By Nishant Rathi (Founder and CEO of NeoSOFT Technologies)
With no signs of the COVID-19 crisis abating, students and parents are bracing up for another summer spent in the confines of their homes. When in previous summer we were still hoping for things to get normal in another month or so, this time around we are better prepared. While vaccines might be circulating in the market, they still cannot be administered to children. Naturally, with going outdoors being out of the picture, the question that most parents have is how to engage their kids in the upcoming summer.
We have witnessed businesses and operations go online– and summer camps are not any different. There are plenty of virtual summer camps and a myriad of online courses and crash courses for youngsters that teach them new and valuable skills. The importance of being digitally sound need not be reiterated. Virtual summer tech camps are an excellent medium to encourage young people to pick up valuable skills that are sure to come in handy in the future. Here are a few courses that you can consider to get your child interested in:
Coding is, without a doubt, the most in-demand skill that is going to be highly sought-for in the upcoming years. With conventionally non-technical sectors joining the digital revolution, coding is not going to be a skill merely desired in IT professionals.
Today, there are many tools out there designed explicitly for youngsters to easily grasp the basics of coding. Depending on their age and knowledge level, they can take their skills and learn programming with various programming languages such as BASIC, Blockly, Scratch, HTML, Java, Python, and a lot more. They can take another step ahead and pick up web development if that is where their passion lies. The possibilities are endless enough to keep them busy all through the summer.
Apps are popular and much loved. If you want to get something done– anything at all– chances are that there is an app out there waiting to help you. They are yet another way to get young people excited and started with coding and programming in a fun and interactive environment. With an app development course, children learn to design, build, and develop their own unique app. This activity, experts have shown, develop their confidence, procedural thinking, and communication skills.
While these terms sound intimidating and absolutely nothing like something kids can master, in reality, that is far from the truth. With issues like digital security and cyber safety being serious concerns, especially for children, getting them interested in ethical hacking might be a good idea.
With numerous tools out there– such as the Microsoft Explanimators video series, Experiments with Google, and Scratch, to name a few, kids can learn machine learning models which they apply to play games or complete interactive projects. These activities are designed to instil in them the basic principles and nuances of machine learning and artificial intelligence in a completely easy and non-intimidating way.
This one is a no-brainer. Kids love toys, and things that move and can be controlled. Just like with hacking, machine learning, and AI, if presented in an engaging and entertaining way, this is a perfect course for kids to get started with and interested in electronics and mechanics.
A robotics course boosts your child’s programming, design thinking, and logical and analytical skills as they learn, experiment and play. At the end of the day, they get their very own robot created and controlled by them.
Digital does not mean being limited to coding and programming. If your kids are creatively inclined, it might be worth considering giving their artistic side a new edge by supplementing it with technology. The scope of digital art is endless– especially in a world that values quality customer experience and good visuals.
With tools like Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator, your children can expand their horizons drastically. To make drawing more fun, you can encourage them to learn to animate their art and create small snips or short stories, if that is what they are inclined towards. Teenagers can spend the summer learning to create their very own video game avatar, and even the entire game itself. The possibilities are limited only by their imagination.
Drawing and animation are not the only avenue for artistic kids. With most of our digital communication occurring via eye-catching banners and graphics across social media and screens, the importance of a good post goes without explaining. Encourage your children to use that smartphone creatively. Encourage them to learn the art of photography, editing them digitally and turning them into a great poster or merging two pictures to create a piece of digital art.
This is a fairly easy skill to pick up out of all the ones mentioned above. However, it is not a skill to be underestimated. Your kids stand to learn the basics of social media visibility using Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and Search Engine Marketing (SEM). With a digital marketing course, they will learn the importance of good writing and communication, eye-catching creative photos and illustrations, user experience and expectations, handling a blog or webpage and much more.
In conclusion, we all know that being cooped up indoors, our kids are going to resort to digital screens to pass time. Investing their time in a virtual course is a good way to turn a considerable amount of their screen time productive.