Technology innovation will continue to change our world in ways we can’t even begin to imagine. The next generation of learners will be faced with new problems that will require creative solutions and out-of-the-box thinking. How can we instill a love of learning in our children? How can we pique their curiosity to explore new ideas and innovative solutions?
In early June, I had the honor of accepting the Computers for Youth (CFY) Innovative Partner of the Year award on behalf of SAP. CFY, one of SAP’s non-profit partners, is changing the way children learn in low-income communities. CFY has developed a learning platform that allows teachers to customize learning programs for their students using free educational programs on the Web. Students who were struggling with core math and reading skills now have access to digital learning tools customized just for them. The ability to learn at their own pace and get real-time feedback on their performance has increased students’ attention and engagement in school. I witnessed first-hand how excited these students were about what they were learning.
I also recently visited the MakerBot store in New York City. MakerBot produces desktop 3D printers, which provide small manufacturing businesses access to quick, inexpensive prototyping. Before seeing this in action, I had not considered the amazing educational applications of this technology. Brooklyn Technical High School uses the MakerBot in its engineering classes for rapid prototyping, allowing students to see their ideas quickly come to life. Being able to see and touch their designs has increased student interest and engagement in engineering and math.
I witnessed this same enthusiasm with my daughters, who watched wide-eyed as the MakerBot replicator build bracelets, mini robots, and all sorts of goodies, inspiring a new spark of interest in how things are made. We were in the store for 3 hours just watching all the different things coming out of the Makerbot. When my oldest daughter asked if we could bring one home, my husband and I told her that if she can come up with 500 new ideas, we would buy her a 3D printing machine. She is already well on her way with 25 ideas on how to use her MakerBot! To be honest, I hope she gets to 500 ideas quickly so that I can use the MakerBot!!!
Both of these ideas leveraged technology to inspire children to learn and think creatively. Do you have other examples of technology increasing innovative thinking and learning? Share them with me below or @dvubroady