Category: Our Students

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.

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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.

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“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.

Why I Love to Create: Caleb

Why I Love to Create: Caleb

Hello, my name is Caleb and I am excited to share all of the reasons that I like to create.
First, creating is not like anything else. You can take your amazing ideas and digitally apply them into a 3D game, app, mod, or animation. To me, being able to create is like being bilingual. In fact, by 2020, quite a few STEM careers will include computer programming. This is an amazing number and I enjoy being able to learn some basic programming.
Whatever I have created, from a flying reindeer in my mod CookieCraft or making cool cutscenes in my app, Bowler Bash (not yet released!), I have always had lots of fun making my ideas come to life. Every single Minecraft item and every single if/then statement that I’ve programmed was awesome. Here are two more reasons that I like to create:
  • I can let my imagination run wild.
  • Programming is like a puzzle with lots of pieces to put together.
I like to create so much that I’m creating a software company called Cliffdrop Creative. I will use my company to make apps and other programming masterpieces.
Programming is also a great source of entertainment, so when you can’t go outside because you’d turn into a water monster, can’t find your book, and your iPad is out of battery, you can have something that will help you get a job instead.
No rules or boundaries are found in creating. It’s what you want, when you want, how you want. For example, if you want a giant troll that can control the gravity of Jupiter and you have to defeat the troll by destroying all his hot dogs (just an idea!) you can do that. The only limits are the storage space on your computer and your imagination.
If you do not think creating sounds fun, think again. And if it still doesn’t sound totally awesome, I don’t know what will be. Keep creating!
Why I love to code

Why I love to code

By Sam D., Youth Digital student

Hi, I’m Sam D. I’m a programmer! I created a company with some of my friends called ‘Funny Sharks United’. I have created many games such as ‘Bouncing’ and ‘Bouncing 2’. Youth Digital has asked why we love to create, and I wanted to share my thoughts.

I love to create because you set your own rules, boundaries, and can go wherever your imagination takes you. You can create your own world, dimension, galaxy, design, or anything! Creating is easy, and fun. Coding may seem challenging at first and you might say, “This looks hard”, but it’s actually not.

I love creating because you don’t have to follow someone else’s order, you make your own order. To me that’s amazing.  Plus your friends can play whatever you made and you love seeing them laugh and smile at what you created.

Each time you create something, it’s exciting! I remember when I first made my character launch in App Design 1, I ran downstairs and yelled to my dad, “DAD. DAD. DAD. I JUST MADE A BLUE BALL LAUNCH!”

Whatever new component I had coded, I would get excited at my accomplishments! And while half of the time people wouldn’t know what I was talking about, I still knew I had done something amazing.

I have health problems. When I was in the hospital and I created something new, it would make me happy- even when I was suffering from lots of pain.

Whenever you learn how to code, design, or animate you have the ability to go deeper within the software and learn new things. I have done that and I’m creating things that aren’t even in COURSES!

Creating is really awesome. It’s like being a mayor of a city. So I suggest if you have never created anything to consider exploring taking a creative journey through app design, game design or coding.

Keep staying creative!

-Sam D.

“In Their Own Words” Series: Why I Love to Create

“In Their Own Words” Series: Why I Love to Create

By Jack Buckley, Youth Digital Student

My name is Jack, creator of the Ultimate Knight series and owner of the company, Quantum Games. I’m here to tell you why I love to create. I’ve always been a creator. From art to Minecraft, I have found that I am not content with my day without creating.

You can get bored with playing video games, browsing the app store for the ‘NEXT BIG THING’ or scrolling through social media 24/7. But by creating, you aren’t limited to what the designer put in the game or wishing for more features but not being able to do anything about it. By creating apps, games and more you have the ability to do whatever you want to do. If there isn’t a certain feature or function in Minecraft, you can add it through modding. Have an idea? Simply jot it down on paper or Apple Notes and start creating the ‘NEXT BIG THING’ yourself.

Creativity and imagination are some of the best things in my opinion. It gives you a certain level of security knowing that there are people out there who created Apple or Google. With hard work; you could be like them.

I love to create because it empowers you, makes you feel like you really can accomplish something significant. And you really can. I worked for 80 hours over the summer on the first ‘Ultimate Knight’ game, and am currently 40 Hours in to the sequel. Creativity, for me, makes work seem like fun. I would have never made it through those 120 Hours without creativity.

I also love to create because you feel immense gratification at the end when people say, “Wow! You can create a video game? That is awesome, dude!” I don’t regret one moment of that 80-hour period now, and I’d do it again in a heartbeat.

When work feels like fun, you are encouraged to do it. That is why I love creating. And I would like to encourage you, if you’ve never tried to create something significant or empower people with your product, consider trying it out. You may be surprised – creating is truly the biggest blessing any of us have. So try it out and join me in creating!

A Youth Digital Story: Why I Love to Create

How Nicholas Found Passion for Animation

Hello everyone! My name is Nicholas, and I’m the creator of the Minecraft short film avalanche, which won a runner-up position in the 2015 winter contest at Youth Digital! Youth Digital asked its students to write essays about why we love to create on our free time. I’m super excited to get to share some of my creative passions with the rest of the world!

Creating for me has become limitless as I explore the possibilities of what I can do in the 3D animation software, blender. I have been animating in blender for about four years, even before Youth Digital released its animation courses. I have had a lot of help from a good friend, Nathaniel, who mentored me voluntarily in 3D animation from the beginning! I also, of course, learned a lot of useful techniques from none other than Youth Digital! They taught me a lot about blending movements in the dope sheet, and the NLA editor.

I love creating because you can take your imagination and bring it to life with digital applications that let you create things such as Minecraft mods and 3D animations that you can share with the rest of the world! Creating sometimes does have its limits, but with hard work and determination, you can stretch those boundaries and create just about whatever you can imagine. I still remember the thrill I had when first booted up blender. I felt like the possibilities were endless for creating and modeling the characters that I could only draw on the Windows Paint Program!  Creating 3D animations in blender, for me, has become a favorite hobby, and quite possibly a future career.

So a note to everyone reading this, you can, with hard work and determination, create just about whatever you want with the main limitation being you time and imagination. But do remember, that sometimes you need to have a team of people working together, to make something possible. Currently, I am working on the story to my next film, which is about an Easter Egg who risks everything, including his shell, for the good of everyone else. Thank you so much for reading, and I encourage you to go and create!

Here’s the link to my friend Nathaniel Winckler’s awesome website: www.natewinck.com.

 

Parents Use Technology to Drive Creativity

Parents Use Technology to Drive Creativity

There are a lot of stats regarding the use of technology by kids. Many caution that device and technology time can be a distraction versus an educational outlet. However, the reality is the way that we interact and engage in the present day is heavily digital. So how can parents find a way to pivot technology digestion into creativity? Here are three ways to take technology and turn it from a passive engagement to an interactive one for kids.

    1. Don’t just play games, create them. Playing games is fun and in many ways reinforces problem solving skills and other key ingredients to development. But what if you could take the passion for playing games and infuse a desire to create them. It’s not unheard of for kids to create their own video games, apps, and more. There are multiple resources out there that can get your kid learning to code including Scratch, Lissa Explains it All, and Kids Ruby.
    2. Don’t just watch YouTube videos, star in them. We are all guilty of spending time watching the most recent video sensation, but what if you become the next YouTube video sensation. Creating videos with your kids can help with project management skills, creativity, story building and more. Don’t just take our word for it, but check out one of our students who has created her own YouTube channel.
    3. Don’t just be social, inspire group interaction. Kids are actively leveraging social media, and while most parents are spending the majority of their time encouraging social responsibility, another great avenue for creating inspiration is through social media. Encourage your kids, along with you, to share their multimedia content they’ve created. So instead of just using it for conversations, start conversations by sharing the latest Mod for Minecraft, or the most recent video creation, or a customized app.

We are living in a digital era, but that doesn’t mean that digital equals consumption only.  Encourage your kids to look up from the screen and envision the next digital project they will create.

Spotlight on Our Students: Coolest Creations by YD Kids [March Edition]

It’s time for our favorite monthly series, Coolest Creations by YD Kids! Each month we showcase some of the impressive final projects created by Youth Digital students. These projects reflect all the hard work kids put into their courses, as well as some of the tech skills and software they learned along the way.

Many Youth Digital students are avid gamers, so this month, we’re featuring final projects from our courses that teach technology skills through creating video games. Let’s get started!

Here’s a peek at an awesome mobile game created by our student Luke G.!

AD1 - Luke Golobitsh Continue reading “Spotlight on Our Students: Coolest Creations by YD Kids [March Edition]”

Spotlight on Our Students: Coolest Creations by YD Kids [February Edition]

It’s time for our favorite monthly series, Coolest Creations by YD Kids! Each month we showcase some of the impressive final projects created by Youth Digital students. These projects reflect all the hard work our kids put into their courses, as well as some of the tech skills and software they learned along the way.

We strive to offer courses that fit every kid’s interests, so this month, we’re featuring final projects from a wide range of Youth Digital courses.

Let’s start with a mobile game created by our student Eli Z.!

AD1 - Eli Zak - Legend of Spot Continue reading “Spotlight on Our Students: Coolest Creations by YD Kids [February Edition]”

Spotlight on Our Students: Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day

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Today marks the 15th year of Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day, or Girl Day, a program sponsored by DiscoverE which aims to introduce more than one million girls and young women to engineering. More than just a day, this is a national movement to show girls how creative engineering is and how engineers are changing our world. Girl Day is one of the key events in Engineers Week, an annual event which lasts from February 21 to 27, 2016. Continue reading “Spotlight on Our Students: Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day”