Parents are faced by a barrage of choice when it comes to choosing how their child should be educated. This is more so in Asia, where the geography, economies, history, and politics collide and lead to an intensely competitive environment. In South Korea, more so: in Seoul, well, extremely so. Should children be pressed and given intense education until late at night at multiple hagwons? Should they have freedom to develop in their own direction? Where does the dividing line get drawn? Is there even a dividing line?
Coding is very trendy, and its the same but many education institutes and consultancies claim (and sometimes pretend) that they understand these new technologies and coding languages, and have the answers about how it should be learnt.
The reality, is that tech is hard. To a non-expert, it can be frightening, as they have no idea what is being used in industry, and the possibility exists that a certain choice might be to spend much time learning some technology that will be obsolete in several years. And if not completely obsolete, a terrible career choice (imagine choosing to take photography as a university major in 2006, the year before the iPhone came out?).
I don’t claim to know the answer, but I can answer questions about what is worth your child’s time, and some strategies help students hit several rabbits, using as few stones as possible:
- Learn practical STEM content. The kind of stuff they could add to a CV//resume without fear or embarrassment.
- Make good choices of which technology they should study. In this regard, I propose 3D-print design, Arduino and basic electronics, and embedded C-coding. These are all related to each other to build entire systems.
- Produce real portfolio content. Content based on the practical knowledge they have been helped to learn and be confident about, not content that is untruthful and doesn’t really represent what they can do.
- Teach them to build entire systems. This implies they need to be able to do basic coding, have basic tool skills, can design and print plastic enclosures, can connect electronics together without explosions, and that they can understand how to troubleshoot some of the issues they encounter.
- Have fun. Among the courses I offer, there is the principle that there must be space for students to really enjoy themselves. Which is actually quite easy: this is cool stuff. By being hands-on and practical, students can gain confidence, can dream of larger and more abstract systems of devices connected together, and be mesmerized at the cool science that lives in these areas.
Even if you aren’t thinking about signing up for any of the services and courses I offer, I’m still happy to meet and talk with parents who are facing these difficult choices, and I am happy to share my knowledge:
Please feel free to contact me for coffee! ^^