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startedearly_EMAILToday, life revolves around technology. Smartphones, tablets, and wearable tech have changed how we do things — from shopping online to banking, and even controlling our home security systems.

As a result, it’s more and more crucial that children are introduced to technology at young age.

No longer can students get by with only strong keyboarding skills or social media wizardry. If they really want to get ahead and thrive in an increasingly tech-dominated world, they need to have an understanding of different technologies — or even better, be able to use them well.

“The key is to get them hooked on tech when they are younger,” said CBT Nuggets trainer James Conrad. “Children need to be exposed to technology at an early age so they become interested and want to learn more.”

What better place for children to learn tech skills than schools? They can learn in a supervised and structured environment. Plus, it enables students who might not have access to technology outside of the classroom to have the same learning opportunities.

More schools are incorporating technology into their classrooms, whether it’s investing in tablets or offering e-learning options. At the very least, administrators are pushing for their buildings to be equipped to handle technology upgrades. That’s great news, considering many school districts face funding issues every year.

Then there are programs such as Fidgets2Widgets.

Based in Eugene, Oregon, the after-school program aims to prepare students to be competitive when they enter the workforce by helping them understand and embrace technology. Established in April 2013, the program is geared toward students ages 9 through 14, and integrates traditional subjects such as math, science, art, and music using computers and tablets.

Another one of Fidgets2Widgets’ goals? To teach children how to balance the digital world with real life. Students learn topics such as web design and coding for 20 minutes at a time, and then spend 15 minutes away from their computer screens.

IMG_1826Earlier this year, a group of 18 tech-savvy boys and girls toured CBT Nuggets HQ to get a feel for what it’s like to work for a tech-based company. Pam Simon, one of the co-founders of Fidgets2Widgets, said that she wanted to show students a company with a culture like CBT Nuggets: a culture of productivity and fun.

“I want to make our program a mini CBT Nuggets,” Simon said. “A place where students can learn a lot, be productive, and still have a lot  of fun.”

So what tech skills should students be learning as soon as they can?

We recently asked several CBT Nuggets trainers which tech skill would they would want their children to master. Both Jeremy Cioara and Chris Ward said networking. It also seems that programming would be a safe choice. Same with an even more practical skill — such as the one suggested by Shawn Powers.

“Troubleshooting,” he said. “Hands down, no question. This will serve them regardless of whether or not they go into a tech career.”

And what do kids themselves think about the issue?

Fidgets2Widgets participants Hudson and Wyatt agreed that it’s important for people to get involved with technology at an early age. The two friends said that they planned to take apart and rebuild a computer at some point. They are both interested in pursuing careers in the video game industry.

“It’s important for everyone to understand and use technology,” Wyatt said. “It’s all around us and everybody uses it.”

 

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