How Does Nobel Explorers Help Your Child Build Confidence?

Confidence is something every parent wants for their children. However, confidence isn’t a sort of gift we can give them. It’s something that is built.

Carl Pickhardt says that a child who lacks confidence will be reluctant to try new or challenging things because they’re scared of failing or disappointing others. They may feel stressed, anxious, frustrated, etc. That’s why, besides other benefits, we want to emphasize Nobel Explorers’ ability to help build confidence. So how do we help?

Getting to the next developmental stage

Nobel Explorers relies on something called the zone of proximal development (ZPD). ZPD is Vygotsky’s term for:
The distance between the actual development level as determined by independent problem solving and the level of potential development as determined through problem-solving under adult guidance or in collaboration with more capable peers.

In other words, ZPD is the range of skills that a child can perform with assistance but can’t (yet!) perform independently. So what is our role?

Our experts guide students

This is where our experts come into it. By becoming a Nobel Explorer, your child gets a chance to work with a team of highly-qualified facilitators, who help to activate skills and guide the experience.
They provide instructions and tools to students, so while a child might not yet be capable of doing something on their own, they’re able to complete the task with the assistance of the skilled instructor.


Peer learning

During certain periods of a child’s life, especially the teenage years, they may look to their peers more than they look to adults. Peers can provide valuable knowledge and assistance but also provide a unique comfort level at this age. Therefore, our students don’t learn only from our experts, but also their peers!
In our online STEM camp, students teach and learn from each other. Every student is better at something than the others and knows things others don’t. So, while they’re doing their project, they share that knowledge and skills with other teammates.

Nobel Explorers’ journey in short

In Nobel Explorers, students develop their ideas, solve problems along the way, and generate a product to be proud of. How? At first, students are confronted with new tasks they can’t quite do easily on their own – challenges. Then our experts help them set their goals and provide the appropriate assistance that gives the student enough of a boost to achieve the task. Also, their teammates help them with things they still have trouble with, so everybody within the team acquires and masters new hard and soft skills.
However, as time passes, students need less and less assistance. Eventually, instructions can be removed and students are able to make a website (or to code/ design something else) by themselves. And that is when we achieve our goal – children become independent and comfortable in practicing gained skills!

Our interns made the awesome website!

Giving praise and badges

During the whole Nobel Explorers’ journey, students are welcomed to share their viewpoints and ideas and every one of them is valued. And we love to give them praise (they’ve certainly deserved it!) Not only every completed task but also every effort is followed by positive reinforcement. That makes our online STEM camp a safe and supportive environment for learning and helps a student feel proud of what they’ve achieved. And our favorite praise is badging! So every time our students gain new soft skills, we award them the appropriate badge. That helps them feel more sure of themselves and more confident in what they do.
And when they build confidence in what they’ve done, they feel more comfortable in showing it to others. So they present their project to other teams, families, and friends. In this way, they tame their fear of public speaking. And as the audience grows, their self-esteem and confidence grow!



When our students master the skill of giving feedback, we award them this badge, Constructive Colonel. This time, we invite you to leave us feedback (comment below) and The Constructive Colonel is yours! 🙂

Screen Time for Kids – What Parents Fear

Today, if you ask any parent whether screen time is good for their kids, they’ll probably say it’s not. If you ask them if they nevertheless allow their kids to interact with screens, many of them will tell you they do. Although parents are aware that screen time can have a negative effect on their kids, they may not recognize that there are benefits to this interaction that shouldn’t be overlooked. So, how do we find the balance?

Fears parents have – and the good news

Screen time is passive.

Children, especially teenagers, could sit and scroll through social media for hours, right? When a child spends their screen time mindlessly, with no creativity or interaction required to progress, it’s referred to as passive screen time. Some other activities that are usually passive are watching YouTube videos, browsing the internet, and playing repetitive games.

However, screen time can be active, too! Many activities involve cognitive or physical engagement. For example, coding a website, designing digital space, and playing educational games are all considered active screen time.

Playing games affects education.

This is true if a child spends too much time playing video games or playing them instead of doing their homework or some other school-related activity. Also, many children play video games at night, resulting in sleep deprivation and inability to focus in class, among other problems.

On the other hand, many educational games can teach your child useful things. And here we don’t mean only learning math, physics, etc., or simply acquiring skills directly related to technology. Kids can learn teamwork skills, too! They can master skills like communication, collaboration, persistence, and how to be a good leader. But although educational games are beneficial, parents should be aware that they can be just as addictive. So, it’s important to limit time even for them.

Screens isolate children.

Do you have to ask your kid the same question three times before they answer it while they’re playing video games? You’re thinking That screen’s coming between me and my child! It can be, sure, but it also can be a source of new topics for you. Try talking with your child about some game they play. For example, what “the rules” are, what they’ve learned by playing it, with whom they play, etc. You could also ask your child to teach you how to play their favorite game, so you can play it together.

If you want to learn more about these fears and why they’re unjustified, watch TED Talk by Sara DeWitt

Why children should have (limited) screen time


In today’s world, it would be more harmful than beneficial to forbid your child screen time completely. Despite concerns that screens isolate children, it’s really hard for a kid to socialize if they don’t use screens. Children often talk about news they’ve read, podcasts they’ve watched, and about important things they’ve learned with their peers. So imagine your child standing around with friends and having no idea what other kids are talking about. They certainly wouldn’t feel comfortable.

Remember that many screen activities include social interaction. Think about playing video games with friends or chatting. And they may even make some new friends around the globe!




Learning new things and developing new skills.

Screen time gives us the opportunity to learn a lot of useful information. It’s easier to find something we want to learn using our screens rather than books, for example, and it makes the whole process faster. And, of course, digital skills are a must today.

Plus, there are some skills that can’t be learned in school but are necessary in the 21st century. Whatever career your child will pursue, they’ll need teamwork skills to be successful. It’s important today (and for tomorrow!) to learn the art of problem-solving, asking for and giving feedback, and further developing creativity. And that’s exactly where screen time comes into the picture! The possibility of replacing what’s missing in schools we see as one of the greatest benefits of screen time.


Screens are a part of our lives so it becomes about teaching kids how to live with them in a healthy and ethical way. – Jordan Shapiro, a research psychologist and author of “The New Childhood”

Although there has been considerable research into the effects of screen time, most of the data are still limited. That’s one of the reasons why it’s hard to define what constitutes healthy screen use. We certainly believe that screen time can lead to many problems, such as addiction, anxiety or depression, obesity, poor grades, and social isolation. But it’s increasingly a necessity these days and it undoubtedly can provide many benefits. It’s all about balance, and the kind of content your kids are engaging with! So here are two more things that we’d like you to remember.

  1. Screen time can be great but not too much of it. So don’t use screens as a default time-killer or background noise. Kids should spend time outside playing, as you already know. Many outdoor activities can be lots of fun and just waiting for you to discover them. Also, the time that the child spends with screens should be age-appropriate. The effects of three-hours-long screen time on a toddler and a teenager are pretty different, right? You can find many guidelines and apps to help you with this one, but we recommend you choose what works best for your family.
  2. Not all screen time is created equal. Help your child choose how they spend time in front of screens. Look for activities that can help them grow, learn new things, acquire new skills. And making some new friends is a great bonus!

The Benefits of Online Learning

Learning online is no longer a novelty and more and more students are opting to take online courses every day. The world’s top universities and colleges now offer online courses and it was recently noted that “The future of higher education lies with it.” (Tom Snyder, Huffington).

The popularity of online learning lies principally in its flexibility. Students do not have to be physically in a classroom but can learn remotely and frequently at their own pace. Naturally, this approach may present challenges. While learning online, students must also learn to prioritize their commitments. Good time-management and organization skills are essential for it to be effective, but those are skills which can be improved upon, and that usually do improve, along with self-discipline and responsibility, as students progress through their online courses.

Online learning can also help busy professionals get additional training and keep abreast of advances in their fields of expertise as they continue to work at their jobs.

Another great advantage of online learning is coverage. There will never be as many spots in universities as students who want to enroll in them, but with online courses, educators can reach many more students than would be possible in the traditional classroom. Moreover, everyone receives the same training, communicated in the same way to everyone participating in the course.

It is often thought that with flexibility comes a more laissez-faire approach to learning; that online courses aren’t as “serious” as more traditional ones, and that students simply can’t learn as much as they would if they were sitting in a classroom with a teacher in front of them. If you’ve ever taken an online course you’re probably aware that this criticism is unfounded. Many online courses make greater demands on students and assign more reading material than traditional ones in order to ensure students stay engaged and always have something to work on.

Online courses are designed so as to keep engagement high and help students retain the material taught in them longer. This is usually achieved through the use of media inherent in this type of learning, and also with gamification. Online teachers often find ways to make the course fun and more similar to a game than to what we usually think of when we imagine learning.

Last but not least, online learning usually means time and money savings. Students who opt for this type of learning remove the need for travel and its attendant costs. It reduces or eliminates time away from the workplace and opens a pathway to lifelong learning.

And let’s not forget our planet. The fact that we can now learn without dozens of handouts and paper-based materials does the environment a great favor that we shouldn’t take for granted.


As with anything in education, there is no one-size-fits-all answer to the question as to whether you or your student should try online learning. It is designed on the assumption that the student has some interest in the subject already and will be motivated to learn more. It also requires instructors familiar with this approach who know how to engage students and present the material in an original way, tailored for the online environment. But it is definitely worth a try. The benefits are great and any drawbacks can be overcome if dealt with in a timely fashion and with solid support. We will offer just that this summer to all students interested in online learning, combined with the great project-based learning approach:

Our new online summer STEAM camp, Nobel Explorers, is starting soon! We prepared 11 cool projects for students aged 10 to 18 who want to get a head start on their future careers. It is worth checking out if you are interested in providing your child with a summer full of learning and fun.

by Anja Anđelković