About Us

ABOUT US

Level UP Kids is an active, inspiring place filled with friends and friends to be, where real computer science and technology learning is fun. Level UP engages students in supplemental Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) education, giving them real academic advantage and the skills and motivation they need to succeed in life.

Level UP Kids is a leader in teaching computational thinking skills to primary and secondary school-aged children via computer science and tech literacy programs taught through summer camps and after school enrichment programs.

Our main goals are to help transform children from passive technology users into passionate inventors and prepare them to become future innovators and entrepreneurs.

Our pedagogy, curriculum and lesson plans provide kids with a strong foundation to understand technology: how it works, why it works and how to think in order to invent new solutions. Computer science education is an excellent way to help kids acquire 21st century skills: critical thinking, problem-solving, collaboration, communication and creativity.

Our Approach

Currently there is no officially adopted national standards for CS in Canada. A Few school systems have begun teaching CS from Pre-K to 12th grade. As such, a cohesive progression of computer science knowledge and skills does not yet exist. We created our own comprehensive and coherent scope and sequence to articulate the full trajectory, from kindergarten to twelfth grade, that will prepare our students for college or a career. We have chosen to go beyond coding, and even computer science to teach Computational thinking.

What is Computational Thinking?

We like the definition coined by Jeannette Wing, an advocate of computational thinking, which is referenced in the European Commission’s report "Developing Computational Thinking in Compulsory Education: Implications for Policy and Practice" (December 2016).

"Computational thinking encompasses the processes, approaches and steps which we deploy to tackle problems and formulate solutions which can be carried out by a human or machine, or more generally, by combinations of humans and machines." (Wing, 2011)

The report goes on to translate this definition into plain English:

"1. CT is a thought process, thus independent from technology;

2. CT is a specific type of problem-solving that entails distinct abilities, e.g. being able to design solutions that can be executed by a computer, a human, or a combination of both."

Why Do Kids Need to Develop Computational Thinking Skills?

Level UP believes that computational thinking is an important 21st century skill which children need to start developing as soon as they begin primary school. By starting young, children will be better prepared to thrive in a technology-filled world as conscious and critical students, working individuals and citizens. Instead of only being passive technology users, they can become active inventors and innovators.

Computational thinking provides kids with a way of thinking that they can use to solve an array of problems:

  • see situations in their entirety or as inter-connected parts
  • break problems into smaller parts in order to solve them
  • analyse and structure information
  • understand how the technology and machines around them work
  • design and program technology to solve challenges

How Does Level UP Teach Computational Thinking?

Computational thinking can be taught via many subjects. We believe that one of the best ways to teach it is through computer science and digital literacy

We teach core computer science concepts (automation, algorithms, commands, loops, if-else statements, etc.) and then challenge our students to apply these concepts when designing and programming tangible solutions.

We highlight examples from everyday life to show children how technologists use computational thinking and computer science to solve problems, create new opportunities and makes our lives and those of others better (and unfortunately sometimes worse).

When the focus is on computational thinking, technical skills such as coding become secondary. Learning a programming language is important (if proper pedagogy and teaching approaches are integrated) but this knowledge can quickly become outdated as new programming languages emerge. When we teach computational thinking, our emphasis is on teaching core concepts and introducing and reinforcing thinking patterns which can be applied in a variety of situations regardless of how technology changes.

Computational thinking is a higher level, thinking skill. This means that it takes a long time to establish thinking patterns and to provide students with enough practice that it becomes second nature.

Each of our year-round courses is a mix of the following disciplines:

  • Information Technology skills help our children master the thought process to develop solutions which can be carried out by computers.
  • Computer science education helps children understand the core concepts which apply to all forms of technology. Our curriculum covers algorithmic thinking, programming, systems thinking, robotics, and specific programming languages.
  • Digital Literacy helps children understand the technology present in the world around them in order to make conscious decisions.
  • Innovation helps children transform what they learn into their own innovations. During our programs kids become comfortable with prototyping, designing, testing and iteration, all important aspects of the innovation process.