational facilities is springing up to take the challenge head on! At iCode, we believe that our children should be taught to be technologically literate early on so that once they reach the age of higher education or employment, they can call the shots rather than feel left out and unable to cope with the new times.

Presenting our full range of summer courses!

We’ve got computers, robots, drones, 3D printers- you name it. Also, we’ll be developing video games, producing breathtaking digital art and exploring the exciting world of microcomputers!

The goal of our course is to teach your kids the basic coding, design and acquaint them with the intricate ways in which the high-tech gadgets we own work. The summer courses we offer represent a fun and engaging way to present our main curriculum and introduce your kids to the exciting world of technology!
Other than playing with their peers and learning about the curious way of high-tech contraptions, our summer courses will help your kids develop a special set of skills that can be valuable for their future education.

Here are some of the areas where great progress can be made:
● Math Savviness – Since the brains and ‘bowels’ of any given technical apparatus are made based on mathematical principles, getting acquainted with the way these machines work early on can help your child understand math in a more natural and intuitive way!

● Creativity – Art can be created in a number of ways, and nowadays, the opportunities for making incredible pictures, melodies, and films using digital means are more abundant than ever. With our course, your child can unleash his or her full creative force and learn how to express themselves in a new and exciting fashion!

● Problem-Solving Skills – The beauty of modern technology is the connection between its simple nature (Remember the binary code made up of just 0’s and 1’s?) and the positively incredible results that can be achieved based on it. By using various appliances on a regular basis and fixing them if they stop working, your child will develop problem-solving skills that can translate to any life situation!

Technology’s come along way, and we at iCode seek to teach our kids to conquer it early on so that they can further it even more in the future. We invite you to check out courses and start building your child’s future today!

To Hack or Not to Hack?

In today’s society, more and more opportunities are becoming available for careers in computer science. The demand for young talent in these fields is steadily growing as corporations become aware of the potential of the new generation. Fields such as cybersecurity, cloud computing, and Internet of Things rapidly expanding and present great career opportunities for those who specialize in those fields. Despite the growing need for able-minded technicians in these areas, public school systems are doing little to encourage or compensate.
Many students struggle in the areas of mathematics and science, and those that excel in those subjects are not often given ample room for growth. In addition, many schools do not offer many classes for engineering or technology, especially primary and secondary schools. The education industry is slowly starting to catch up, but it will be many years before well-developed curriculums centered around STEM are widely used. However, there are many other ways for young students to get involved with STEM.
Hackathons, sometimes called hacks for short, are a great way for anyone to build and learn new things. In a hackathon, teams of two to five people put their heads together to design and build a solution to a predefined real-world problem. Both inexperienced and experienced participants work together in a friendly, competitive environment to exercise all aspects of STEM. Usually, there are experienced mentors who have strong backgrounds in a STEM career to help refine the projects and provide positive criticism.
Anyone who participates is guaranteed to learn new things, and winning a hack looks great on a résumé. The winners of the competitions are also awarded with internship opportunities among other things. When I participated in my first hackathon, I worked with people I had not known previously to build a device designed to optimize waste management. I had no experience going in, however I was able to work with a team of some very talented entrepreneurs to combine our ideas, and we ended up winning 2nd place. iCodeHack 2017 http://icodeinc.com/news/tabid/194/post/917/competition-heats-up-in-frisco-for-weekend-ihack-event is a great example of a hack which was created for elementary, middle and high school students.
No matter how much experience one has with STEM, participating in hackathons are a great way to broaden one’s horizons and acquire the skill set needed to work in a field of Computer Science.
Eric Krekeler
Lead Lab Mentor, iCode

Who is Pahlka?

If you’ve ever visited iCode, you’ve probably wandered into our labs and seen the titles given to each one of them. Gates Lab, Zuckerberg Lab, and Pahlka lab. Wait, the Pahlka lab? Who is she? We all know who Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg are, but who is Jennifer Pahlka?
Jennifer Pahlka, and I am quoting the Huffington Post, is “a game changer”. Regarded as the founder and executive director of the nonprofit Code for America, she has sought to create revolution in the relationship between government and technology. As a non-profit organization, Code for America has inspired innovation and creativity through the form of civic hacking, in which hundreds of individuals contribute to improving the quality of their local governments and regions through the use of technology and partnership with the regional government.
Jennifer came up with this idea in 2009, and has worked to not only improve the quality and ability of government through technology, but also that individuals increase their involvement with their local government so that everyone can benefit. She has pursued a field in which improvement and benefit are the only fruits, and she has opened the gate for various other individuals and companies to pursue such endeavors.
We honor her and her achievements at iCode, because even though she might not be as recognized as Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg, she shares the same ideology of using technology to benefit humanity.
Farhan Ali
iCode Mentor

Mentors On The Rise!

Many parents and friends often ask me, “What exactly is your purpose at iCode? What do you do as a lab mentor?” That question has served to stump me more often than not because though it is such a simple question, the implications behind the answer delve far deeper than what is merely on the surface.
Yes, as lab mentors it is indeed our responsibility to be tutors for students in the labs and make sure that all the labs are neat and tidy for visitors. It is also our duty to represent iCode in a professional and respectable manner for our students and future potential students in order to keep iCode’s well-respected image consistent. But beyond that, our purpose here at iCode extends into the personal realm that fosters our communication and social skills. As a lab mentor, it is our responsibility to ensure that we are a safety net for the students to assure them they are not alone in what they pursue and that we will be behind their back to provide assistance. On the other hand though, we teach them the importance of independence and perseverance in order to prevent them from depending on us.
We are here to foster the student’s imagination and encourage them to make use of their fullest potential because we know that they are all capable of becoming future successful individuals. We are here to push them through the most difficult times and encourage them to collaborate in order to highlight the importance of teamwork and asking questions. Essentially, a lab mentor here at iCode is a model for students for what they aspire to be when they grow up, motivated and enlightened young individuals who hope to pave the path for a new and brighter future

Why Do All Roads Lead to Java

More and more job openings in the technology sector, it’s important to understand the importance of programming languages, like Java, why it’s important to learn it and steps that should be taken to make it easier to learn. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports the increase in IT jobs by the year 2020 will be at a staggering 49% compared to other industries growth at 22%. With this data it has become obvious where the job market is heading. Increasingly jobs will be opening in areas of robotics, drones and IOT (internet of things).

• Java has been around for many years and has become the industry standard for programming languages. It has been tested, tried and perfected. With java it’s hard to find search engines with coding problems. Java has wealth of Application Programming Interface or API, and as a language, you can do so much more with it than most other languages.

• By learning Object Oriented Programming, (OOP) it’s easier to learn Java. Understanding design patterns can lead to a better code which is sustainable. Because of the strong, Integrated Development Environment or IDE’s, it’s easier to identify problems and mistakes in the code. Those IDE’s help format your code with ease.

• Java has become the industry standard, Android apps are also written in java. By learning Java, android app development becomes easier, fun and creative.

For most, it takes years to learn, but for the student of today, it’s made easier with the curriculum which is developed especially for Java.

Competition Heats Up in Frisco for Weekend iHack Event

Frisco is known as a hotbed for youth sports.

This weekend, hundreds of kids will converge on the city for a different kind of competition.

iHack is a Frisco company’s creation and in just its second year, it’s already growing exponentially.

Abid Abedi is the co-founder of iCode, which is home to iHack. He’s excited about the event’s success.

“Last year, the first hackathon had about 223 kids show up,” said Abedi. “This year, we are expecting about 300 to 400 kids.”

They’re elementary to middle school students, and this competition gives them the venue to display their computing and problem solving skills. Individuals and teams are given different tasks, and problems to solve and their results are judged before winners are named.

“Last year, one of the kids came up with a solution for how to stop internet bullying,” said Abedi. “That’s an example of how when kids come together they can solve real world problems.”

Julianna Bishnyakova is a nine year old student working at iCode on a project that is helping her prepare for the competition: She’s making a robotic hand.

“It’s a working hand, and you press on these which are touch sensors and, um, the fingers go up,” Bishnyakova said. “We just made these out of like sticks.”

Ben Stafford was a winner at last year’s iHack. He said he had an open mind to programming, adding “I just am a big fan it’s just an open door and I went through it.”

“I had lots of fun at the hack and I’m looking forward to this year hopefully we’ll do the same thing as last year and win,” he said.

The competition is this Saturday and there are still spots available if you know any kids who might be interested.

http://www.nbcdfw.com/news/tech/Hacking-for-the-Future-417442223.html