Is the Internet Ruling Your Life?

What is the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning? A quick check of your emails or what’s been happening overnight on social media, perhaps? Whether you’re at school or work, is reading, playing or watching something on the Internet all you can think about? Does it cause you a measure of stress and anxiety if you can’t get your hands on a device to engage with someone or something on the Internet? Continue reading Is the Internet Ruling Your Life?

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The MakePad and Inquiry-Based Learning in STEM

One definition of inquiry reads this way: ‘Inquiry… requires more than simply answering questions or getting a right answer. It espouses investigation, exploration, search, quest, research, pursuit, and study. It is enhanced by involvement with a community of learners, each learning from the other in social interaction.’ Continue reading The MakePad and Inquiry-Based Learning in STEM

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Sorting Through the ‘Internet of Things’ with the MakePad

Sorting Through the ‘Internet of Things’ with the MakePad

The Internet of Things (IoT)

The ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT) is certainly a buzz phrase. However, the term itself is rather ambiguous and leaves us guessing as to what it means. In a strange way, however, there really isn’t another way to describe it.

Essentially, it’s about connecting computers, electronic devices, appliances, absolutely anything really, by way of the Internet. This could include anything from mobile phones, whitegoods, headphones to jet engines— as long as it can collect and transmit useful or important information. The goal is to facilitate instantaneous back and forward communication between devices and users, and that this information can be used for some beneficial purpose.

Why is Everyone Talking About the Internet of Things?

According to Business Insider, there will be more than 24 billion IoT devices on Earth by 2020. That’s about four devices for every human being on the planet. Certainly, IoT will impact our lives significantly, if it hasn’t done so already.

The uses for the information collected on the IoT is vast. From the management of smart cities, to control of our household gadgets, from automated text messages when you run out of bread and milk, to controlling the temperature in your office; sky’s the limit. Indeed, this open trade of information can benefit users in a number of ways. Just think of any situation where you would appreciate some forewarning. Now, imagine having all that at your fingertips, whether it be on your phone or your car’s inbuilt computer system.

An article that appeared in WIRED, gave an example where the IoT could save lives. The article related that in 2007, a bridge collapsed in Minnesota, killing many people. The collapse was due to weakened steel plates in the bridge’s structure that were not strong enough to take the load.

A possible solution? The article continued, “When we rebuild bridges, we can use smart cement: cement equipped with sensors to monitor stresses, cracks, and warpages. This cement alerts us to fix problems before they cause a catastrophe.” The IoT would make all this possible.

MakePi and the Internet of Things

Here at MakePi, one of our goals is to improve the current state of computer science by providing an excellent learning resource— the MakePad. This awesome device will enable kids to engage with the IoT in ways they never thought possible. Really, coding is the fundamental language of the IoT. The MakePad is designed to teach kids coding and, in turn, develop in them a deep understanding of how the IoT really works.

The MakePad will be available on a crowdfunding platform soon. We encourage you to get on board and revolutionize the way kids interact with the IoT! Visit www.makepi.com to join us.

In the meantime, keep up with the latest action by following us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

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How MakePi Helps Children Learn Coding

How MakePi Helps Children Learn to Code

Why Your Child Should Learn Code

Perhaps you have given some thought about making coding or computer programing available to your children. Recent surveys indicate 90% of parents want their child to learn to code. Some might argue that coding is not important for children; and that they should stick to the basic school subjects. But take a quick look around -wherever you are. Our environment has become inundated with technology and devices. Today’s children are growing up with a cellphone in their hand and the internet at their fingertips.

Coding as a Discipline

Coding in its simplest form is telling a machine what to do. Code is a simple string of typed out instructions that are fed to the computer who simply follows the directions. This can be anything from putting “hello” on the screen to automatically piloting a car with no driver. It takes code to send a text, transfer money between accounts, or book a flight. Students who master code have a great start in life. Learning code establishes numeracy and literacy skills and gives an applicable outlet. In today’s competitive economic environment, the foundation of coding or computer programing can open more doors for today’s youth than any other discipline they can learn. It is essential to virtually any career they pursue from architecture to health sciences to zoology.

Preparing Children for Careers

Can you think of one career a child today could pursue that would not require some form of code? All our devices “work” for us. But each one needs coding to make it do what we desire it to do. Coding and programming are not just for the few elite, it can be a part of a child’s everyday life. Children who learn coding young will have the advantage when they begin to enter the job market. Not only will they be tech-savvy and know how to operate computerized devices, they will know how to build apps, create programs that make them more effective at their jobs. Coding is the solitary skill standing between a young entrepreneur who has a great idea and a saleable application, game or product.

How MakePi Helps Children Learn Coding

MakePi helps children learn to code through practical and appealing applications. MakePi and MakePad offer both hardware and software experiences. Children begin by learning how to assemble MakePad components and incorporate other learning tools as well. Make-Music allows children to create their own digital music. Make-Mods gives them the power to create mods for Minecraft. MakePi also provides experiences with text-based coding using the computer language Python. These programs and devices provide a strong foundation for today’s children.

In the meantime, keep up with the latest action by following us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

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MakePi Talks Digital Safety and Cyber Bullying

MakePi talks digital safety and cyberbullying

Digital Safety – The Basics

MakePi feels strongly about maintaining digital safety and we urge all parents and educators to discuss it with their children and students. We earnestly desire that users of the MakePad, or any technology for that matter, become responsible digital citizens.

Please take time to familiarize yourself with the basics of digital safety. You can find some guidance, tailored to younger kids and pre-teens here: http://www.safekids.com/kids-rules-for-online-safety/

In summary, it is imperative that kids do not share personal information or photos of themselves, or meet up in person with anyone they met online, without first consulting their parents or caregivers. It is vital that kids inform their parents or caregivers if something they come across makes them feel uncomfortable or if someone says something to them online that is mean, offensive or derogatory. It is also important to, in consultation with parents or caregivers, establish clear rules and boundaries for using the internet and social media.

These rules serve to protect children from those trying to cause them harm, including cyberbullies.

The Scourge of Cyber Bullying

What is cyberbullying? Stopbullying.gov defines it as “bullying that takes place over digital devices like cell phones, computers, and tablets… [it] includes sending, posting, or sharing negative, harmful, false, or meaningful content about someone else. It can include sharing personal or private information about someone else causing embarrassment or humiliation.”

In the news, we often read accounts of appalling cyberbullying and the tragic consequences of this terrible behavior. Indeed, cyberbullying is insidious, pervasive and destructive. It is a huge issue. According to dosomething.org, nearly 43% of kids have been bullied online and 1 in 4 has had it happen more than once.

Therefore, we urge you to apply the suggestions above and to do some further research about digital safety with your children. And, of course, seek out computer-based educational resources you can trust.

No Need to Fear When Using the MakePad

It goes without saying that here a MakePi we’re passionate about computer science. We designed and produced a DIY tablet for kids that teaches them how to code. While we want kids to engage with the world of computer science, and delve deep into the ins and outs of how it all works, we also desire them to be responsible digital citizens and equipped to protect themselves online.

We’ve also done our part to ensure the MakePad is safe and user-friendly. It is totally free from harmful and inappropriate content. Not to mention an Internet connection is not even required to make the most of the device and for kids to learn how to code.

For more information about our MakePad or to learn about the latest news in computer science and online safety, be sure to visit www.makepi.com. In the meantime, check out what we are doing here at MakePi by following us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

And we assure you, our website and social media pages are safe for kids, display only appropriate content, and are always moderated. Enjoy!

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