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.

How to Master Tech with Electro Mat Voice Recorders


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!

(OK, so we selected the Electro Mat, because we have a job lot of the units as they are no longer being manufactured. But that is beside the point!)

Original Purpose of Electro Mats

The Bee-Bot Electro Mats is an add-on voice recorder device that works with the "old-style" Bee-Bots. In the kit you get 4 black plastic boards, a magnetic battery door to fit on the Bee-Bot and a voice recorder with 4 sensors.

The Electro Mat allows you to add sound and voice recording when coding the Bee-Bot. When the Bee-Bot moves over the sensor the magnet in the battery door triggers a reed switch and plays the recording.

The video below shows how the Electro Mat voice recorders work with the town map and Bee-Bot:



Show and Tell

Show and tell is a fantastic opportunity for children to learn important skills, like speaking clearly, sharing their news and having the confidence to speak in a group. We've used the voice recorder to enable a young child to learn the skills, but if they were too shy to speak in front of a group they could playback a recording.




Think out the Box

In this project, we used everything in the kit and used it to make a talking mother's day card. After this project, my kids have made several other cards for birthdays and father's day by designing the card within the constraints of the black plastic board and recording their voice for the messages.




Mix with other Tech

When you master a piece of tech, you know its capabilities. Now you can start to think about mixing different pieces of tech together. Tracy's kids created a LEGO world for their Ozobots and wanted to add sounds. Ozobot (tiny robot) doesn't have sound, but the voice recorder does, so they came up with an ingenious way to add sounds to their Ozobots.



Add Tech to Non-Tech Toys

Once you get to grips with what a piece of tech can do, you can use it in different ways. One thing that kids love, is adding technology to toys that don't have their own built-in technology.

We had a makedo-shark kit made from cardboard and the kids used the voice recorder to add some facts about sharks.

This idea was then used by my son for a school project, where he had to create a train and write facts about it. He used LEGO to build his train and built the voice recorder into his model and recorded his facts instead of writing them down. (Unfortunately, we didn' get a picture of this creation!)



We also used a toddler construction kit to build a robot and then played around with recordings using the voice recorder.



Use to Teach other Subjects

As a parent / teacher, once you are confident with a piece of tech, you can use it more effectively to teach other subjects. Tech isn't just for computing lessons! We've used the voice recorder to teach maths, English and other subjects.

Here we've created a story board to teach kids about writing stories:



Experiment

Once you master a piece of technology you can start to experiment with different applications for it. The electro mat is a small enough device to fit into a party box, so we created a Joke Box.



The voice recorder also has the capability of adding banana plugs to add a motor or other outputs. One of our volunteers at an event, made a cardboard flower spin around using a motor!


When you've done everything you can with this piece of tech, you can move one to master something else!
Name

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Tech Age Kids | Technology for Children: How to Master Tech with Electro Mat Voice Recorders
How to Master Tech with Electro Mat Voice Recorders
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