Think Local  

Ensure your children keep pace with technology and AI at Steamoji

STEAM crucial for children


In today’s rapidly evolving world, where technology is intertwined with every aspect of our lives, the educational landscape is undergoing a critical transformation.

Children are immersed in a technology-driven environment from an early age, interacting with screens and devices both at home and in school. From voice assistants answering their questions to navigation apps guiding their journeys, new technologies seamlessly integrate into their daily routines.

Many of these technologies, powered by artificial intelligence, operate behind the scenes, shaping the modern world through features like intelligent gameplay in online games and personalized content recommendations on streaming platforms. Despite being unseen, these technologies play a prominent role, emphasizing the critical importance of children developing a strong foundation in STEAM education. STEAM provides them with the essential toolkit to understand, engage with and shape the technology-driven world around them.

That is one of the many reasons why Steamoji, a Canadian-based “maker academy” dedicated to preparing children for both the present and the future, was created.

While technology continues to advance at an ever-increasing pace, schools often lag behind—due to funding or staffing constraints—in offering STEAM education, a holistic approach to learning that integrates science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics. These are the disciplines that underpin AI and other emerging technologies.

Steamoji was founded and designed to fill this educational void. Steamoji’s unique Build to Solve curriculum offers 400 hours of instruction, divided into various skill pathways and is best learned over four years. The academy uses cutting-edge technology when it comes to both hardware and software, including 3D printers, laser cutters, VEX robotics, design and engineering software. It offers a hands-on approach that promotes problem solving and creativity during two to three sessions per week.

In an effort to bridge the gap between traditional education and the fast-growing technological demands for young people in the Okanagan, Andriy Ahapov and his partner, Yuriy Ragel, brought Steamoji to Kelowna last fall.

“It is even more important to teach kids critical thinking skills, problem solving skills and effective communication, because they need to understand how new technologies around them work,” Ahapov says. “What are their limitations? What are their benefits? What are the risks?

“This is something that we need to do right now for the kids. Parents cannot wait until kids turn 15 or 16 to start learning about that, because by that time they would already form their habits of consuming the technology or thinking that everything that ChatGPT says is accurate and good. Starting early in teaching children to critically evaluate technology ensures they develop a solid foundation to navigate the complexities of the digital age with confidence and discernment. Ultimately, we want to create a generation of creators of new technologies, rather than consumers of technology”

Moreover, Ahapov emphasizes the importance of hands-on engineering and prototyping.

“Modern kids, aged five or six, can be very comfortable with using a tablet or smartphone, but they might not understand how a simple mechanical structure like a crane works,” he says.

This hands-on approach to learning is a cornerstone of the Steamoji curriculum, ensuring children grasp the fundamentals of engineering and prototyping, which are crucial for a comprehensive understanding of how technology works.

Steamoji fills a critical gap in education, offering year-round programs and holiday break camps that provide children with an accredited, holistic approach to STEAM education. That sets Steamoji apart in Kelowna and the Okanagan. You can register for Steamoji learning programs, including spring and summer breaks, here.

The transformation witnessed in children enrolled in these programs is remarkable.

“The biggest change that parents of children who are already enrolled in our curriculum see is that after a couple of months, the kids’ mindset just changes to a maker’s mindset as they embrace the growth mindset,” Ahapov says.

This shift is not just academic; it’s a profound change in how children see themselves and their potential to impact the world around them.

As technology continues to advance at an increasing pace, the message is clear: the time to prepare our children for this new reality is not tomorrow—it’s today.

“The new technologies are here. They’re not coming. They’re already here,” Ahapov says. “You cannot wait for much longer to teach them to your kids.”

Learn more about Steamoji here.

This article is written by or on behalf of the sponsoring client and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.

More Think Local articles