NEWS$show=/search/label/news

Here's where you'll find all the latest news about technology for children. We love to follow cool new inventions on Kickstarter and we hunt out all the latest announcements about tech toys and gadgets for the coming Christmas holidays. You'll also get our take on children's technology stories in the media.

REVIEWS$show=/search/label/review

Our kids technology product reviews are intended to help you work out whether a toy, gadget or kit is a good fit for your child or family. There's lots of cool stuff available, but is it the right choice for the child or teenager that you are buying for? We'll help you make the right choices and get the best value for money.

GIFT GUIDES$show=/search/label/gift%20guide

Parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and friends assemble. We create gift lists to help you make good choices for kids technology which helps them develop the right skills for the future. We research the best in Coding Toys and Games, Making / Craft Tools and Kits, STEM/STEAM related gifts, Programmable Robots, Electronics Kits and Gadgets for Tech Age Kids and Teens.

PROJECTS$show=/search/label/project

Get crafty with technology. Here we'll post all our ideas and projects using technology to get creative and making with kids. You'll find anything from making a lemon battery to a glow-in-the-dark Minecraft sword. Our projects are tried and tested on our own kids or at events we run, so we are sure you can have a go at home with your kids. Some of our projects use specific tech gadgets which we provide links for you to purchase.

STEM$show=/search/label/stem

STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. In recent years there is an increased focus in these areas of study. We like to include Art and Design too, so we often talk about STEAM (A stands for Art). At Tech Age Kids we believe Coding is a new literacy and children need to understand how technology works, practice making skills and grow in their curiosity to make a better future for us all.

CODING$show=/search/label/coding

Coding is increasingly being recognised as an important skill for children to learn. Some will learn to code at school or at a coding club, but it's brilliant if they get support at home too.

ELECTRONICS$show=/search/label/electronics

We think it's really important for kids to get hands-on with electronics and learn how to make circuits and write code to control hardware. Younger kids can start with conductive playdough. For kids who like to combine craft and tech, littleBits are fab. And we love SAM Labs wireless electronics components for making it easy for kids to make Internet of Things inventions. Lots of electronics kits for kids have support for the Arduino microprocessor environment. The DuinoKit Jr is one of our favourites. Arduino is a fab skill for older kids and teens to develop.

ROBOTICS$show=/search/label/robotics

We love robots at Tech Age Kids, especially programmable ones. We've got lots of them and write reviews and projects that use them. Our programmable robots for kids buying guide is a good place to start if you're not sure what's available. Roby the mBot Meccano robot dog is one of our popular projects and has been with us to lots of events. Our Ozobot LEGO trailer is fab for kids who love LEGO and robots.

MAKING AND CRAFT$show=/search/label/making

We're advocates of the creative use of technology, but this needs to be balanced with developing physical skills such as papercraft, woodwork, clay modelling, technical drawing and soldering. If children don't develop these skills as they grow up then physical making projects can become frustrating rather than fun. The Maker Community uses the term 'making' as a broad term to include all sorts of artisan skills or craft activities. Being able to make things can lead to life-long hobbies or even careers. It's a great feeling to be able to take a project from an idea in your head to a real object that does something. We're particularly interested to explore products that combine maker skills with tech skills such as electronics but others focus purely on the physical making skills that are still important to modern making.

Google Coder Web Coding for Raspberry Pi

Google have announced Coder, a self contained development environment for the web that runs on a Raspberry Pi and which looks like a great tool for kids and teens.

Coder uses HTML, CSS and Javascript - the building blocks of the web. This is an excellent route for young coders to take. Scratch is great for kids' very first programs but I think using these tools for web development is an excellent next step.

Just HTML with CSS is actually a great way to develop some basic programming skills in a child-friendly way. HTML is the language that web pages are written in and allows you to structure a page with headings, paragraphs, etc. CSS then allows you to say what those elements should look like.

Javascript allows you to add more intelligence to web pages so you can write a quiz, a game, a drawing app or anything else you can come up with.

These are the technologies that much of the web runs on, and increasingly the technology set that a lot of apps will be developed with. They happen to be my preferred technologies to work with so it's definitely the path we'll be taking with our kids. 

There are lots of educational materials around for these technologies and there are jobs that require these skills.

Web technologies can have a bit of a getting started problem if you're completely new. Coder nicely fills that spot by pulling the tools together and providing an environment with a web server to run code on. And the fact that it runs on a Raspberry Pi is very cool. (We have a couple of Raspberry Pis.)

Here's the video that explains the idea behind Coder.


To get started with Coder you'll need a Raspberry Pi with an SD card, power supply. Hopefully you already have a spare mouse, keyboard and display that you can use. Oh and a Wifi dongle is handy too, as is a USB hub.

Note that when they say "a little download" in the video that's not really true. It's over 1GB and will take a while to download, so make sure you're prepared for that and don't have an impatient child expecting to be up and running instantly.

Coder runs in the Chrome web browser which makes things very straightforward. You develop and test in the same place. (I'm a fan of the Cloud9 web IDE which takes the same approach for professional development.)

You might wonder why Google have targeted the Raspberry Pi rather than providing a cloud-based service. Personally I think this is a good move. Whenever you have an online service for kids you hit all the regulations like COPPA. Of course the regs are there to protect kids but they can be a real pain when you want to get access to dev tools for them.

Scratch seem to manage to provide an online community for coder kids, but Google tend to put age restrictions on their services. For example children need be be at least 13 to use Google Documents and Drive. Well I really don't want to have to wait until my sons are 13 to teach them Word processing! I use Google docs and have no interest in teaching them MS products or other less mainstream tools. (Yes, I'm aware there's a schools program, but not at my kids' school.)

I'm very glad that Google have made Coder available in this way so it can be used at home behind a firewall without hitting those issues. It also make it easier for schools to make use of the tools without having to sign kids up for online accounts.

Definitely a good addition to the children's coding toolkit.


Download: Google Coder
Name

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Tech Age Kids | Technology for Children: Google Coder Web Coding for Raspberry Pi
Google Coder Web Coding for Raspberry Pi
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Tech Age Kids | Technology for Children
https://www.techagekids.com/2013/09/google-coder-web-coding-for-raspberry-pi.html
https://www.techagekids.com/
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