Reading, writing and arithmetic will always have their place, but coding, programming and designing are gaining in importance. Here’s how to keep up.

Blackboards and pencils are going the way of slate and inkwells as schools around Australia keep pace with innovations in technology.

Recent studies have revealed that ‘high-tech workers’ will be some of the most in-demand by the year 2030.

When combined with the prediction that by 2021 at least 90 per cent of the workforce will need a basic level of digital literacy, it is easy to understand why it is so important for children to be tech-savvy.

As a parent coming into the 2017 school year, helping modern kids with school work can be daunting!

For those who were educated in the seventies, eighties and nineties, submitting an assignment typed on a computer was the upper echelon of digital know-how.

Many professional industries still operate without the intricate use of modern digital technology, leaving some parents in the dark when it comes to the software and skills that children are expected to have an understanding of in their everyday schooling.

To fill in the gaps on at least some of what your kids view as the norm, there are a number of resources you can access online.  

Digital knowledge courses

Code Academy

These free courses cover 12 different ‘languages’, but not the French, German and Japanese types that parents might be used to from their schooling days.

Signing up to Code Academy gives you access to lessons in JavaScript, HTML, CSS, Ruby and other languages commonly used to build websites, apps and software programs.

You can choose from a number of course options, each of which is clearly laid out with an introduction and exercises to help you learn.

Code Academy has a library of articles you can refer to at any time as well as glossaries for each coding language.

A handy feature is the forums page, which invites you to put a question to other users - very helpful when that assignment deadline is looming!

Coding Kickstarter

Hosted in Sydney and Melbourne, Coding Kickstarter's free short courses give you an introduction to coding.

Run on Wednesdays and Sundays, the two hour session explains the basics of code, helping you to understand the terminology and showing you how to build the most basic of apps.

Now that many school assignments are expected to be handed in online or even in website form, having a couple of hours’ worth of knowledge under your belt might really help you to support your child with their studies.

Khan Academy

You can reap the benefits of Khan Academy, even as an adult.

Under the Academy’s Computing section are courses on computer programming, computer science and creating web pages.

There is also a special ‘Hour of Code’ that gives quick introductions on how to create web pages or draw with code.

Khan Academy is US-based but offers courses that cost nothing and are ad free.

Courses for kids

As a beginner adult, sometimes it is easiest to learn at from scratch! You might even take the opportunity to learn alongside your child.

There are many websites and courses that make a game out of learning to code that you and your little one can investigate together.

Check out our picks for kids to learn to code online.

Online tutorials

Many parents don’t use technology on a daily basis and find themselves faced with a challenge when it comes to understanding the equipment and software programs their child requires in order to do their best at school.

From the ever-upgraded Microsoft Office suite, to the cloud-based Google Drive and Adobe Suite, if you don’t encounter these in your daily life they can easily bamboozle you.

Fortunately, getting the hang of things and helping your child is made simpler thanks to the many online tutorials available.

Some skills that you may wish to consider acquiring in order to get you through the school semester as a parent include:

Using an iPad

Mastering Microsoft Office

Creating documents, spreadsheets and powerpoint presentations in Google Drive

Editing images using Photoshop

Website building with Wordpress and Wix

You may even find that the benefit of building these digital skills will not just come in assisting your child with their homework.

Increasingly, knowledge of technology comes in handy in all areas of life. From creating birthday invitations to starting a small business on the side, being tech-savvy can reap rewards in more ways than one. 

Access to online education resources is taking Australia by storm; just make sure you use a safe password when you sign up to any online service.

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