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Inspiring the next generation – Workshop at Wyborne Primary School

Last week, MakerClub ran workshops at Wybourne Primary School in London. Here, Greenwich Club Manager Heman, tells us what they got up to. 

We have seen some technologies integrated into the classroom for some time now, the computer being the most obvious example. However, as innovation in technology has become so widespread, particularly in Europe and USA, we do not want young pupils to feel left behind.  This is why at MakerClub we believe it is important to not only use technology, but also be able to create with it.   

Open-source technology, digital fabrication and crowd-funding, has paved the way for inventors as young as 8 years old to create, as Omkar has shown.  

Last week, we headed off to Wyborne Primary School to teach two Year 5 classes, focusing our attention on teaching them the necessary skills and knowledge to help them develop and invent with technology.

Robotics, programming and rapid prototyping.   

While we were there, the pupils got their hands on our very own micro-controller, the Hornet Board and programmed a servo motor using block based coding to make it move. Out of simple craft materials and basic coding, they had learnt how quick it can be to understand technology and create with it. From there they then created their very own walking/ dancing robot!  

 

Although it’s not as easy it sounds, in turn, they also developed their psychomotor, digital and hands-on skills to get more of an understanding on how to actually make a walking robot. Design consideration and thinking was needed as they thought about the materials to use, how it should be programmed, weight, grip and center of gravity.

As you can imagine, there was some trouble along the way but as Edison said, you don’t fail 1000 times, you just take 1000 steps to make it work.   

And even 3 of the advanced students, who had already learnt about these topics as regular members of the MakerClub in Greenwich, were well aware, quick to progress and enthusiastic to share their knowledge with the class!

By the end, even the teachers learnt how in just one session they can create with technology and how beneficial it can be incorporating STEAM activities in their teaching. If you would like to be part of the movement and embrace the future, click here to register your interest.

The Rise of the Robots – Workshop at City and Islington College

What jobs were people doing 100 years ago? We were in the midst of World War One and approaching the end of the second industrial revolution. We had electricity, mass production, automotive and aerospace industries.

Technology has already transformed the industries that were commonplace for the jobs of our parents and grandparents.

So what does the world of work look like for the young people who are now leaving education? And looking even further ahead, what about in another 100 years from now? These are the questions MakerClub explored with staff and digital ambassadors at City and Islington College.

Will robots replace the jobs we currently aspire to? Such as Teachers? Doctors? Lawyers? What will we do when we’ve built robots to carry out these jobs? Is there anything robots won’t be able to do?

Our conclusion was that robots would struggle with the creative and social aspects of certain jobs. But where will the robots come from? Someone has to design and engineer these impressive, intelligent machines…

 

It’s no longer enough simply to be able to use technology; you need to be able to create with it.

 

With the rise of the Maker Movement, access to maker spaces, more affordable manufacturing technologies and open educational resources we all have the power to disrupt big industry and invent from the comfort of our own homes. So what better way to start than by prototyping our very own walking robots!

Although some robots were more successful than others, we all learnt that failing is a really important part of the creative process and something we shouldn’t be afraid of.

For many of the staff and young people in the room, it was their first experience at programming – every team wrote a simple program to make their robots move, developing key skills in computational thinking, essential for the future world of work.

Kerry Vandersteen, Digital Education Consultant at the College said:

 

Our staff and students had a lot of fun and were greatly inspired by the possibilities of the maker movement and disruptive technologies.“

 

The rise of the robots is real but that doesn’t mean that humans will become obsolete. The future world of work needs creative thinkers, inventors, designers and engineers. At MakerClub we run practical STEAM workshops which introduce and develop skills including programming, creative thinking, collaboration and robotics.

Be a part of the movement, embrace the future – click here to register your interest.

 

MakerClub Summer Competition Winners!

In aid of International Day of Friendship at the end of July, MakerClub launched our very own summer competition to celebrate.

The Great Mate Game Make Club Competition!

(have a go at saying that fast!)

The aim of the game (see what I did there) was to recreate an existing board game or invent one of our own!

Using our epic Maker skills we designed, prototyped, 3D printed and laser cut all summer long to create the next big board games. Keep your eyes on the shelves this Christmas, these games will surely make it into the toy charts?!

At MakerClub HQ we would like to say a big well done to everyone that entered our summer competition. The judging was certainly not easy but out of 22 entries we narrowed it down to a shortlist of 6 before sending it off to the clubs to be judged by the makers themselves!

Congratulations to the winners and runners up – voted for by YOU!

Join the next generation of STEM Superheroes!

 

We are in the throes of a new industrial revolution.  

Dismiss it as a buzzword or fad at your peril; the revolution is real, and it’s happening now.  Quietly in cafes, in bedrooms and in makerspaces, the next generation of Mark Zuckerbergs and Elon Musks are working, and they’re coming to eat the world.

A world where if you dream it, you can make it

It’s no longer enough, simply to be able to use technology.  We must analyse, interpret, connect and create!  We must be learn to be confident technology makers, not just passive technology consumers.  

This shift requires not only technical knowledge, but a whole new set of learning and life  skills and digital literacies that can be combined and applied instantly to whatever new situation or piece of technology you find yourself presented with.

We think the younger you get into good habits, learning how to actively use technology creatively and practically, the better.

So let’s get inventing!

In our clubs all over the UK, hundreds of young inventors aged 8-13 are fast becoming the next generation of STEM superheroes (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths).

At weekly sessions, our members design, code, break, build, print and craft their way through a curriculum designed to give them the practical and scientific foundation they need in order to start getting whatever amazing inventions are in their head, out into the real world.

 It’s pretty awesome.

Want to know more?

Click here to book a free trial here at your nearest MakerClub!

 

Why MakerClub is the club your child has been looking for their whole life.

So, you’re reading this because you know a kid aged 8-13.  

This kid is a smart cookie.  

They like video games, coding, inventing things and tech, but these aren’t things you can typically do in a group, so perhaps they usually do them alone in their bedroom.  In fact, perhaps you’ve got an inkling that they’re using their smarts to plan a secret world takeover, one minecraft map at a time.

Maybe they aren’t into theatre, dance or sports and it’s difficult to find an extracurricular club that really sparks their interest.

You want to find them somewhere to grow.

Somewhere they can get their teeth into projects that interest them, flex their creative muscles and meet like-minded friends (because we all know when it comes to taking over the world, two or three or four heads are better than one).

Welcome to MakerClub.

Our mission is to turn kids into inventors.

To build a world-wide squad of creative thinkers, designers and problem solvers, ready to take on the world and remake it for the better.

We run a network of clubs in fully-equipped maker spaces all over the UK for hundreds of young makers aged 8-13.

Everything they need at their fingertips.

At weekly sessions, our members use Computer Aided Design (CAD), Electronics, Coding, 3D printers and Laser Cutters to build their way through a curriculum designed to give them the practical and scientific foundation they need in order to invent.

Our curriculum was developed with experts from all different industries and technical specialisms – from engineers and programmers to teachers and academics – to give them just the right combination of skills that they need to start taking their ideas out of their brain and into the real world!

Want to know more?

Click here to book in for a free trial at your nearest MakerClub!

Aspirations Academies

Being surrounded by the latest gadgets and gizmos from a young age and using technology is nothing more than second-nature to most young adults who are often considered to be digital natives.

That being said, we’re still faced with facts and statistics claiming that we don’t have enough employees with the relevant digital skills to fulfill the demand of our growing digital economy. The British Chamber of Commerce claims that a massive 75% of businesses in the UK have reported a digital skills shortage within their employee base.

The Aspirations Academies Trust recognises that we are in a fast-changing digital world and are taking it upon themselves to up-skill their students through hands-on employability projects across their network of schools and sixth forms. This is done by connecting their students to industry professionals, giving the students an insight into their industry through project-based learning.

MakerClub recently worked with the students from Magna Academy in Poole, creating a detailed curriculum project delivered over 10 weeks of workshops, providing an immersive learning experience, better preparing for employment.

The students were given a brief by MakerClub to create and present a prototype of a new tech-product which solves a real-world problem. From looking at how technology is currently shaking industries with the ability to connect devices with IoT and manufacturing products at high speeds and low costs with 3D printing, the students were paving their way to being the next disruptors and entrepreneurs of the tech industry.

The project allowed the students the chance to champion different roles, from ‘Customer Researchers and Marketers’ to ‘Product Designers’.  They experienced being in roles that they may have never truly understood what the jobs actually means, breaking down the stigma so they feel confident and the ability to apply for such roles.

Giving students a risk-free environment allowed them to be bold and creative with their ideas and designs. The real-world ‘disruptive’ problem the students of Magna Academy wanted to contribute to solving was ‘fatigue when driving’. This is a topic which is often ignored in the media but really struck with the audience and judges after hearing that figures claim that 20% of accidents on major roads are sleep-related.  Their product prototype warns drivers of fatigue, alerting them to get off of the road as it’s unsafe for them to continue their journey.

Every week they were learning and putting into practice different digital skills, including programming and CAD design, they also looked at methods of funding that could take their products to market. Project Managers organised meetings to make sure everyone was sticking to time schedules and liaising with the MakerClub leader, all crucial to the project for gaining feedback and data driven outcomes. Soft skills such as communication and teamwork were equally developed, all imperative for the future of work.

The final team took this idea and their prototype worked on a pitch and went on to present it at the National Final, where Magna Academy resulted in being the winning team due to their innovative concepts and successful presentation.

Giving a portal to students where they could take something from an idea to a prototype focusing on using digital skills is invaluable and will no doubt give the students a surge of confidence when entering employment, especially in the tech / STEM industry. The hope is that more schools take the lead on up-skilling their students by giving them these real-world, tangible experiences to better prepare the next generation for employment.

In need of some new project ideas? Here’s where we get our inspo!

Dreaming up new project ideas is one of my favourite things to do.  Sometimes coming up with new ideas is tough, but ideas really can come from anywhere.

My name is Morwenna, and I’m one of the education team that writes the projects and challenges at MakerClub!

In today’s blog I’m going to share some of my top tips for finding new project inspiration.

  1. Looking around online is really fun. Sites like Instructables, Thingiverse and YouTube are filled with awesome project ideas that you can mix and match and fix and smash together, into something new and cool!

 

  1. Sometimes we like to think about what’s happening in the world right now. Are there any trends, world events, must-see movies or must-play games being released?  Basing a project on something happening in the real world can be a great place to start.

 

  1. Sometimes we think about a piece of kit or hardware we really want to work with, and then think about what we could do with it. Are you lit for LED’s?  Are you buzzing for buzzers? Are you in a spin for a servo?  Then use that as a starting point and ideate from there.

 

  1. Talk to other people.  Chat to them about what they’re working on.  Most of our very best ideas come from talking to you, and with over 200 of you coming to club every week around the country, that’s a lot of inspiration!  Finding out what you think is cool and exciting is a big part of how we decide on new projects, and it can work for you too!  Take a walk around club, chat to people, ask them what they’re up to. You might even find that you want to team up and tackle a challenge together.

 

Do you have a project idea or challenge that you’d like to see everyone get stuck into at MakerClub?  Drop us a line in the club chat box and let us know, or email me on Morwenna@MakerClub.org!

four children talking around a table

MakerClub BrightSparks Nominated at Tech4Good Awards 2017!

The MakerClub BrightSparks programme has been nominated at this years  2017 Tech4Good Awards – it’s a tremendous achievement that puts us in the same company as previous winners like, Professor Stephen Hawking, Code Club ActionAid, and founder of Wikipedia, Jimmy Wales!

But, we need your help…

What is BrightSparks?

BrightSparks is a programme that helps give kids from low-income families the chance to learn life-changing technology skills. We partner with local digital companies in close proximity to our MakerClub spaces and ask them to provide sponsorship and volunteer support in-club over a period of 12 months.

We do this because we believe that all kids should have access to a clear learning pathway around creative technology. The digital sector represents a way out of poverty to many of these kids and MakerClub is a great headstart

It’s win/win, with digital companies helping their community while improving their own talent pipeline, and BrightSparks kids get weekly mentorship and access to the awesome tech equipment where they can make their inventions a reality.

So far, we have over 20 companies involved, including:

  • Propellernet
  • UNITY
  • gene
  • Ribot
  • Madgex
  • Advice Cloud
  • Chirp
  • Barclays
  • ClearLeft
  • ThisisDrum
  • Xoom Talk
  • FutureLab
  • Brilliant Noise
  • Ocasta Studios
  • Pragmatic
  • DapApps
  • Cloud Helix
  • Jollywise
  • OurFutureCity

If you’d like more info, head over to the BrightSparks page for more details about how you can get involved.

How can you help us win?

For us to win this year’s,Tech4Good Awards, we need your votes!

You can either go directly to theTech4Good Awards voting page…

OR

…if you’re a Twitter user, you can send a tweet with the hashtag #T4GBrightSparks in it (Tech4Good Awards tracks the hashtag and RT’s). Your tweet might look something like this:  

Loving @MakerClub #TG4BrightSpark programme – helping kids get the best start in life with tech! http://bit.ly/2rLU30s

MakerClub Kids in bournemouth

Seeking volunteer tech Superstars to help at MakerClub!

We’ve had a fantastic year at MakerClub this year! We now have clubs open in 6 UK cities and about 100 young members coming weekly to learn about robotics and 3D printing, and now we’re looking for volunteers to help us teach the next generation.

With so many young makers coming through our doors, we need some enthusiastic volunteers and mentors to help them on their way to becoming the world’s next up and coming inventors!

Are you a STEM superstar? Do you have experience working with young people and an enthusiasm for technology? If so, get in touch to volunteer at MakerClub!

We’re recruiting in Birmingham, London and Norwich.

For more information please contact mia@makerclub.org