How to encourage kids into tech in Christchurch – 2 practical ways to help
As kids head back to school over the next few weeks there are two major factors affecting what is essentially the upstream future of our industry – it starts with kids becoming confident and interested in technology.
I was having a conversation with Leon Maritz who volunteers to run code club at Ao Tawhiti school at the summit last year and he told me it happens between 8 and 11 years old. At 8 they say, coding, yeah I did that at school its fun” but by 11 years old if they haven’t had a try it’s more like. “Coding, that sounds hard , I couldn’t do that”. The confidence to try changes on a dime over the space of a few short years.
Firstly it requires that children have access to devices and technology to explore and grow. After having chopped off an arm for my 11 year old to have the privilege of taking a laptop to school I am acutely aware that families in my own community are struggling to put food on the table so owning a device would be out of reach.
The ideal situation would be that all schools have computer labs set up so any kid can log on and use a computer when they need, not relying on parents income level to determine access. Instead at the moment it is left to chance.
Luckily, we have the award winning Digital Futures team who have developed a fully circular approach – recycling and refurbishing old donated devices while giving kids the chance to learn how to fix hardware and then gifting those fixed devices to kids who need them for school.
If you have laptops or computers that are less than 10 years old with a working power cable that you aren’t using then please consider donating them to RAD through one of the the Christchurch drop off points: Works shared working spaces in the SALT district or the EPIC centre both have collection points.
The second part is of course, teachers confidence and skills to teach technology if they have grown up without exposure to coding, hardware and engineering.
I would love to see teachers receive Professional development funding to take some of our amazing short tertiary courses. Obviously it take teachers to help with code club but many teachers were saying that it was above their skill level
This is again where Digital Futures is thinking outside the box and have created the Otautahi Outreach programme about 18 months ago.
The feedback that they were getting from teachers looking to start a Code Club was that Code Club was above their skill and confidence level. That meant they simply weren’t teaching Digital Technologies (which is a compulsory subject area) to their students. Kids were missing out!
So now they have developed an in-classroom delivered mentorship programme for teachers – it’s sounds like it has really well; teachers and kids love it, and even better, it’s got a sustainable learning pathway with Code Club. But also teachers teach teachers within their school, which just exponentially grows the impact.
Are you looking for an opportunity to give back this year? Here’s an idea!
They need volunteers to give an hour a week to help teachers build the digital capabilities of the next generation.
Join the programme which mentors teachers to build their skills and confidence to deliver the Digital Technologies curriculum, and at the end of our engagement, we establish a Code Club at the school so the learning continues. These Clubs need an extra person or two to help the teacher make sure all the kids are engaged.
You don’t have to be a ninja coder, there are full project instructions available and often it is simply being creative through play!
You do need to know that these schools are in lower decile areas – they’re the ones that need this support the most.
You’ll be included as part of the mentorship programme and will receive a solid onboarding and ongoing support
If this is something you’d like to support financially to support the future of our industry, they are also looking for support partners. They have some impressive impact stats – take a look!
Keen? Have questions? Flick an email to CEO Bronwyn at firstname.lastname@example.org
We’d love to help get 15 Canterbury Tech volunteers to assist this year. Could this be you?