Friday, 23 June 2017

In the last few years loads of awesome beginner microprocessor boards have appeared on the market. There are loads of choices for getting kids started with programming hardware and physical computing. We love this stuff! It enables kids to learn useful tech skills and also useful design skills as they make gadgets that make sense to them.

Beginner microcontroller or microprocessor boards can be used to create custom wearables and electronic gadgets. The often include inputs, outputs and sensors on the board or make it really easy to plug them in. This removes a lot of the complexity of soldering or working with a tangle of wires on a breadboard. The focus is much more on what you can do with the device.

We've tried lots of these boards now so it's time for a roundup so you can pick the best board for your child or their next project.

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

The micro:bit mini computer has launched in the US and Canada! Fantastic. We're in the UK and have been using the micro:bit a lot but we know the majority of our readers are actually in the US.

Kickstarter Gold is an initiative to invite the platform's most innovative and creative campaigners back to showcase their work with exclusive awards. Some cool kid tech campaigns have made the cut including 3Doodler, Timbuktu with "Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls" and Cubetto.

The campaign runs until the 31 July with over 50 projects launching over the coming weeks.

Cubetto launched two new playsets - Polar Expedition and Swarmy Swamp - with the Kickstarter Gold campaign.

Tuesday, 20 June 2017 One is a programmable AI robot. We don't write about all the home assistant / companion robots as there are so many! But One is a bit different. It's designed as a platform for developers, makers and kids to experiment with to design the next generation of AI companions. That's our kind of robot.

We've been following the development of the Sony KOOV coding and robotics kit for kids. Now they've launched a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo to make the product available in the US.

Monday, 19 June 2017

I've been working with 3D modeling and children for a few years and recently the tools have really come together to give a fantastic tool-chain for beginners to go from an idea to a 3D printed model. There are lots of tools out there, but I've now got a core tool-chain and workflow that I use with kids for most projects.

There are lots of other awesome tools out there that I use for specific tasks, but the ones in this post are my go to tools.

In a world where technology is constantly changing with more functionality to grasp, we can get stuck in a mindset of only ever learning how to use the technology. We like to think there is a lot of value in mastering a piece of tech, so that your focus shifts from learning how it works to what you can do with it.

The best way to learn this skill is to take a simple piece of tech, that you can use in a variety of different ways. When you know how the tech works, you can expand your thinking to get creative and think outside the box.

The Bee-Bot Electro Mat voice recorder is a great example of simple tech that can be used in different ways. At Tech Age Kids, we've used this piece of tech to explore creative and design thinking to make different things with the same tech. We like getting crafty with tech!