Mentoring the next generation for tomorrow today

Information Technology (“IT”) is changing, and likely faster and more unpredictably than many imagine.
We unlock the potential of the next generation who are developing and shaping the innovations to come.

How do we best prepare our children for the digital future?

This question is central to what we are focusing on. And we need your support.

As a parent – to give us feedback on what you think would be useful and helpful for your children to experience.

As a sponsor – so that we can develop and implement ideas for the limitless and imaginative future, to further innovation.

As a partner and collaborator – so you can showcase your solutions and thought leadership.

We are holding a show case event at the University of Portsmouth on 3rd August 2018.

We are also holding a think tank on 21st September 2018, which is Sharing Our Solutions day. The event will be live on the south-coast of England but we also intend to have a live streaming function.

Oskar, 5 years-old, creating a robot at Tate Modern, London.

Some of the parents’ responses to the question we pose:

It’s an interesting question; while I no longer live in Britain (but hope to again at some point down the line, most likely when my 3 yo is school-aged), it’s definitely an issue, but I don’t think the solve is purely to do with tech skills. My teenager has ‘tech’ classes at school (we’re in Seattle, so theoretically surrounded by amazing tech all the time, but the more interesting stuff is all elective and/or difficult to schedule), but I actually think part of the problem is breaking them out separately.

I’d love to see real cohesion between tech and creative and critical thinking integrated in the classroom; I can teach anyone to code, but I can’t teach people who have no real exposure to it to write and present – so many people come into tech prepared to do only one thing, and it’s tough to get them beyond the entry level if they don’t have the creative and people skills. This happens in the US at the college level for those who seek it out and can afford it (e.g. in the digital humanities, in library and information science programs), but it would *fantastic* to see something similar beginning at the elementary level – fluency in both should be a foundation. 

I’m a mum of a 5year old and until he started school last September it didn’t even cross my mind that he doesn’t know how to use a computer.
He can navigate through an iPad with his eyes shut but has no idea about the computer in our sitting room. In my opinion it would be great to show them how powerful technology could be and that they can create anything they put their mind to.
I would take my child to an event which showcases technology but it would have to have some “wow” things that would hook him in and make him interested .
Maybe a physical interaction with tech ( AR might be good for this )
Or something he can create in a workshop that requires minimum amount of work but gives that same amazement feeling you get when you coded “hello world “ for the first time.

I think we need to be able to feel confident enough that our kids can make independent decisions about how they use technology while also learning about how it can solve problems and innovate to make things better. It’s about nurturing their creative and logical minds together with a moral compass. No idea where to start though! I’m sure there are many others wanting to achieve the same thing.

I’ve been thinking about this subject a lot, both in terms of what my parents did that got me interested in programming and science, and my own daughter.

My family had a Dragon 32 computer (showing my age) and whilst it wasn’t hugely kid friendly, as an 8 year old, I got a lot of satisfaction out of doing simple programming, and it gave me the confidence when I was older to have a go at programming and certainly influenced my career choices – so I know first hand how important this is.

I’ve started looking at toys and games for my four year old – she has a little robot mouse that she can ‘program’ to steer round mazes, he’s good fun. When she’s a bit bigger we’ll look at Minecraft and getting started with programming, she’s quite interested in my raspberry pi.  We’ve had a couple of visits to the amazing Robots exhibition at MOSI in Manchester which she’s loved – I’m just aiming for her to have fun and feel confident engaging with tech, and for all this just a part of normal playtime alongside other toys – her Christmas list last year was for a pram and a robot 🙂

I’ve not seen her school doing a lot around tech yet, but she’s only in reception – and I’m really happy to do lots of this at home with her because I enjoy it too.  I imagine we’d both like to go to an event about the future of technology – you’d just need to make sure there were plenty of robots!!

My sense (although we’ve been away for 18m) is that many schools don’t have the resources or internal expertise to do much, and I think as you and someone else said, we need to holistically teach tech+creativity+critical thinking+fail and learn by failing type skills… When AI automates so many jobs in the not too distant future, it’s these skills which will be in demand. 

As ever, it is the kids whose parents have the means to pay for coding club/whatever that get this and everyone else falls behind unless they stumble upon a passion for tech and are motivated to learn.