There is a moment of joy and wonder when a child first takes apart a toy. As she opens up the toy, she reshapes her understanding of the world and her place in it. In this moment, she has learned a new way that she can interact with the world. And with that knowledge she is able to put that toy back together – perhaps not exactly the way it was before, which is perfect since now her toy is like no other in the world. And while she may not know it yet, she has changed who she is. She is no longer just a consumer, a member of the target market of the toy and someone who uses the things given to her. She is now a Maker of Things, a creator, an author of her world.
This Maker Moment is the inspiration for Hackademy, a Waterloo-based social venture whose goal is to Â teach people to code, to better understand the world around them and to develop Â these skills with other people within their own community. We want to both demystify and remove barriers to technology for all.
The Felt Lab, with its playground of technologies, was a perfect location to host our course. Students and parents alike were able to learn about a variety of different new ways tech is being used in the world today. Augmented reality, in particular, was a hit with the students and many installed apps like Aurasma and Layar on their smart phones so they could play with the exhibits in the Lab.
We were also fortunate to have Bernie Rohde, a member of Kitchenerâs Kwartzlab makerspace, on hand to show off his wearable LED technologies. Kids had the chance to play with and wear âbadgesâ created for the November 1 NightShift festival, see how sound was used to activate displays of lights, and learn how art and technology can intersect in compelling ways.
Our team had a great time and we hope to be able to introduce more people in future to the Felt Labâs work!
Hackademy is a social innovation venture in Waterloo Region teaching coding and technology literacy via face-to-face learning and community mentorship. We are committed to providing an open and welcoming environment for all, particularly those groups who have traditionally faced barriers in entering technical fields.Â Hackademy will be running weekly sessions and periodic workshops for children and youth in 2015; for more information please contact.