Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Kids Learning Resources

In chatting with a friend, I think it is useful to summarize a list of good resources for kids learning that I've used in the past.

Learning in this generation is very different given there are a lot of resources out on the internet. It is important to teach the kids to figure out the knowledge themselves.

General tools for knowledge acquisition

Geography and Site seeing

  • Google Map for navigating to different places
  • Using the street view feature by dragging the little person icon (at the top left corner) into the map, we can visit different countries virtually. Here is the Eiffel tower in Paris, France. Google street view is extending its coverage so expect to see more areas in the world being covered in future.
  • Google Earth for an even more sophisticated 3D map navigation. Watch their introduction video.

History and Ancient Empire

Human Body

Money Management

Develop a good economic sense and planning to use money wisely is important, especially when kids are commonly spoiled by their parents these days.

Online Games

I normally don't recommend exposing video or online games to the kids unless they are carefully chosen for educational purposes. Kids are so easily addicted to games. But if you can use their addiction appropriately, it is a good way to motivated them to learn, and it is fun too.

Here are some exceptionally good ones from Lego

Game Designing

It is also good to teach them how a game is designed because this gives them an opportunity to switch roles (from a player to a designer) and establish a good overall picture. There are some very good tools for designing games.

Kids Programming

Programming is all about planning for the steps to achieve a goal, and debugging is all about using a systematic way to find out why something doesn't work out as planned. Even you are not planning your kids to be a programmer or a computer professional, teach them how to programming can develop a very good planning and analytical skills, which is very useful in their daily life.
  • The famous LOGO Green turtle is a good start at age 6 - 7
  • Lego Mindstorm is a very good one because kids are exposed not just to programming skills but other engineering skills (such as mechanics) as well. It costs some money but I think it is well worth.
  • A great link for robot fans.
  • At around age 10, I found a professional programming language can be taught. I have chosen Ruby given its expressiveness and simplicity.
  • One of my colleagues has suggested BlueJ, basically Java, but I personally haven't tried that yet (given I am a Ruby fan).

Materials at all subjects and all levels


Alice said...

Excellent! Appreciated yr thinking & work so much! Thanks again.

Lilly said...

Thank you and very interesting post . Its great that i missed such a list at my website .

dwguy said...

Very different post from data scientist.
I am going to try it out on my 6 yr old and will postback the results.,