Our gadgets are getting smaller and increasingly require barely any human intervention. Taxis, food, music, and even the weekly shop appear as if by magic at a simple voice command. But as our computer-based solutions become invisible, are we actually less in control? Maker culture doesn’t only get in the middle and involve the user, it’s about us learning to create the technology we need. It’s truly DIY, not just for those in the industry, and the great news is that kids are recognised as being at the forefront of the learning.
The other day, a friend told Jordan Erica Webber that her tech-savvy dad has used the Raspberry Pi – a small and very cheap computer – to build all sorts of creative projects. For example, he created bark-activated door that allowed the family dog to let herself out for her morning pee.
Maker culture is on the rise. This kind of tech-based extension of DIY culture covers things like 3D printing and robotics, involving learning how to make physical things yourself. Many view it as a movement against consumerism, a way to avoid just being a passive user of tech, with all that entails.
But it’s not just people who work in tech who are participating in maker culture. As technology improves, people and companies are coming up with ways to make this kind of DIY practice more accessible, even to children.
So how do computer lessons in schools compare with computer lessons of yore? And what impact will a more computer-savvy workforce have on society in 20 years time?
This week, Jordan Erica talks to a group of school children in London, who are a part of Kano Club, using computer kits and others like it to learn how to build their own computers.