Smartphones are not just for Christmas!

17 Oct

Have you ever noticed that no matter how many toys you buy your kid, they would always prefer a mobile phone (or even better an iPad or computer). From the age of 6 months and until eternity, I presume, smartphones are yet unbeaten in their capacity to engage kids. Parents of my kids friends and me are running out of excuses, trying to delay the inevitable pleas of our offsprings: “Mummy can I have an iPhone please!!!” (for Christmas or Birthday or Easter or end of school or just anytime soon, please please).

So it is not incidental then that a lot of smart, bright minds would take this Insight and decide to do something about it.

Last week’s #codingforkids Barcamp at the Guardian’s headquarters was dedicated to interesting discussions and tangible outcomes to effectively solve the question of how do we use the attraction of technology but turn it from a purely consumption mechanism into one of Creation.

How do we use the power of technology to introduce kids to magic? To empower them to have new modes of expression, creation and ownership?

The discussion featured three speakers:

Daniel Appelquist, Vodafone R&D who spoke about re-evoking the magic of computing;

Kirsten Campbell Howes, educational technologist who spoke how coding can be incredibly satisfying and empower kids to achieve.

Matthew Knight, who referenced us as a ‘transitional generation, who still knew analog’, but who are getting adapted to the fast-paced rhythm of innovation

The 9 breakaway discussions that followed raised and debated the question whether bringing up the new generation of developers is up to schools, parents or kids themselves.

Taking young kids (5-8) as an example, afterschool activities would be the best way to engage them. The ‘how’ was more difficult: even if some progressive schools would allow coding classes and afterschool clubs, the teachers of the classes need to be passionate and literate about the subject, so ‘do we ask teachers to learn how to code or to we teach developers how to teach’?

The result was a number of pledges that people offered to make. Yummy & Olympic has offered to create an engaging format for #codingforparents events and share the materials for other parents to get inspired.

We believe that education for young kids starts with parents and their mindset. Interestingly, Forbes have written on the subject as well, putting parents in the driving seat.



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