Homeschool.com’s Product Reviews
Youth Digital offers introductory, online tech courses for kids ages 8-14, empowering them to become digital creators, designers, animators, programmers and developers. The courses are fun, extremely interactive and very effective. In each course, students create a project from start to finish and learn important skills and software as they design and refine their projects. At the end of every course, students have an entirely new digital skill set and a finished product they can play with and share.
- Mod Design 1 (their most popular course)
- 3D Printing & Modeling 1
- 3D Game Design 1
- 3D Game Design 2
- App Design 1
- Game Design 1
- Game Design 2
- 3D Animation 1
These courses teach kids to program and code in Java, make Mods in Minecraft©, animate movies, model and print in 3D, design video games, develop their own mobile apps, and more.
Most courses are available for both PC and Mac, but not all are Mac compatible.
In the courses, students watch videos, respond to questions, earn badges, complete quizzes, and finish assignments as they step toward mastering critical technology skills and professional-level software. Instructional support is a mouse click away–all you need to do is click the Help button.
I took the 3D Printing & Modeling I course, which included 12 modules—about 30 hours of classes. This course teaches students how to make characters, buildings, cars, and scenes, using the professional program Blender (3D modeling software). You can see a video of the course here.
As a non-techy person, I liked the ability to review material over and over again, until I got it down (and I did have to review multiple times). I liked that I was being taught a professional program—that I was being asked to stretch my abilities and learn something that is actually being used—rather than learning a less challenging option. And I appreciated the humor of the teacher, especially in assuring me (and others), that Blender Blunders are common-place, and easy to fix (I tend to freak when I make a technical mistake).
I found the course to be challenging, but doable. This is certainly a class you might want to take alongside your child. Maybe your student can even help you (I asked my son for help—although as mentioned previously, instructional assistance is available through the website).
Youth Digital’s mission is to transition kids (and olders) from being passive consumers of technology into tomorrow’s technology creators and innovators. That’s a pretty lofty goal—but after taking this course, I think it’s one they can achieve.