[h2_heading]BRLSI youth activities[/h2_heading]

Digital Samurai Tablet Donation

I have been volunteering at the BRLSI youth activities as a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths) ambassador for over 2 years and I finally heard of an opportunity that would allow me to help more than giving up my Saturday afternoons. BRLSI were after a way to enhance the children’s recording of the experiments by using tablet PCs. Being in IT I thought to myself ‘a problem to solve’ as most IT professionals are actually problem solvers first and IT is just our tool to accomplish that goal.

I looked around and found a decent android tablet which would do what they needed but just handing over a load of new devices would not be particularly helpful. With a few calls and a contact at Mappfia I talked through what we wanted to achieve, what the current method of recording experiments involved and how we could go about delivering a useful app that would get the children to engage more with the process of recording what they think will happen, what actually happens and why it happens in that way.

With the added bonus of being able to take pictures of the apparatus used and how everything was setup the initial trial has been a good learning exercise for both the children and us as to how we all learn and interact with technology as well as problem solve in STEM subjects.

Everyone has read about the shortage of IT and STEM professionals in the industry today and that it is only going to get worse over the next 5 years if we do not tackle it now. I believe the majority of people fall into jobs that they did not expect they would be doing. In IT in particular new technologies can rise up without you knowing whilst you are still at school. Visualization on x64 was very new when I was doing my GCSE’s. A few years ago ‘the cloud’ would have never been heard.

By transferring our skills to the next generation at a younger age we can help them find a career that they will really enjoy earlier. Imagine knowing that maths lessons teaching statistics actually allow you to measure marketing campaigns instead of just learning it to pass an exam! This will allow children to have more time to perfect their chosen skill set and give them the chance to be even better than we are.

Those IT jobs boards asking for 3 years experience on SQL 2016 when the year is 2015 are a bit of a joke now but a graduate could quite easily have 10 years or programming experience by their 18th birthday making the market much more competitive and the industry much more exciting.

Mozart could play a few instruments by the age of 5. Children of 10 are frequently writing mobile apps found on the top 10 most downloaded apps on app stores. Imagine having found a subject you love and having an extra 10 years to learn about it. How much further do you think you could push yourself and your own subject with that extra experience and knowledge under your belt?

We believe that businesses should be offering more of their resources to help those that want to learn. By doing this locally the entire community will benefit and all communities across the country will have some way of benefiting from this partnership. We will certainly be looking at how much more we can help those who want to learn, get ahead and find what they want to spend their lives doing and we will certainly be looking forward to working with those that take a similar path to ourselves.

If you are in Bath or from the surrounding areas why not check out the BRLSI youth activities.