INNOVATION

Ways To Prepare Kids For A Digital Future

Technology Will Save Us is helping kids use technology and creativity together.

21/03/2017 2:42 AM AEDT | Updated 25/03/2017 8:18 PM AEDT
Tech Will Save Us
The emerging generation will be fighting fiercely to find work that really matters to them.

When Bethany Koby became a mother she was worried that the world of toys is neither creative nor productive. She quickly realised that education doesn't really move fast enough to keep up with the pace of technology.

With a background in design, Koby began to think about how to physically present technology skills to young people.

"Technology is generally introduced to kids as a consumptive device or tool. It's not used as a medium for parents to get creative with. As a designer, the way I make sense of the world is by making things by seeing if they work and making decisions," Koby told The Huffington Post Australia.

Tech Will Save Us
Parents can help their children find the skill and confidence to find their careers with technology.

"I have a four year old and he's started to get homework and have picture books we read together at night and I ask myself, 'Is this really the best we can do?' Why are we pandering to kids with irrelevant narratives that don't really connect with their lives."

Koby, along with co-founder Daniel Hirschmann, created Technology Will Save Us; providing make-it-yourself kits and digital tools to help kids make, play, code and invent using technology. She literally started her award winning tech business at her kitchen table, inspired by the urge to help kids prepare for their digital futures.

Tech Will Save Us
Bethany Koby is the co-founder of Technology Will Save Us.

"First we made a little kit, then we presented a big workshop in the UK at an arts festival. We had hundreds of parents and kids making this little musical instrument and we saw how engaged the kids were, and how quickly they were able to pick up the skills. So that led us to creating products and digital tools that can help people make technology anywhere."

Technology Will Save Us (comprising of DIY kits that help kids create and play using digital components) is now available in 97 countries, has been acquired as a design fixture by the Museum of Modern Art, and Koby is recognised as one of the UK's Top 50 Leaders.

Koby told HuffPost Australia it's an exciting time to be a child.

"It's pretty awesome to be a kid with the rise of entrepreneurship. I think there are a lot of people that want to have meaningful careers in the generations that are emerging and they'll fight fearlessly to find work that really matters to them," Koby said.

Tech Will Save Us
Children can easily learn to make their own games. Here's a dot racer game made by a child using the DIY Gamer Kit.

"That fearlessness will create a generation of highly motivated ambitious young people that are using tech to solve real problems and that's the part that gets me so excited. We're trying to make technology accessible to more people so its central to the way they'll create a future for themselves and everyone else."

Koby is also excited that there is a real renaissance of hardware where, for the first time in history, technology is widely available.

"3D printing, micro controllers and circuit boards are less expensive than ever before and that means for the younger generation, the world of physical technology can now be proto-typed and used in ways that were never possible."

Tech Will Save Us
The eclectro dough heart cells can be made using a DIY Electro dough kit.

"Our goal is about helping children find the skill and confidence to find their careers with technology. Tech is just another medium, another way for humans to express themselves. I don't look at tech as being an add-on to an industry, but a fundamental part of how we do things."

"The secret to helping kids learn tech skills is by making it fun. if kids don't like it, they're not going to want to learn, which is completely reaonsable. If you're six, you just want to have fun! The world of educational toys is boring and not fun. But with technology, it doesn't have to be dull."

For the parents: this is apparently the must-have tech toy - it's called The Mover.

Tech Will Save Us
The Mover is a tech gadget kids can make themselves and programme it to move when they do.

The Mover gets kids moving, building and coding as it reacts to movement with light and can be coded in a variety of ways. It's said to be as simple as making a Lego house and reacts to your movement in any way you wish to programme it - from acting as a light sabre to using it as a police car light.

"It's important to remember the world of tech doesn't have to be a screen. You can be engaged in ways that are not a screen. Tech can enable customisation to really make a child's imagination wander and that's a great tool for their future," Koby said.

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