As part of London Technology Week, Dragon Hall Trust (Covent Garden) in the heart of London’s West end district hosted a ‘Tech Day’ showcasing the launch of their ‘Innovation & Technology Hub’ with an aim to bridge the digital divide for children and young people. This event was open for children within the age range of 8 to 11 years old from 4pm to 6pm, and for 12+ age (including young people and adults) from 6pm to 9pm.
We will be showcasing the work we are doing with Young People to Bridge the Digital Divide and give them access to technology including 3D Printing, Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, Coding, 3Doodler Pens, Makey Makey, Internet Radio, Mobile Application Development and more.
During this event, many exciting technology workshops and demonstrations were available for people to interact with, getting hands-on experience with an introduction to Scratch, 3D printing technology, creating smart phone applications, and other technologies being showcased.
STEMettes (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) an organisation who’s mission is to
inspire the next generation of females into Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) fields by showing them the amazing women already in STEM.
STEMettes representatives were present hosting a Code Club. If the UK’s research institutions are to continue growing at pace, it is important that young people of all backgrounds, regardless of gender and ability are encouraged into STEM research areas. Females are currently underrepresented within the STEM subject areas, STEMettes is working to redress this imbalance. Maggie Aderin-Pocock who recently became a presenter on the long running UK BBC astronomy programme ‘The Sky at Night’ is an inspiration for many young people.
Another inspirational story for girls and young women is the innovation of the Soccket football, created by female undergraduates at Harvard University (USA) with an initial model appearing in 2010. A Social Enterprise has been setup by two of the original inventors called Uncharted Play.
Code Club learning sessions enabled hands-on participation using Scratch, and AppShed which is a web based HTML 5 application development platform. These learning environments are available via many computing platforms (such as a Raspberry Pi), with training materials sourced from GitHub.
DIY technology kits from “Technology Will Save Us” were available for hands-on experience including Arduino, DIY Gamer, DIY Soldering, DIY Electro-dough, DIY Instrument and other inspiring kits for all ages to create and learn.
Altergaze a Kickstarter project by Liviu Berechet Antoni, is an amazing 3D visualisation effect with a pair of goggles and an app you download to your smart phone. The goggles can be 3D printed and both goggles and lenses are available from Altergaze. I highly recommend this project.
Draw And Race is an amazing 3D VR (Virtual Reality) simulation project by Robert Merrifield, imaged sourced from paper drawings, including landscaping with play-dough or plasticine. Think of drawing on paper your own Scalextric track with mountain terrain, placing markers indicating direction of travel, and then take a VR journey through your created landscape. I highly recommend this project.
I had a throughly enjoyable time and I am encouraged that such learning and development opportunities are opening for young people, especially with such stronghold austerity measures still in place. It is action by local people through social enterprises and other charitable organisations which is enabling change, with a ground-upwards approach.