5 ways to inspire the next generation to take up technology

5 ways to inspire the next generation

Today was a busy lunchtime at MintTwist Towers as we tweeted and hashtagged for Social Media Week.

You can see the conversation by searching for #smwnextgen, as well as looking on the MintTwist and Lady Geek Twitter pages. If you took part, thank you!

From our conversation, it’s clear technology has a serious image problem, not just with children but to the wider world. @SteveLevine1 posted a link about the latest TechCrunch Disrupt in San Francisco where the behaviour of male participants left something to be desired. You can read about it here – it highlights the dark side of technology industry.

The stereotypical pale bearded man with glasses still prevails and it’s depressing. Who wants to aspire to that, male or female? Technology professionals (I’m one of them) need to get out from behind their desks (or darkened bedrooms) and start engaging with schools and young people. If we don’t, the industry perception will never change. We will be doing our part on Thursday 10th October with Bentleywood School as part of BIMA’s D-day.

The other big issue is the out-of-date school curriculum. Hands-up if you remember Mavis Beacon in your IT class like @seocolin. Mavis has taught a generation to type but what we really need is Mavis Beacon Programming in our schools (@Lovelivemusicuk suggested combining both typing and coding). Introducing coding to the school curriculum would take planning but it is possible. The Raspberry Pi would make the endeavour cost-effective, and if done from a young age, could also help break down the gender barriers that unfortunately exist in the industry.

5 ways to inspire

1. Don’t think pink (or Star Trek).

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2. If you are in the tech industry and male, don’t behave like a gorilla. Women – don’t accept it.

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3. Buy your child a Raspberry Pi and teach them to code (you can learn too!)

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4. Encourage your children to explore and be creative with technology. Don’t let them sit in a dark bedroom coding. That’s not the real world.

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5. Find a tech or coding club for your child (male or female) to attend.
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