iSchoolyards: kids + tech = awesome

On Monday primary school kids from across Australia gathered at the State Library of Victoria.

The tweenhood from Northern Territory to Tasmania – “our future’s leaders” – came together in Melbourne for one hot topic: digital learning.

From all accounts you’d think they’d been invited to have playlunch with Justin Beiber, the excitement and enthusiasm was that palpable.

The event, ‘Listen2Learners‘ was the anti-thesis to the classic isolated, socially awkward child oft portrayed when we pair kids + technology.

Students showcased a range of awesome projects, from running their own radio station to preparing a cybersafety program for incoming primary students.

 

photo credit: Tania Sheko

 

The audience, a mix of business, government and community sector listened on as the kids demoed their creations.  Many had to submit applications for their ideas, and defend their concept against the ‘tough questions’; all processes that exist in my ‘grown-up’ world at work.   Learning to think critically through ideas to creation is a valuable lesson to be learning so early in the game.

 

Photo credit: Tania Sheko

 

Funnily enough, an old primary school bud Caz Pringle over at ThinkTank Media wrote a post this week which paints a drastically different image of kids increasing use of technology, the dark side…empty playground swings and a growing spawn of fat, geek kids.

 

A whole generation of Cartman's?

Could we be incubating a whole generation of Cartman's?

 

Considering Caz is a fellow Gen-Yer and grew up with the big bad Internets, it’s a surprising and provoking change to hear this side of the coin voiced from someone so well-versed in the WWW. (It’s inspired this post in response, I didn’t make it to the Listen2Learners but I was determined to provide some quality social education examples to alleviate the anxiety of picturing a generation of South Park’s Cartman’s IRL…)

Back to the happy, glass-half full juice.

I’d like to think the future is in good hands. Moreover, we better recognise the present is already in the hands of 7 year olds.

My favourite example was kids from Prospect Primary School who became teachers, and schooled their ol’ teach and 69 other teachers in how to make movies.

Using their experience in making films about animals for ‘zoo-tube’, these students set a challenge for adult learners – to learn movie making from scratch in order to make a one minute movie in one day on location at the Adelaide Zoo.*

Empowering and valuable learning for the kids right there….and, Zoo-tube!

These kids are so cool for school.

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