Kid Tech founder calls for better use of ICT in classrooms
25 June 2014 | 0
Irish educators need to re-think the way Information and Communications Technology (ICT) education is delivered and start integrating digital into classrooms as a priority. That’s according to 15-year-old tech entrepreneur Harry McCann who was speaking today at the end-of-year showcase of Future Creators, a programme for 13-16 year olds in Dublin’s Liberties. The initiative was developed by the Digital Hub Development Agency (DHDA), funded by the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, and run in collaboration with the National College of Art and Design (NCAD).
Today’s showcase featured the work from 24 young people, whose projects included mobile applications ranging from a self-help app containing information on depression, bullying and self-harm, to a virtual wardrobe app which enables users to be their own personal stylist, interactive gaming apps, as well as a short horror film.
McCann has been coding since the age of 12, attending and mentoring at the CoderDojo since the age of 13, and last November set up his own company, Kid Tech, providing courses and workshops in computer game development and design, Web design, coding and programming.
“I am passionate about everything to do with technology and I can see that my passion is shared by all of the Future Creators participants here today,” he said. “I would tell any young person hoping to have a career in digital media and technology that no idea is too crazy and you have to really think outside the box. Never give up if something doesn’t work for you at first, just try going about it a different way.
“Technology is here to stay and there is an expected increase of demand for high-level ICT skills in Ireland over the next five years. The Future Creators programme is the exact model that schools should be using for teaching digital media and technology skills in a fun and informal environment. It is crucial that Irish educators start integrating digital into the classroom, improving resources and infrastructure, and educating young people so they have the skills they need for third level education and the workplace.”
Speaking about this year’s Future Creators graduates, Edel Flynn, CEO of Digital Hub Development Agency, said: “Since inception in 2011, the feedback we have received about the Future Creators programme is overwhelmingly positive. We have heard about the multitude of benefits that the students glean from being involved including: the individual attention they receive from tutors; the freedom to focus on projects they are interested in or have a natural ability or skill; the peer-to-peer learning and collaboration; the opportunity to meet and work with fellow students from a mix of different schools and diverse backgrounds; and most importantly the growth in self-confidence and fun that they have throughout the learning sessions.”
This year’s cohort started in November 2013 and have received training in image manipulation; stop-motion and Flash animation; social media and blogging; coding; and filmmaking. As part of the programme, the group also took part in workshops held in the NCAD Industrial Design, Textile and Media departments, where they experienced 3D printing, laser cutting, digital printing and video editing.
At today’s event, the students received special certificates of recognition from the National College of Art and Design. The work they created over the course of the year was on display, including the short films and apps focussed on self-help, fashion and gaming. A short film by the Future Creators Alumni group was also shown during the event. The alumni group attended a fourteen-week film project at NCAD that was funded by The Ireland Funds.