Tips For Kids: Using Tech To Enhance STEAM Creativity
With more and more kids using social networking, gaming, and messaging to entertain themselves, it is great to balance the fun with tech education to develop their creativity. Using technology to enhance STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math) helps kids learn and build career skills. It also engages kids by using new technologies and supports different ways of learning using visual, audio, and experiential format
DIGITAL SCIENCE & ENGINEERING: Science projects can extend past school homework and science fairs with computer science fair projects like these outlined in Education.com. Our family’s favorite science project we discovered in this video, and explores what happens with you combine Mentos and Diet Coke (hint, it has to do with carbon dioxide). When it comes to science, we also enjoy the NASA Solar System Exploration website to create solar system projects using styrofoam, paint, and string. For years my kids loved Lego, but as they headed towards middle school they looked for projects involving engineering, leading us to Lego Mindstorm which includes programming and robotics. My kids also enjoyed the MIT + K12 videos on Physics, Natural Science, Materials and Measurements on Khan Academy...
DIY & MAKER WEBSITES: Our family enjoys doing all types of DIY and maker projects. We get inspired by the vast selection of websites and video channels showcasing these projects and usually start out by visiting the Make website’s list of DIY projects. Then we visit the YouTube channels of people who specialize in the type of projects we want to do. For example, an early project we did was this simple candlestick holder. Common Sense Media also lists DIY websites for kids such as HowStuffWorks and Instructables.
DIGITAL MEDIA PROJECTS: When we realized that our sons loved taking digital photos and videos and were allowed to use those formats for school projects, we supported their interest and helped them learn more. There is a great selection of photo and video editing software that kids can start using around middle school age (or younger, depending on when they become interested). There are many different apps and computer software (such as Adobe Creative Suite) that families can use for photo and video projects alike. Best yet, save your family photos to a photo sharing site such as Shutterfly, and have your kids create their own albums.
DIGITAL ART: When it comes to artwork, kids have access to everything from virtual art museum tours to art design software for creating their own digital art. For example, teens interested in graphic design and sketching can use AutoDesk Sketchbook to create their own digital designs. We enjoy using Windows Fresh Paint app on our family desktop to create digital art. Kids can also use their creativity to make digital books with photos, drawings, and more. One tool for making e-books is the Windows Book Creator app that kids can use to create their own children’s books, journals, or even comics.
What are your favorite STEAM projects?
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About the author:
Beth Blecherman pivoted from Senior Manager, Deloitte, to a journalist and consultant covering lifestyle, tech, social media and growth marketing. Past articles included Laptop Magazine and Mashable. Her website TechMamas.com (Twitter @TechMama) was on lists such as Forbes Top 100 Websites for Women and AlwaysOn’s List of Power Players in Technology Business Media. Her speaking engagements included BlogHer, UC Berkeley Extension, 500 Startups, Draper University, CES and SXSW.