Calling all bedroom programmers – everywhere!

It is that time again, the beginning of the build up to the 6th Festival of Code!!

MainIt is an unbelievably exciting time for us, and we have really stepped up our game this year – just wait and see. But I can tell you that as well as code and community there will be poetry, art, skateboarding, laser graffiti and list of speakers so fine you will feel dizzy sharing the same space as them. On Saturday we will have heats, semi-finals and then an entire evening of music curated by Pixelh8 before the Grand Finale on Sunday – where the finalists will show and tell to a panel of judges I am just ITCHING to reveal, but we need a few more weeks before they will be completely nailed. You will be delighted, I promise.

For those of you who have never heard of the Festival of Code before, go and check out the site http://festivalofco.de It is a week of coding that takes place across the country where people aged 18 and under, at all levels of digital skill, work with open data and mentors to build websites, apps, games or write algorithms. On Friday 1st August they all come together in Plymouth for a weekend of talks, show and tells, music and festivities, celebrating their skills and encouraging them to learn more.

Here is the story from one of our centres from last year in Manchester Digital Laboratory

This year we have young people taking part from around the world: the US, Singapore and Europe and we are really looking forward to bringing you all together and seeing what you are up to.

As ever, we run this all through sponsorship and it is all totally free, thank you sponsors!! But I have one ask left…

It is notoriously difficult to reach some of the young people who would benefit most from coming along to this. Many of whom are teaching themselves how to code in their bedrooms, who might not know that this exists. So we have this wish:

Please could every reader of this blog post download this poster from the Festival of Code website and print at least ten copies out. Then put them up in your work, your school, your local library or community centre, anywhere really. Parents, friends and family members may see the poster and pass it on to their bedroom programmer and completely change their lives. Tell everyone, and they can change the world.

 

{young} Rewiring the States – starting in New York

Rewired State has been hosting Young Rewired State (YRS) for five years, finding and fostering children aged 18 or under driven to teach themselves how to code. YRS introduces these youth to open government data and to one another to create a worldwide community of young civic-minded people who are able to problem-solve and build digital things.

We are running a very exciting event in New York City this Summer: YRS NYC 29-30 June 2013 when we will invite 50 of NYC’s top young coders to work with a wide-range of professional programmers to build new digital prototypes and projects.

The teens will all take on open government data to create apps, algorithms, digital prototypes, widgets and websites that are relevant to themselves and their peers, and that address real NYC issues.

The weekend-long design challenge will take place at Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria—a pretty amazing space for young NYC hackers to come and build stuff and meet each other.

IMG_4487Rewired State alongside Mozilla Hive NYC and the Museum itself will host this weekend of exploration and hacking where our aim is to build a local community grounded in the power of programming in networks. It is the first of the International outposts of Young Rewired State that started in the UK in 2009 with 50 local coding kids and now represents 1000 young coders across the UK and celebrates its 5th annual Festival of Code this August in Birmingham, England.

Here’s how you can get involved:

1. Alert any teens (ages 14-18) you know  in New York (or who can commute to Queens for the weekend) and invite them to sign up on this page https://youngrewiredstate.org/yrs-everywhere/yrs-new-york-city

2. If you have experience or worked with open data and are a programmer or designer, sign up to mentor here https://youngrewiredstate.org/yrs-everywhere/yrs-new-york-city

3. Come and support these young NYC coders and see what they come up with: email us info@youngrewiredstate.org to attend the show and tell on the afternoon of Sunday 30th June 2013

4. If you are representing government or a civic organization and have data or challenges to contribute, contact kait@rewiredstate.org to discuss

We know from experience that finding the founding 50 is a hard, hard thing to do. So the very best thing you can do is to work as a worldwide hive mind to identify the young people who would most benefit from this event and the lasting community it creates.

Museum of the Moving Image photos

Funding for this project was provided by The Hive Digital Media Learning Fund in The New York Community Trust. We have a small amount left to raise to cover travelling costs for the young people, so if you would like to sponsor the event you can contact me through this site http://mulqueeny.wordpress.com/contact-me/

Young Rewired State – an update

For any of you who are unaware of Young Rewired State, here is a video from this year’s Festival of Code

To date we have made it our focus to find and foster every child in the UK driven to teach themselves how to code; to support them through community and peer-to-peer learning, and introduce them to open data, primarily open government data. If you would like to read up more on what we do and why, here is a White Paper written by Dominic Falcao, a student at York University.

So we have come far in the last four years and as we enter our fifth year we really are going hyperlocal and global – as I mentioned in a previous post.

Since that post I have had some very great discussions with developer communities in several regions outside the UK, including Berlin, Amsterdam, New York, Kenya and San Francisco – and the narrative has become more clear, why this is so important and how this very well could be the beginning of a game-changing, independent, worldwide community.

Let me explain…

The idea is to start as we did in 2009 in the UK with one weekend in a number of International regions. Find 50 local children, aged 18 or under, driven to teach themselves how to code, and introduce them to open government data in a traditional hack-style event. During these weekends these young programmers will be mentored by their local coding community, as they are in the UK, but as well, they are remotely supported by the worldwide members and mentors for YRS, through twitter hashtags and IRC channels.

If history can repeat itself over the following five years, each of these first 50 will continue to be mentored and add to their number, growing to 500 in five years, maybe more – and then becoming hyperlocal.

The dream is for a child in Berlin to find it completely usual to be supporting a child in New York, for example, with a local civic problem, or just in their learning. For them to grow up expecting and understanding open data and open borders. And almost more importantly to be forever a part of a worldwide community of like-minded people – never again coding alone.

The beauty of this network is that it is so local, we are working with established developer networks and organisations in all of the countries, and as these children become 19 they *typically* fold back into Young Rewired State as mentors. This is important as it creates a support network for teachers and educators worldwide that is so needed.

We work also in partnership with those organisations teaching young people to code, giving them somewhere to continue the learning through collaborative, peer-to-peer education that can scale according to talent and desire.

YRS Scotland

This weekend sees the very first of these hyperlocal events in the UK, with a group of young programmers in Scotland starting their YRS journey. You can follow the action and add your mentor support by following the hashtag: YRSSCO2012 on twitter.

I really do believe these children can actually change the world, and I am grateful to the huge community who have supported us in the UK and overseas to get to now.

We are run as a not-for-profit social enterprise. Here is how you can get involved

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