As parents, we all spend our time helping kids with their homework. For many of us, English and Math’s problems seem to more of a breeze as they’re subject’s we learnt throughout our school years as well as being applied to your daily lives.
But what about ICT(Information and communication technology)? Many of my friends who aren’t technical find this a mystery and feel somewhat helpless in being able to help their child. As my friend, Shehla said “I simply wouldn’t know where to start”. Or as my other friend Ryan said “He’ll end up teaching me”
Put it simply ICT’s aim is to reach kids to understand how computers and technology work. Back in my day, it was teaching us how to use a computer, but now it’s about understanding what’s happening behind the screen and how to control it.
Schools, thankfully don’t teach this via text books, so don’t go buying any “Programming for Dummies” guides. Instead coding, along with elements of robotics, engineering, science, math’s, problem-solving, logical thinking, and communication are packaged into fun activities for kids. For example, many young kids between 5-8 may already be familiar with Scratch which is a form of coding using ‘blocks’ to create commands to create animation, games and stories.
So here’s some tips on how you can help your child:
- Talk to your child – ask them to explain to you what they are doing in ICT. You’ll probably hear words like Raspberry Pi, Kalebr, 21st Century skills and de-bugging. And when you do ask them to explain those concepts to you. Simply by doing this, you’re helping your child revise their learnings and testing if they can clearly explain each concept.
Keep a notepad handy so you can jot down these points and google or YouTube them later
- Ask them to demonstrate a project to you – your child has probably already being exposed to robotics, where they had to physically or virtually design a robot (or any other moving vehicle) and then use code to teach it commands. You’ll be amazed at what they’ll demonstrate. And as they do continue to ask them “So how did you do that part?” This is all helping them think through the “how” and the sequence of actions that need to happen for it to function.
- Presentation & Reflection – now here’s where your English and communication skills help. A key part of ICT is for kids to demonstrate how they’ve achieved their finished product. Kids are asked to explain the Objective, the How (including coding commands, functions, hardware, circuits, boards) as well as reflect on what they learnt and what could be done better next time. Most of the time this is done in PowerPoint, so get your child to take you through it and cross-reference this against the Task List assigned by the teacher. To me, this is one area where kids still need their parent’s help more than ever.
- Speak to your child’s teacher – don’t wait for the school report! Schedule some time in with teach at the beginning of the new academic year for them to take you through the ICT curriculum for your child’s upcoming year. Keep a copy so you can use this as a weekly checkpoint with your child. Also ask your child’s teacher on any good reference material you can review to help you understand the information that’ll be taught. This could be website links, YouTube channel or even the school’s own material.
- Complete a project together – Purchase one online coding subscription and make it family project where you both get to learn and have fun.
Over the coming weeks we’ll also be scheduling some ICT for Parents classes so feel free to register your interest here so we can contact you when they’re available.
I hope the above helps, and just remember, like all homework, it’s a journey! You’re not expected to be an expert; you just need to be the guide.