Category: News

Youth Digital® Named Winner of the Parents’ Choice® Gold Award for the Second Year in a Row and 12 year old Student Wins 2016 STEM Video Game Challenge

Youth Digital® Named Winner of the Parents’ Choice® Gold Award for the Second Year in a Row and 12 year old Student Wins 2016 STEM Video Game Challenge

Youth Digital Inc., a leading technology education organization for youth ages 8-14 that brought you Mod Design 1, Learn to Code with Minecraft® and 3D Game Development 1, Learn to Code C# in Unity®, is proud to be named winner of the Parents’ Choice Gold Award for the second year in a row.

parent-award-gold_1_orig

The winning course, 3D Character Animation 1, is another installment in Youth Digital’s series of courses around Minecraft®. Emily Crawford, reviewer for Parents’ Choice® , writes, “We have been astonished by Youth Digital’s level of commitment to its students; this, above even the brilliantly-written course material, is the company’s greatest asset…[this] more than justifies the $250 price tag.”

Continuing the winning streak, Youth Digital would like to congratulate student Ronan Boyarksi, age 12, for winning the 2016 STEM Video Game Challenge! Ronan’s game, Hungry Black Hole, won the Open Platform Middle School category. Read more about Ronan’s win at the STEM Challenge website.

ronan_crop

“We are extremely proud of Ronan,” says Justin Richards, CEO and Founder of Youth Digital® . “His commitment, appetite for learning, and creativity paid off here. Ronan is a shining example of what we at Youth Digital believe at our core: teaching kids how to create with technology leads to a world of opportunities.”

Youth Digital is offering exclusive deals on its award winning courses throughout the 2016 Holiday season and beyond.

To learn more about Youth Digital and its unique approach to technology education, please visit http://www.youthdigital.com.

About Youth Digital
Youth Digital® offers a compelling mix of online courses that teach kids the critical technology concepts and skills that they will need to be successful in today’s digital world. With courses designed to be fun, interactive, and rewarding, kids ages 8 to 14 become digital creators through their breakthrough learning platform and cutting-edge curriculum. Students watch video tutorials, respond to questions, earn badges, complete interactive quizzes, and attempt challenging assignments as they step toward mastering key technology skills and professional-level software.

Founded in 2010 and based in the Research Triangle Park in North Carolina, Youth Digital is committed to making technology education accessible to kids globally. Since its inception, the company has reached more than 100,000 students through its popular summer camp programs and expanding portfolio of introductory and advanced online courses. Today, students from more than 100 countries are enrolled in Youth Digital’s online courses in Java programming, game development, mobile app design, 3D printing, 3D animation, and more.

About Parents’Choice®
Parents’ Choice Foundation, established in 1978 as a 501c3, is the nation’s oldest nonprofit guide to quality children’s media and toys. Best known for the Parents’ Choice Awards® program, the Parents’ Choice Award Seals are the Foundation’s internationally recognized and respected icons of quality. The Parents’ Choice core team is a small group of talented and fun-loving alphabetically sorted professionals: Claire S. Green, Jackie Yau, and Keri Zeiler. The Parents’ Choice Award judges are experts in areas of industry and interest, from dinosaurs to digital media and from mathematics to making mayhem. The Parents’ Choice Awards committee members hail from families across the country.

Youth Digital Launches 3D Game Development 1 Course to Teach Kids Unity® the Leading Platform for Creating in 2D, 3D, VR and AR

Youth Digital Launches 3D Game Development 1 Course to Teach Kids Unity® the Leading Platform for Creating in 2D, 3D, VR and AR

Youth Digital, the leading technology education organization for youth ages 8-14, today announced the launch of 3D Game Development 1, an engaging online course that teaches kids how to develop their own video games using the industry leading Unity® game engine.

Youth Digital, the leading technology education organization for youth ages 8-14, today announced the launch of 3D Game Development 1.

This course gives students the freedom to fully realize their game vision using the professional Unity® game engine. Kids will learn to code in C#, and throughout the course they will be taught industry-standard coding and design skills. Students have full control of the story; they can code their own quests, design multiple levels, puzzles, and enemies. At the end of the course, students will have a complete video game to share with friends and family.

Course highlights include the following:

  • Learn Unity® – an industry-standard tool for video game development and the platform for many popular titles like Pokémon Go® and Temple Run®
  • Learn C# – a professional programming language – and career-ready best practices

“Because Unity® is one of the most widely-used professional game engines in the Industry, there is no limit to what our kids can do after taking this course,” said Justin Richards, CEO and Founder of Youth Digital. “A lot of people don’t think kids as young as eight or even ten can learn to use tools like this, but they can learn anything if they’re excited enough about what they’re making. We give them the fundamentals, but our students always take the skills we give them and run with them, so we can’t wait to see what they go on to do with Unity®.”

The 12-month subscription (Approximately $~21/month, paid annually at $249.99) includes more than 30 hours of learning, 1 year of course access, support from online teachers, self-paced and project-based curriculum, interactive quizzes and challenges, final project, and a personalized evaluation of their final project.

To learn more about Youth Digital and its unique approach to technology education, please visit http://www.youthdigital.com.

About Youth Digital
Youth Digital offers a compelling mix of online courses that teach kids the critical technology concepts and skills that they will need to be successful in today’s digital world. With courses designed to be fun, interactive, and rewarding, kids ages 8 to 14 become digital creators through their breakthrough learning platform and cutting-edge curriculum. Students watch video tutorials, respond to questions, earn badges, complete interactive quizzes, and attempt challenging assignments as they step toward mastering key technology skills and professional-level software.

Founded in 2010 and based in the Research Triangle Park in North Carolina, Youth Digital is committed to making technology education accessible to kids globally. Since its inception, the company has reached more than 100,000 students through its popular summer camp programs and expanding portfolio of introductory and advanced online courses. Today, students from more than 100 countries are enrolled in Youth Digital’s online courses in Java programming, game development, mobile app design, 3D printing, 3D animation, and more.

A Parent’s Guide to the Technology Education (TechEd) Space

As in all things, once a topic becomes trend-worthy, the space gets crowded quickly. STEM and coding have seen a significant rise in importance as more and more of our world becomes digitally-focused. It’s challenging for a parent to navigate. What is out there to help inspire kids to use technology productively? What is the right fit for a particular kid?

This handy guide will provide insights into what tools and solutions are out there to help parents navigate technology education and find the right solution for their kids.

Let’s first begin by defining technology education (TechEd). TechEd can refer to anything that teachers your child how to use or understand technology, including learning to code, designing apps, creating video games, and more.

TechEd Resources Available

  • Afterschool programs or summer camps (like ID Tech, Sylvan, and Youth Digital). Afterschool programs and summer camps have risen in popularity over the last couple of years. They provide kids with the ability to have a condensed technology introduction over the span of a week while giving parents a fun summer kids activity while school is out. Costs vary from $350 to $900 per week.
  • Online educational videos (like Khan Academy, YouTube). Educational video resources provide a host of content across a myriad of subjects. It is a self-paced solution that gives students the ability to learn from subject-matter experts and can span videos to written content. Most times these solutions are at no cost to parents and kids.
  • Online coding tools (like Scratch, Tynker, CodeCombat). Online coding tools provide a software solution for students to explore coding in a very focused environment. Often times it is a proprietary solution that teaches coding in a gamified ecosystem. Most pricing is subscription with a monthly fee starting at as little as $6/month.
  • Online courses (like Udemy, Coursera, Youth Digital). Online courses offer the opportunity to take a more structured course that has a focused beginning and end. In addition, they provide more long-term educational opportunities by teaching the fundamentals of anything from coding to design. Pricing varies starting at $25 to more than $500.
  • Robotics and Hardware (like Lego Mindstorms, BitsBox). This is the solution for those that don’t want their kids tied to computer coding only. Solutions like Lego Mindstorms and BitsBox introduce coding concepts with simple commands for everything from app design to robotics. Monthly subscriptions begin at $20/month or one-time fees up to $350.
  • 1-on-1 Tutoring (like a friend, relative, tutor). One-on-one tutoring provides a customized curriculum for your student which allows control of pace and engagement.
  • Books (like textbooks, how to guides). There are quite a few educational resources like textbooks to help guide students on subjects such as coding, programming and design. This type of solution will be for kids who love reading and learn best when they are reading and then applying what they’ve learned. Pricing varies.

Things to look for

Technology education isn’t a one size fits all. Determining what is right for your family and your kids can be hard to navigate, but here are a few key questions you should ask yourself before pursuing a solution. Also, keep in mind, it may be a combination of many solutions that meets your family’s needs.

  1. Does the solution hold my child’s attention? This is an important one to consider? Does your child prefer reading to videos? Does he or she prefer learning through gamification or through projects? Considering what will hold your kid’s attention will be an important component in determining the right TechEd solution for you.
  2. Is it fun and exciting? This more than likely always has to check the box “yes”, especially since you are considering extra-curricular activities outside of a school environment. Finding a solution that engages your kid while keeping it fun and exciting will be necessary to achieve success.
  3. Is it the right level of difficulty? Has your kid already gained some fundamental TechEd knowledge and you are building on it? Is it moving at their pace? Being able to answer whether or not a solution provides the right level of difficulty may require some trial and error, but finding a solution that challenges your kid will be important.
  4. Will your kid want to do it in their spare time? This is a big one! When they are outside the classroom, will they spend their extra time learning about coding? Is the content fresh and engaging enough to entice them to want to learn outside of the classroom? Don’t know? Just ask. I’m certain a kid will tell you more about what they want to create to help guide you.
  5. Does it require a lot of your time? Parents are limited on time, so finding a resource that limits the amount of time a student needs parent support on is important. However, if you are a parent that wants to be actively engaged, there are also limitless solutions that are more of a guide to enriching a parent-led technology education environment.
  6. Are they learning or just playing? Gamification is great. It helps kids learn, but it’s also important to discern whether or not they are learning or just spending a lot of time in video games that introduce coding concepts, but not actual coding. Again, it’s sometimes challenging to determine from a solution whether or not that is the case, so a little research ahead of time is good.
  7. What does the support look like? If you are limited on time, support is an essential part of the solution you choose. Is it kid-friendly? Is it responsive to your kid’s requests? What is the availability? Be certain to take a look at the support solution prior to choosing.

Choosing a TechEd solution for your kids can be challenging, but hopefully this guide will help give you an overview of what is available and what may be a good fit for your kids.

The Top 5 Youth Digital Blog Posts

If you are looking for the hottest topics fresh on parent’s minds, look no further than the Youth Digital blog. We have collected the five hottest Youth Digital blog posts over the last 12 months and collected them in one area. The common theme: Minecraft. Is it productive? Is it safe? We answer those questions and more below.

  1. 5 Things Parents Should Know About MInecraft. Many parents worry about their kids wasting time on video games, and also about the potentially violent or inappropriate content of those games. While it’s true that some video games aren’t suitable for kids, many games present a valuable learning opportunity and can be a productive use of your kids’ time.
  2. 5 More Things Every Parent Should Know About MInecraft. By now, we’re all familiar with Minecraft, the amazingly fun, never-ending sandbox game that has been popular with kids and people of all ages for more than five years. We also know that kids gain substantial benefits from playing video games. So let’s dive a little deeper into the world of Minecraft with five more things that every parent should know about their kid’s favorite game!
  3. What Do Kids Learn When They Play MInecraft? At first glance, Minecraft may look like any other video game: a fantasy world where players gather resources, battle obstacles, and try to stay alive. But the sandbox nature of the game actually creates a learning experience for kids where they gain valuable skills that are applicable to real life through gameplay. So what exactly are kids learning as they play Minecraft? There must be a reason that it’s been incorporated into classrooms and homeschool curriculum, after all! Here are five things that kids learn when they play Minecraft.
  4. 6 Surprising Benefits of Playing Video Games. One of the most common concerns we hear from parents is that their kids’ love of video games is causing them to spend their time unproductively. Instead of playing outside or reading a book, they’re glued to a screen. But rest assured, parents– there are proven benefits to playing video games! There have even been several recent studies that generated scientific evidence of the beneficial effects of playing video games.
  5. Top 10 STEAM Contests for My Kid. It may seem that one of the last things kids want to do outside of school is something that feels like homework. However, contests are a great extra-curricular activity to get kids involved in their favorite subjects! Covering topics from science to art, there are plenty of national and regional contests open to students of all ages that are sure to excite kids and bring out their competitive spirit.

What are your thoughts? Are there other posts that resonated more? Tell us what you think.

Youth Digital Honored as Gold Stevie® Award Winner in 2016 American Business Awards

Youth Digital, the leading technology education organization for kids ages 8 to 14, was named the winner of a Gold Stevie® Award in the New Product or Service of the Year – Education – Game-based Curriculum Solution category for its Server Design 1 course in the 14th Annual American Business Awards.

Server Design 1 is an interactive online course that teaches kids Java programming as they design and develop their own Minecraft world. Through engaging videos, challenging assignments, interactive quizzes and access to a professional Java development tool, kids are able to create their own customized Minecraft server from scratch.

More than 3,400 nominations from organizations of all sizes and in virtually every industry were submitted this year for consideration in a wide range of categories, including Startup of the Year, Executive of the Year, Best New Product or Service of the Year, Marketing Campaign of the Year, Live Event of the Year, and App of the Year, among others.

“Server Design 1 is one of our most popular courses and we’re thrilled to receive the Gold Stevie Award in recognition of its success to help turn kids into creators, not just consumers, of technology,” said Justin Richards, CEO of Youth Digital. “Congratulations to all of this year’s winners!”

More than 250 professionals worldwide participated in the judging process to select this year’s Stevie Award winners.

“The judges were extremely impressed with the quality of entries we received this year. The competition was intense and every organization that has won should be proud,” said Michael Gallagher, president and founder of the Stevie Awards.

Details about The American Business Awards and the list of 2016 Stevie winners are available at http://www.StevieAwards.com/ABA.

About Youth Digital
Youth Digital offers a compelling mix of online courses that teach kids the critical technology concepts and skills that they will need to be successful in today’s digital world. With courses designed to be fun, interactive, and rewarding, kids ages 8 to 14 become digital creators through their breakthrough learning platform and cutting-edge curriculum. Students watch video tutorials, respond to questions, earn badges, complete interactive quizzes, and attempt challenging assignments as they step toward mastering key technology skills and professional-level software.

Founded in 2010 and based in the Research Triangle Park in North Carolina, Youth Digital is committed to making technology education accessible to kids globally. Since its inception, the company has reached more than 60,000 students through its popular summer camp programs and expanding portfolio of introductory and advanced online courses. Today, students from more than 100 countries are enrolled in Youth Digital’s online courses in Java programming, game development, mobile app design, 3D printing, 3D animation, and more.

About the Stevie Awards
Stevie Awards are conferred in seven programs: the Asia-Pacific Stevie Awards, the German Stevie Awards, The American Business Awards, The International Business Awards, the Stevie Awards for Women in Business, the Stevie Awards for Great Employers, and the Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service. Stevie Awards competitions receive more than 10,000 entries each year from organizations in more than 60 nations. Honoring organizations of all types and sizes and the people behind them, the Stevies recognize outstanding performances in the workplace worldwide. Learn more about the Stevie Awards at http://www.StevieAwards.com.

Youth Digital Gives Kids the Tools to Create

Not just consumers, but technology creators

Youth Digital provides online computer courses that teach kids how to be digital creators and innovators. It also offers summer camps to those lucky enough to live near one of its 21 camp locations. But the founder of Youth Digital, Justin Richards, has a goal of reaching kids who may not have access to a cool camp like his. Hence the online courses, which are engaging youngsters in more than 100 countries.

More Information: http://www.blackenterprise.com/education/youth-digital-gives-kids-the-tools-to-create/

WRAL TechWire: Teach Students to Learn AND Code, Says Startup Youth Digital’s CEO

Talking STEM jobs or how to code is not enough to excited students about future careers.

“Technology represents an amazing opportunity for young people, but instead of trying to build their interest by telling them it will help them get a job, I think it’s more effective to emphasize the empowerment and opportunity that technology education offers them,” says entrepreneur Justin Richards, the 27-year-old founder and CEO of Chapel Hill startup Youth Digital.

Read more on WRAL TechWire –>