There’s something about hackers which makes kids sit up and become interested in learning about technology.

Since mid-November, NewTechKids has been teaching a digital literacy course for all group 5 and 6 students (approx. ages 9-10) at Wereldwijs Primary School in Amsterdam Southeast. Under the theme of hacker training, students are learning about digital literacy and acquiring important critical thinking, problem-solving and tech skills. Our customized curriculum covers topics such as online safety and digital footprints, assessing apps, generative AI, using digital productivity tools and coding.

We have distinguished between ‘white hat’ hackers who work on use their hacking skills to for good (protecting others from being hacked, fighting bad hackers) and ‘black hat hackers’ who use their skills for bad (theft, data theft, illegal surveillance, etc.). Each of our class integrates a discussion on ethics.

Some examples of our class challenges:

  • creating their own phishing texts in order to train each other how to detect them
  • using an AI art generator to create social media profile photos based on a fake social media profile they previously created
  • using Google Maps to chase bad hackers through Europe under time constraints
  • teaching themselves sign language with an app to communicate secret messages to deaf people

Digital literacy goes hand in hand with technology education and teaching computer science. It’s a necessary part of 21st century education.

(Photo of social media profile picture created by a student in our ‘hacker training’ program using an AI art generator)