From Consumer to Producer of Technology with Technocamps
Dr Emma Posey, Technocamps, Aberystwyth University
Keywords: young people, producers, making
Conference Activity: Presentation Thurs 10th July
Technocamps is a partnership project between the Universities of Swansea, Aberystwyth, Bangor and South Wales that inspires young people aged 11-19 to attend workshops on a range of computing-based topics.
A key focus of Technocamps is DIY technology – enabling young people to move from a consumer to producer of technology. The Aberystwyth hub is very focused on out-of-the-box computing and working with technology away from the usual keyboard and screen. Young people enjoy hacking their way into existing tools and hardware. Knowing that they have the expertise to take something apart, modify it or build it gives young people a real confidence. Using environments where young people are regular consumers provides us with an opportunity to quickly engage with young people in production. For instance, Minecraft has been a hugely popular online environment where participants can build with others online and we have been teaching coding using Minecraft Pi (on the Raspberry Pi) as well as working with Paul Harter, Printcraft, where young people can 3D print their Minecraft creations.
I will present some of the workshops and resources Technocamps has developed with creative technologists and share some of the lesson’s learnt. Within the light of rapid developments in the Computer Science curriculum in England I will also explore how programmes of study within schools could be more cross-disciplinary. For instance, merging Computer Science with Design and Technology as well as Art.
In conclusion, I will argue that encouraging young people to be producers of technology means the UK will be more able to meet the level of expertise required to ensure a strong economy in the future. More importantly though, we will ensure that young people, living in an increasingly technologised society, will be more resilient, engaged and critically aware citizens.
Naughton. J., 2012. We need to teach our kids to code. The Observer. 1 April, pp. 8-13.
The Royal Society. 2012. Shut down or restart?, The way forward for computing in UK
Schools. 13 January.
Sennet. R., 2009. The Craftsman. Penguin Books
A question that arises from your project: By encouraging young people to be producers of technology rather than solely consumer can we ensure they are resilient, engaged and critically aware citizens?
Image Credits: Ferdia McKeogh, Technocamps participant, works on his sailing robot.