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Summer Learning: Creative and #STEM Videos On @Curious

With summer around the corner, I already am wondering how I can keep my kids engaged in learning over the next few months. They enjoy learning from videos so I thought, “Why not find some cool videos for them to watch?”  The boys were excited, provided that the videos were interesting and engaging.

 

Curious.com is a website with a mission “to connect the world’s teachers with its lifelong learners”. They have a great selection of video courses in the categories of business, brainy subjects like math, coding, craft, food, health, lifestyle, music, photo and tech.  One of my sons wants to learn how to use Final Cut Pro X to edit videos for school projects and as a hobby. I found the course “Final Cut Pro X Tips for Beginners with Dion Schuddeboom” that can help set him down the learning path.

 

Curious.com videos learning

 

 

My other son wants to learn Photography and Photoshop. The courses called “Photography Basics with Bernie Raffe and Photoshop Tips for Beginners with Michael Gatewood” look like a great fit.

 

Curious.com videos learning

 

Listed below are more examples of creative and STEM videos for summer learning.

 

CREATIVE:

 

Hands-On Beginner Photoshop Projects with Chamira

 

Final Cut Pro X Tips for Beginners with Dion Schuddeboom

 

Photography Basics with Bernie Raffe

 

Photoshop Tips for Beginners with Michael Gatewood

 

Online Video Production 101 with Rick Davis

 

 

STEM:

 

Calculus I Essentials with integralCALC

 

The Ultimate Guide to Modern Physics with Es Einsteinium

 

How to Build a Custom Gaming Computer with Carey Holzman

 

Learn to Code Python Games with LearnToProgram

 

HTML in 1 Hour with 1HourAcademy

 

Evolution and the History of Life with Bleier Biology

 

SAT Math Essentials with TAPAprep

 

 

 

What summer learning activities are your family planning?

 

 

 

STEM Maker Projects With Tinkering Labs

STEM Activities: Tinkering Labs

Photo Credit: Tinkering Lab

 

While on a hunt for weekend maker activities for my 12 year old twins, I found a site called Camperoo which has weekend STEM workshops for kids. The event we went to was run by the team behind Tinkering Labs, which gives children aged 6-13 “affordable access to packaged Tinkering kits called Catalysts. Each Catalyst includes components, materials and tools that enable unlimited projects and discoveries related to principles in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM)”. My boys and their friend were technology free and happily “tinkering” away for more then 2 hours. My twins and their friend each made a different design that all had moving parts (which is also why it is important for kids to wear safety glasses) . I was thrilled at the Camperoo workshop and how the Tinkering Catalyst kits keep the kids engaged in a STEM related activity.

 

 

The very first Catalyst that Tinkering Labs designed, prototyped and tested was “Electric Motors.” They have tested that with kids from the Exploratorium, the Boys and Girls’ Club and Stanford Design School to Girl Scout troops and schools around the San Francisco Bay Area. The activities related to using the Catalyst kit also supports teamwork by allowing kids to work together.

 

STEM Activities: Tinkering Labs

Photo credit: Tinkering Labs

 

 

CROWDFUNDING CAMPAIGN:

One of my goals of Techmamas was to support small businesses that are creating STEM activities for kids, so I asked Tinkerlabs for information on their crowdfunding campaign and story to share. I was also thrilled to see them bring their kids into the business:  a son of one of the founders made a presentation at the Maker Faire on how to encourage young makers. Tinkering Labs launched their crowdfunding campaign in April 2015 “Bring Tinkering into Your Home & School with Tinkering Labs”. Campaign perks include single Catalysts, multi-packs for use in schools and other groups, and donations to Bay Area schools in need and Boys & Girls Clubs. A percentage of all profits will go to the nonprofit Institute for Applied Tinkering.

 

 

STEM Activities: Tinkering Labs

Photo credit: Tinkering Labs

 

 

 

TINKERING LABS STORY:

 

STEM Maker Activities: Tinkering Labs

 

” In the summer of 2005, my friend Gever Tulley held the first Tinkering School camp at his house south of San Francisco.  He said he wanted to find out what would happen if he gave kids a big challenge, real tools, time to think, work and play, and just enough guidance to prevent serious injury. What could they get done? What would they learn? And how would it change the way they see the world and themselves?

 

So I volunteered my son Nik. He was the youngest kid there (6 when he arrived at camp, 7 when he came home). None of us had any idea what would happen.

 

A week later, the answer was stretched across Gever’s property in the form of a functioning roller coaster big enough for an adult to ride on. In the five days it took the kids to build it, they not only experienced a deep sense of accomplishment, but they also picked up some important 21st century life skills. Not just things like how to measure properly and use power tools safely, but skills that will help them face life’s inevitable challenges down the road: teamwork, resilience, creativity and adaptability.

 

Fast forward 10 years, and I’ve now seen the impact of Tinkering on thousands of kids.  As a board member of Gever’s non-profit, I helped him expand Tinkering School into many new programs and new parts of the country.  The Tinkering activities have taken many forms, but they are always centered around open-ended learning that is goal-directed but unscripted.

 

Kids need this. But between the electronic devices that mediate much of their experience, schools that emphasize rule following, and even sports and playtime that are organized by adults, many kids are not getting much practice working, playing, and problem-solving independently in the real world. By activating their hands and their minds, Tinkering helps kids develop the skills, knowledge and grit necessary to become the innovators their generation is going to need.

 

As much as Tinkering School has expanded, it can only reach a fraction of the kids that could benefit from it. So about two years ago I started brainstorming ways to make Tinkering more accessible.  After testing many ideas, I decided the best way would be to develop a series of kits designed to make it easy and affordable to bring real Tinkering to any home or school.
I wanted the kits to have a name that expresses that they are a starting point for kids’ imaginations.  And believe it or not, it was my son Nik, now 16, who came up with the name Catalyst.  So our first kit is called the Tinkering Labs Electric Motors Catalyst.  In November 2014 we started testing it with help from our friends at the Exploratorium, Boys & Girls Club, Stanford, and schools around the Bay Area.  And now we’re launching it with a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo.  We’ve already got kits going to 33 countries, and we hope they’ll help create the next generation of innovators.

 

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

Tinkering Labs Website

Tinkering Labs Crowdfunding Campaign 

TED Talk: Life Lessons Through Tinkering

 

 

 

Tips: Find Family Friendly Videos For #Kids With YouTube Kids #App

YouTube Kids LogoBecause kids have access to browsers on many devices they can roam the internet which can result in kids seeing inappropriate content. The best defense for parents is to make sure they educate their kids on internet safety and have regular safety talks -so communication between kids and their parents is key. Along with that, introducing family friendly apps can also help kids stay within the boundaries of family friendly content. I am excited to announce that YouTube has created the YouTube kids app as a step to help families provide a safer place for kids to view videos online.  While I could not attend the press event in New York, I will be meeting with YouTube to get a demo soon. Event though the ideal age for this app is only 2-8, this is a great step in the right direction for family friendly apps in general.  National Geographic Kids shared “We are so excited to be a part of the new YouTube Kids app launch with National Geographic Kids original and curated video content,” says Michelle Sullivan, VP Digital. “We want kids of all ages–and their grownups– to enjoy our playlists and spark their curiosity to go out in the world and learn more.

 

For now I wanted to share the information from the YouTube kids press release so parents can test it out for themselves:

 

The YouTube Kids app is available now on iOS and Android:

LINK FOR YOUTUBE KIDS iOS APP on the Apple Store 

LINK FOR YOUTUBE KIDS ANDROID APP on Google Play

 

 

YouTube Kids Screenshot

Photo Credit: YouTube

 

 

 

FAQ’S FROM YOUTUBE KIDS PRESS RELEASE:

Parental Controls: 
Timer: Let the app be the bad guy with a built-in timer that lets you limit kids’ screen time. The app alerts your child when the session is over, so you don’t have to. (You’re welcome. 😉
Sound settings: Sometimes you need a little peace and quiet! You have an option to turn off background music and sound effects, so your kids can keep watching while you catch a breather.
Search settings: If you’d rather limit your children to just the pre-selected videos available on the home screen, you can turn off search.
Product feedback: Our goal is to improve YouTube Kids all the time, so we’ve included a space for you to give us your feedback.
What age group is this app appropriate for?
Right now, YouTube Kids delivers enriching and entertaining, early literacy content, ideal for kids 2-8.

Which devices are supported?
Launching in Google Play and the App Store, YouTube Kids is a fun and interactive place designed for families to explore and enjoy a vast selection of videos on tablet or smartphone.  You can use YouTube Kids on your smartphone or tablet with:

  • iOS 7 or above
  • Android 4.1 or above

Can I log in to the app with my YouTube account?
No, we currently only support a logged out experience.

When will YouTube Kids be available in other countries and languages?
YouTube Kids is currently available to users in the United States, but we’re working to expand to other countries.

What kind of content is available in the app?
The app is a kid-appropriate experience built around the breadth and depth of content that kids love. With a vast selection of videos, across a variety of topics, the choices match a child’s endless curiosity and interests, offering something for every kid; find how-to build a volcano, countless train videos, sing-along versions of favorite songs, crafting projects, match tutorials, answers to questions (what if we lived on the moon?), and much more.  You’ll also find popular programming like National Geographic Kids, Sesame Street, DreamWorks Animation and Thomas & Friends, online hits like Mother Goose Club, Super Simple Songs and TuTiTu, plus kid-friendly content from filmmakers, teachers and creators all around the world.

Are you COPPA compliant?
Yes. YouTube Kids is a signed-out app experience, so it does not collect, use or disclose information connected to a Google account, including the user’s name, address, contact or other personal information.

Here is a YouTube video demo of the new YouTube Kids app:

NEW SHOWS ON YOUTUBE KIDS (from press release):

  • The Furchester Hotel is a series for 3 to 6-year-olds set in an ‘almost’ world-class hotel run by a close-knit family of cheerfully incompetent monsters. The series, which is designed to encourage creative problem-solving, introduces brand new characters and also welcomes the beloved Elmo and Cookie Monster from Sesame Street.*
  • New digital videos for Thomas & Friends features Thomas the Tank Engine™ as fans have never seen him before, having adventures off the Island of Sodor in fascinating destinations like London, Paris, and New York City, and coming to life in children’s playrooms.
  • Explore the amazing technology that surrounds our everyday lives, in this exciting new original series called uTech, presented by Reading Rainbow and YouTube. In the first episode, join host LeVar Burton as he takes a look at some of the places you may have not realized we encounter technology (from the moment we wake up to an alarm clock, until we go to bed at night and brush our teeth).
  • National Geographic Kids playlists are an exciting and educational way to explore the very best of YouTube. Hosted by kids for kids, these curated playlists on awesome animals, cool science, natural phenomenons, and more are perfect for curious kids who want to explore, laugh, and learn.
  • Two new shows from Hank and John Green, the Vlogbrothers:  SciShow Kids will tap into kids’ curiosity and answer their many “why” questions with animated explanations, live-hosted experiments and field trips. And Crash Course Kids will empower both educators and students with customized elementary school lessons, hosted by some of your favorite YouTube stars 
  • WONDER QUEST: Set in the world of Minecraft, one of the most popular kid’s video games today, and starring Joseph Garrett, better known to millions of fans as Stampylonghead, “Wonder Quest” brings audiences family-friendly adventure with an educational twist. Will Stampy accept the quest from a friendly wizard? Will Stampy and his friends save the town of Wonderberg from a fate of really bad jokes? A fun way for kids to explore, Stampy invites friends to build an online world that encourages wonder — all based on Core Curriculum and Next Generation Science Standards. 
  • A new series from Outfit7, Talking Tom and Friends will chronicle the adventures, hijinks, and inventions of Talking Tom and the gang as they shoot their own reality television show.

 

I can’t wait to try out the new YouTube kids app with my kids. How about you?

 

 

 

 

Holiday #Gift Ideas At @MicrosoftStore #Sponsored

Microsoft Store Holiday Gift GuideAfter countless experiences of giving my kids gifts they were asking for (even begging for), that they then abandoned after a short time – I pledged to try to buy gifts that last. During the holidays some of my favorite gift ideas (that last throughout the year) are technology devices and accessories. I was excited when SocialMoms and Microsoft asked me to participate in a sponsored blogging program to discuss holiday gift ideas at the Microsoft Store because they have such a wide range of technology devices and accessories gift ideas under one roof!

Here is a video that shows my fun adventure at the Microsoft Store checking out gifts that satisfies everyone from tech beginners to tech savvy, gamers, fashionistas, busy professionals, students and technology for the whole family.

Some of the great gifts I checked out at the store you can also check out online first, then head to the Microsoft Store to have your gift in hand for the holidays. If you don’t know exactly what they want, you can get gift cards for the Microsoft Store, XBox  or Skype. But there are also a range of phones, unique family touch enabled All-in-One desktops like the Sprout by HP, laptops like the Lenovo Yoga 2 in 1, tablets like the Surface Pro 3 Bundle or HP Stream 7 tablet (currently only $99!).
Microsoft Surface 3 Pro Bundle

 

 

All types of cases like  Brenthaven Collins Vertical Messenger Bag , Greene & Gray Device Purse  or the Knomo Foley Device Cross Body Sleeve.

 

Knomo Foley  Cross Body Device Sleeve

 

 

Wearables are another hot gift idea such as FitBit and stylish Misfit Shine that monitor activity, calories and sleep. But there are also many other app-enabled accessories to choose from!

 

Misfit Shine and Sport Band

 

Entertainment gifts such as the Jawbone Mini wireless speaker, XBox One Plus Kinect  and maybe a stocking stuffer of a new XBox Wireless controller.  “Makers” may want the gift of MakerBot-Replicator Mini Compact 3D Printer that can inspire all types of creative projects or the Go Pro HERO3 to unleash video creativity on the go.  I know that my kids are asking for some new video games but I also have some on my list including the Nike + Kinect Training and Just Dance 2014!

 

Xbox 360 Chrome Series Wireless Controller

 

Don’t forget tech toys such as the remote controlled aircraft like the Parrot AR Drone2.0 that performs smartphone-controlled acrobatic tricks.

 

Parrot MiniDrones Rolling Spide

 

 

 

What are you shopping for this holiday?

 

 

Disclosure: This blog post is part of a paid SocialMoms and Microsoft blogging program #MSFTHoliday . The opinions and ideas expressed here are my own.

 

 

 

Moms With Apps Survery Results: Thoughts On Kid’s Apps

Disclosure: This post is brought to you by Moms With Apps and The Motherhood. All opinions are my own.

 

 

As parents we want our kids to engage with technology in a positive way that inspires learning as well as entertainment. The challenge is helping our kids choose appropriate apps and setting screen time limits. Moms With Apps is a website that offers information about kids apps, including How To Choose Apps For Kids. I have twin 11 year old boys that like using their tablets or my smartphone for their screen time. I use resources like Mom With Apps to help me – help them – choose appropriate apps for their age and also apps that will inspire creativity, learning or just wholesome fun. Just this morning at a doctor’s appointment I searched for Math apps my son could play with while we were waiting.  My concerns related to apps are to make sure they are age inappropriate but also not just simple time wasters. I would rather help my kids use the powerful technology tools they have to enhance their lives, a lesson that they can take to adulthood.

 

 

Mom With Apps just finished a survey of more then 450 parents around the country with their app questions and concerns. The results are interesting so I wanted to share them!

 

 

 

Moms With Apps Survey

 

Here are some of the specific findings from their press release:

 

  • 96% of parents believe that apps are beneficial to their child’s education and development.

    Moms With Apps provides parents with the ability search for trustworthy apps in a variety of different subject areas, including science, math, reading and critical thinking.  

  • 87% of parents report that ​they are concerned about ​their​ children ​making in-app purchases, and 81% say they worry about app​s​ ​​collect​ing​​ their children’s​personal information.

    Founded by parents who love using technology with their own kids, Moms With Apps only features developers who have committed to high standards for protecting kids’ privacy and building great family-friendly apps – and Moms With Apps always makes it quick and easy to Know What’s Inside every app they feature so that parents can decide if it’s right for their kids.

  • When selecting apps for their children, the three key issues for parents ​are: 1) the age-appropriateness of the app​;​ ​2) ​if it’s engaging for their child​;​ and ​3) ​if the app protects their child’s privacy.

    Moms With Apps gives parents simple tools to find the right apps for their kids. Just like nutrition labels help parents decide which snack is right for their kids, Moms With Apps provides parents with information up-front and in plain English to help them decide which app is right for their kids.

  • Parents feel they waste time looking for the right apps for their kids. 49% report the process as “moderately” to “very hard.”

    With more than one million apps to choose from, it can be hard to find the right apps for kids – and even harder to know if the app their kid loves is one they can trust. Moms With Apps is the only resource for parents who want to find great, trustworthy apps for their children.

     

 

What are your thoughts and concerns about children’s apps?