Kids and Making Things (with Technology)
I originally started writing on Parent Bar to help parents. If the generation gap in the past has been large, it's accelerated in the tech space because things evolve so quickly. One generation between parents and their (our) children is, what, 3 generations of technology?
Granted I'm an older parent, but I grew up with black-and-white rabbit ears and my kids watch whatever movie they want on my phone while we run errands around town*.
A lots changed; a lot more than has changed between parents and their kids in the past. Parents need to understand the implications so that they can help their kids navigate to to the right careers, values, and friendships. Such navigation is hard when the parent doesn't speak the language of technology and the cultural shifts that go along with tech. These shifts like being in the weeds and making things rather than just having a good idea or a strong opinion are what's going to differentiate this generation of kids from the generation prior.
Here's a recent example I stumbled upon.
A Climate Change Report
I can't help but wonder if what I'm about to share is one possible future for local journalism.
"The youth get it" – Noel Casler, Comedian
Noel says it well:
Here's the story on climate change he linked to:
An Integrated Spectrum of Skills and Tools
In "old parent language" this is an online book report. But, look at the work involved. They integrated a spectrum of activities to create the final project:
- Research on Enbridge and the Weymouth Gas Compressor project
- Clear messaging and communication (read the first paragraph, that starts "My name is Gage...")
- Multimedia presentation
- Delivered online
- Call to action by raising money
The generation we're raising is a generation of makers. It's not enough to research, there has to be an action. And any time you want to take action you must also tell a good story.
It's integration. It's in the weeds. It has 'action' as the outcome.
Interestingly enough, over the summer I had collected a few stories with the intetention of creating a post on this very same point:
- A six year old who drew a picture, turned it into t-shirts, sold them (through her dad's social media presence) to raise money for charity
- A pair of teens who tracked local elections across the country to highlight and support officials who aligned to the teens' values
A Call to Action for Parents
Linear education without application is the past. I mean, it's going to produce smart kids that can fit into the existing paradigm at work... at least for as long as that paradigm lasts.
Are you going to be able to help your kids manifest change, make the most of technology, and get themselves out there to maximize the impact they can have on the world? That's how they're going to measure themselves.
If you're a parent, but need better insight into technology and tech culture to best help your kids succeed, why not subscribe?
* I'm exxagerating to make the point, the kids don't actually watch TV while we're out and about, but they could.