Day 153 – TedxKids@Brussels, part 2
First thing during the break, we headed for the coffee, and then the feedback from our kids. ‘How’s it going guys? Are you enjoying it?’
It’s difficult getting answers from kids glued to the latest Ps3 program (there were serious concerns that the game consoles in the break area were permanently available to St John’s student’s, from both the kids – ‘I might need to change schools?’ To their teachers – ‘will we have to provide them too?’).
On further investigation, I am pleased to report that St John’s kids do not regularly have access to banks of Game machine’s…… it was just part of the conference.
The real Part 2 for me of TedxKids@Brussels, followed the speakers after the Morning Break, we were ready and raring to go;
We kicked off after the coffee break with Ed Baafi, the founder of the Modkits programming environment.
The interesting part of his presentation, was when you see how these Gen D (digital) guys map what has happened and what they predict to happen.
I think I missed most of this, growing up in sunny Cornwall, as the digital revolution took off in 1975 with the access to computers. All I remember is the hot summer of 1976, when we all took to the beaches! Can you believe it, computers were being sold and built by hand as early as 1976! And CP Gilmore predicted in 1978 that everyone would have not only one computer at home in the future, some people would have two!
It’s sometimes hard to remember that actually we were only exposed (well some of us and I wasn’t one of them in the early days) to the internet in 1995. And since then, life has moved so fast, you can’t stop to take a breath or you’ll never catch up. In ’99 blogging started, ’01 wikipedia, and let’s not forget Facebook in ’04 to Harvard students only! And what about some of the things you haven’t heard of, but are predicted as big for our kids in the future…..
- Fab Labs in ’05 – A Fab Lab (fabrication laboratory) is a small-scale workshop offering digital fabrication.
- Hackerspaces in ’07 – Hackerspaces are community-operated physical places, where people can meet and work on their projects.
- Scratch programming in ’07 (this one I can thoroughly recommend downloading, though not easy!)
- Maker Bot, 3D printing in ’09
Now the next guy impressed me, Maarten Lens-Fitzgerald, who is in recovery from cancer, but is so out there, that I was already following him without realising it on Twitter, as he is the DutchCowboy!
His focus was Augmented Reality, that is how will information be layered in the future on top of the information that we see with our eyes! Get your gsm out and look and learn! AR was used to set up the uninvited art expo at the Moma in NYC . And to bring the past to the present, in terms of the history of the Berlin Wall, when you stand in front of it. It’s also used as a major marketing tool in product placement and information….. it’s all coming via your mobile phone!
Next up was Mark Frauenfelder, who launched Maker Magazine.
Now this was a magazine I’d come across on the internet, and with a DIY husband, should have probably pushed this out there for my family. (although to be fair, I think he does seriously know how to do everything!). Mark has been involved in Wired mag, the Boing Boing blog, and is so DIY minded, I think my Hubbie would have kissed the ground he walks on….. His mag and his followers have given ideas on how to move a bird feeder so slowly that you can take photo’s, used bacon cooking as an alarm smell, and developed a tea bag popper that avoids tea stewing! And I am definitely going to look up the article on how to make an automated Chicken Coop door……..
His talk focused on creating a school where kids could learn these skills, learn to DIY, instead of teaching them to be scholars. And on top of this, it is proved the more you use your hands the more your brain develops!
He pointed us in the direction of a few websites with interesting things to build’
And of course, start playing with Google sketchup!
Last before lunch, was Rodrigo Arbodela, whose message was that Children are a Mission, not a Market. He s from the Non Profit “One Laptop per Child’.
His organisation has managed to deliver 2 million computers to kids in 36 months, and equip all the school age kids in Uruguay with a laptop!
He is basically vaccinating against ignorance. Give kids an education, in the easiest possible way.
The theory goes that every child should be equal, whether they live in Africa or Brussels. And we should give them the tools to spread the word themselves. Kids can become teachers. Teachers in the current world should facilitate, and empower kids to teach each other. That’s how to reach 1 billion kids!
Unfortunately Cory Doctorow got lost somewhere in Belgium (as you do!), so I’ve included his video from TEDx before the lunch break, more tomorrow….