The Digital Adventures Blog

For parents, educators and students to discuss tech education for kids, best practices for teaching coding & engineering design to kids & emerging technology trends

Jim's New Adventure

December 10, 2019

Dear parents, students and loyal fans,As you know, I have been a part of Digital Adventures in Wilmette since opening in 2015.  In that time, I have worked alongside a variety of students from four-year-old Lil’ Coders to seniors in high school.  We developed exciting technology projects, problem-solved bugs in our code, and built and destroyed robots in the intense battle bots arena.  We have ...


What students build at Digital Adventures

December 7, 2019

It's often illustrative to take a look and highlight what students have built during their time at Digital Adventures.Our primary goal is to teach students to develop the confidence and skills they need to build with technology independently. While our class structure often follows a format of enabling students to complete a given project during the 60 minute class period, we've found that over...


Devices here. Devices there. Devices everywhere.

December 1, 2019

This weekend, I had a conversation with my niece. I asked her how things were going at school. We discussed more and then eventually began to talk about technology. I asked her how she liked technology learning at school. She responded that she didn’t like Scratch.We talked a bit more. And then she said, devices are everywhere. We just need to know how devices work. We don’t need to know how de...


Tesla’s Cybertruck shows why tech keeps winning

November 22, 2019

This week, Tesla released a pickup truck named the Cybertruck. For those who are familiar with the automotive industry, this will likely be the most consequential vehicle Tesla ever releases. And, it will cement their status as innovative disruptor of the status quo in this industry.American buyers LOVE pickup trucks. The Ford F-150 has been the best selling vehicle for the last 30+ years. Duri...


Don't blame it on the algorithm

November 10, 2019

Recently, the creator of Ruby on Rails, David Heinemeier Hansson (DHH), tweeted about how his wife, Jamie, who he shares financial accounts with received a lower credit limit (5% of his) on the newly launched Apple Card. Given their combined income and credit history, DHH, decided to use his social media platform and the associated potential for virality to bring light to an important issue - a...


Technology shouldn't feel like magic

November 3, 2019

When students build their first video game or robot, they will often say, “Oh wow. It works.” Typically, I respond with, “don’t be so surprised!” However, I think there is a deeper insight from students response to bringing something new to life right before their eyes. Humans are naturally a creative bunch. We seek to bring new ideas, innovations and inventions to life. In technology, this can...


Technology education has the highest ROI for kids

October 27, 2019

"If you think education is expensive, try ignorance." - Derek Bok, President Harvard UniversityIn business, return on investment (ROI) is a metric that is often used to determine which projects to fund. Projects with the highest ROI are typically prioritized versus those with a lower ROI. To make this assessment, a team will often put together a proposal outlining that components of a project a...


The Stunning Paradox of Failure

October 19, 2019

“Success is a lousy teacher. It seduces smart people into thinking they can’t fail.” - Bill GatesAlthough most of us would agree with this quote by Bill Gates. In many ways, we try to spare our kids from failure because we know how it feels. Failure can be painful. Failure can be demotivating. Failure can be difficult. So, we erroneously think that if we can orchestrate their friends, classes a...


5 Ways to Make Money with Video Games

October 12, 2019

Video games have changed quite significantly over the past several years. During the good old days, kids simply played games like Mario Brothers to have fun with their friends. Over time, they could develop expertise in specific games. But, there wasn’t a clear way to monetize this skillset.Recently, this dynamic has changed quite dramatically.  Now, gamers are able to showcase their skills on ...


3 reasons to remain strongly bullish on tech

October 7, 2019

Recently, there have been several high profile stumbles for technology companies. From privacy scandals at Facebook to a delayed IPO at WeWork, the news stories might cause many to believe that technology is falling out of favor. While, these are temporary interruptions, our position continues to be that you should remain long term bullish on the game changing potential of technology.Technology...


The Consumerization of Tech Creates Challenges for Kids

September 29, 2019

As products and services becomes increasingly consumer friendly in a world dominated by technology, those who are digital natives becomes more comfortable but also get less exposure to real-time problem solving of prior generations. To counterbalance this issue, we need to intentionally introduce opportunities for kids to create not just consume technology.Video GamesWhen many of us were kids, ...


How to build 3 types of character controls using Scratch

September 22, 2019

One of the key skills necessary when building projects is using the right type of controls for the character. There are times when you want the character to be controlled by the keyboard, other times you want the character’s movement to be automatic and other times you want a character to be based on how the mouse moves.In this tutorial, we will go through how to create the different character ...


How the $170M YouTube fine will better protect children

September 15, 2019

Alphabet, the parent company of YouTube, was recently fined $170M for violating the Children’s Online Privacy & Protection Act (COPPA). This law is designed to protect the privacy of children 13 years old and under. The Federal Trade Commission found that YouTube violated COPPA by sharing information with 3rd parties about children so they could sell advertising to their clients. While many...


DA Student Launches Space Themed Social Site to Connect Kids

September 8, 2019

This week, I received an email from my partner about a new website that one of our students recently launched. There are proud moments when you start a company - 1st hire, 1st revenue, 1st profit, etc….And then, there are moments that validate the entire reason why your company exists in the 1st place.At Digital Adventures, our mission is to empower the next generation with the creative problem...


Making big things smaller

September 1, 2019

Around this time of year, everyone is excited about getting started with the new school year. With my kids, things are no different. Recently, my kids started back school. For my son, this marks a switch from elementary into middle school. My daughter is now in her 2nd year of middle school. One thing that I talk a lot about with my kids is making things easier for whoever comes after you. So, ...