7 reasons why the Year of Code is just Am Dram…

Right, this Lottie Dexter, Rohan Silva, Year of Code thing is being a massive pain in the arse. I swear to god I *knew* this would happen… Here’s where we are:

1. I knew nothing about this until last week when I sought out Rohan after one too many (press) people (I actually like) saying: WTF? Why are the Young Rewired Staters not on this list?
2. Was introduced to Lottie Dexter by Rohan, (who begged to be excused for not speaking to me before – pleas of busy-ness in getting this all set up (and his final million for his Index Ventures) but I know that other brands and people cited in this PR push had NO IDEA what was going on – but actually Rohan ignored every opp we had to chat throughout his time influencing Number Ten, I clearly get on his nerves but I honestly have no idea why: maybe it is the girl thing, probably just the JFDI thing (that is about to bite me in the bum!))
3. Frustrated attempts to have a conversation with Lottie ended in an actual chat last Sunday afternoon, then discovery that this was all being announced and launched on Tuesday and a belated invitation to join the advisory panel, (this involved no advising they were clear to point out).

My

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is not ego, this is just “sorry whut? and you are doing this when? oh Tuesday, *next Tuesday* – right 8-0… ” I was actually trying to do a real thing here and invest my life since 2009 in working out what we could really do to meet the needs of the self-taught programmers, fill more jobs, include more kids, assist with  learning and have a load of fun on the way with a worldwide community of young people
4. Embarrassed as clearly so *last year* – emphasised by being sidelined at launch, come for drinks but don’t stay for dinner, styled this out by getting twatted at Blacks with my sister
5. Become conspiracy theorist overnight: gov pledge to spend £500k on skilling up teachers to ‘teach coding’ is a bs sum and a bs strategy, with a young (beautiful) PR girl hurled out to slaughter by a couple of men: Saul and Rohan (amazingly silent throughout PR and soc med catastrophe) in Newsnight and R4 etc..

6. “Lottie is an enthusiastic 24 year old PR girl, “you will love her”, and she is going to learn to code this year yay!”  <- Rohan to me on Wednesday… “yay” I say, I love any young people, espesh girls getting involved in this, then I realised… hang on, my own daughter (16) is as divorced from relating to Lottie as I am and amazingly enough, the whole digital movement becomes public laughing stock
7. I get cross emails, dms, tweets, calls from people saying why did I not include them… not me, I just called Rohan out after I caught wind of this, under a week before it happened. I cannot do anything

Conclusion:

I want nothing to do with this.

In Young Rewired State we are doing stuff this year, and for the last six years I have tested and re-tested, modelled and re-modelled what works with the young people who are already coding, to encourage them to stay and explore the subject and their talent.

Also, to inform my own understanding of what is going on – obviously beyond the current theory that you can learn to code in an hour/day/week – although Decoded do a very good job in the advertising industry – WTF are they doing influencing government policy? I know Kathryn Parsons, she would be equally as surprised at being dragged out as govvy heroine of programming nazi-ism in schools.

IMHO this is damaging two very important movements:

  • girls and tech: a PR girl who has no idea
  • computational skills for young people

So I just do not want to know, and if the Year of Code becomes the *thing* that pivots this whole movement – I will celebrate its success obo the next gen, my daughters and yours (and sons too :))

And I do not support this government policy

I have made huge mistakes, learned many, many lessons. And yes you can call me out on things I riffed on three years ago, that I fundamentally do not believe in today. But I took you on that journey and never pretended I knew the answers!

I do not affect government policy, I do not even formally lobby government. I discover, get worked up about, share then explore things. Recently it has been this digital movement. I am not an academic. I am not a lobbyist. But I am an enthusiastic serial dater of this subject and I am learning a lot.

FWIW I do not believe every child has to learn coding as a mandatory subject from 7. But I think if you want to encourage girls into coding: Year 8 is too Late and you need to introduce them to the subject before they hit senior school. Teachers and schools should teach computational thinking as a mandatory subject. The flipped classroom should be embraced.

I also think £500k is a balls amount of money, matched with a 24 year old PR girl sent out to “mauling by media”  XFactor style, is this government’s way of kicking this subject into the long grass for good.

Clever move… (if a bit ****tardy) of the government

PS If I have sent you to this post:

1. It was not my idea and had nothing to do with me

2. I may be an adviser in name, but my name was published on their site at launch as Emma McQueeny Founder: Revision App, <- incognito… now I am apparently Emma MulqueenEy, founder YRS <- less incognito but enough to make it all a bit whatever…

Late edit: I have since written about what *can* be done by the Year of Code, should they so desire

The 97ers and Identity

I have worked with self-taught young programmers (aged 18 and under) in Young Rewired State since 2009; and in 1997 I gave birth to my own little digital native, and in 2002, another. My passion for learning, observing and being amongst networked communities in various forms, means that I have begun to see some interesting trends and patterns that are fascinating, and I am going to write a series of things about this. Here is the second (the first is here) and in this series I refer to the 97er. By this I mean child born in 1997 OR LATER: The true digital natives.

Identity

Communication in whatever form relies on some form of individual identity. One person identifying themselves to another. In networked online communities this can range from the man masquerading as a young child in a games forum through to a person identifying as an expert in brain surgery or Brahms in associated expert communities. One thing that unites online communities and the digital space, is communication. And so identity becomes interesting.

Who are you?

who-are-you-1Identifying yourself offline is easy, there are legal documents that you can produce to prove who you are. It is nigh on impossible to incorporate offline identifiers to the online space – as I am sure many a public sector organisation can tell you!

There can not be one notion or verifiable method of identifying that anyone is who they say they are in an unseen online world, and the 97ers know this. Your name, who you say you are, means nothing. You have to prove you are who you say you are.

And so the 97ers instinctively use story-telling and detective work/collaboration to verify you are who you say you are. To take Facebook as a very crude example of this (it has become much more sophisticated but the same identifying rules apply).

  • You say you are someone, a name.
  • Not always your given name, maybe an online name, maybe a descriptive name, but a name none-the-less.
  • You verify who you are with photographs.
  • No passport or driving agency can verify these photographs in this maverick world, so you are visually identified by being seen in photographs with people other people in your chosen network will know.
  • You tell stories through posts about what you are doing and with whom.
  • You share photographs to verify these stories and tag people with you, who can untag or publicly deny you if you are lying.
  • You join groups and networks of people with shared interests, using your FB persona to verify your identity.

I hope this Facebook example makes sense, but to translate how this affects the way a 97er secures identity let me tell a story…

Two years ago we ran a hack weekend for Refugees United. This was a charity who had charged themselves with the challenge to help reunite Somalian refugees in camps across Kenya. The problem they faced was that the best hope any refugee had of securing a space in a camp was to enter as an individual, so families and tribes shattered as they crossed the Kenyan borders. Reuniting these refugees was an issue because they were hard to identify, they had common names, they were reluctant to give any identifying papers and so the dedicated and passionate Refugees United team were frustrated.

They believed they were frustrated by technology. By cr*p phones. They wanted an app to magically make it all happen.

The 97ers and Rewired State devs, acknowledged the problem as a digital one, but started again…

The first question that had to be answered to solve this re-unification problem: how do these people identify themselves and recognise each other?

By the end of the weekend they had discovered:

  • Name counts for nothing, often a ‘name’ changes depending on a person’s role in the group; be that family or tribe
  • Many people could not read languages recognised by computers, so the visual identifiers for members of the family were important, visually identifying girls and boys with traditional western imagery sucked, because effectively boys wore ‘dresses’
  • The tradition of sharing familial or traditional stories was the only unifying quantum
  • No one trusted anyone, as a refugee – giving away your identity might betray you to authorities, so you select very carefully who you reveal your true self to

Sound familiar? Unsurprising that the beautiful balance of 97ers and other RS developers created a number of solutions, all story-based (and open-sourced of course) here…

I was hugely comforted by watching this process. I knew that my daughters and the YRSers were digitally savvy enough to cross check facts and verify a person. I knew they did not *want* to be fooled by someone masquerading as someone else – in the same way none of us do in any walk of life. And so I began to trust that these young people were more equipped than I was at protecting their own real life selves, but also, calling out the pretenders.

But the thing that intrigues me about this is:

When the 97ers come to power in industry, government and society (five years+ from now) how will they translate digital identity from the online world to the offline?

From 16 to seven

In the offline world we accept that our identity is a linear thing, we go from child to adult. As children from 0-16 we are required by law (in the UK) to partake in full time education, and are bound by the authority of parent/s as well as the State rule of law. We are just ‘child’. From 16+ we become categorised and segmented for various marketing and public service needs – increasingly multi-faceted, we become more complex with age.

Where we would traditionally be known to graduate from child to sophisticated consumer of targeted information as, for example: teacher, mother, fighter, socialist, artist, shoe fetishist, fitness fanatic, online dater and so on. The multiple personality we are gifted at 16 along with our National Insurance Number suddenly becomes our new identifier as an…

Online you cannot do this. The web is a community woven and choreographed by the 97ers and we must accept this. Identity is integral to community, and community is based around topical interests. What we must not do is try to police it, because then you start to play with identity.

Let me try to illustrate this. Until now a child below 16 years of age was identified as ‘child’.  The gatekeepers were the teachers and parents.

I believe that the child becomes a multi-faceted character at a much earlier age. Seven year olds are teaching their parents how to use software products, (software products not built for the 7 year old, but built with the parent in mind). 14 year olds are learning CSS and java from 10 year olds in YRS. 10 year olds are learning their third computing language form a 14 year old and an 9 year old. They will also teach their peers.

At the same time the median nine year old is rubbish at maths and her sister is helping her finally nut those tables.

Then together they make a YouTube video on making meringue for every person with access to a search engine to know how to make the perfect meringue.

97ers are split personality teachers and consumers from as early as seven years old, if not earlier. I can only vouch for the seven year olds.

Moving forward

For a society looking at sustainability, I suggest we look at the multi-faceted personality of the 97ers. Re-assess your methodology for targeted messaging because it is irrelevant to the digital natives. Sustainability depends on the networked web of people learning, sharing and testing across boundaries, borders and time. The seven year olds matter as much as the 70 year olds. If they are in that 97er verified network, all you need to know is that they are a part of that network.

Moral

Age and name matter not. Can you verify your story?

To read the original post about 97ers go here

And to read the next one in the series, which tackles social activism and the 97er, go here

For those used to assuming that this applies to GenY, or The Millennials, here is a clarification

Introducing the 1997 Digital Natives, 97ers, and their networked communities of learning

I have worked with self-taught young programmers (aged 18 and under) in Young Rewired State since 2009; and in 1997 I gave birth to my own little digital native. My passion for learning, observing and being amongst networked communities in various forms, means that I have begun to see some interesting trends and patterns that are fascinating, and I am going to write a series of things about this. Here is the first and in it I refer to the 97er. By this I mean child born in 1997 OR LATER: The true digital natives.

Educational webs

In 1971, funnily enough when I was born, Ivan Illich (a philosopher, Catholic priest and “maverick social critic”) published a book on education and society: Deschooling Society. It is available to read for free here. He was crazily ahead of his time in his thinking, but I think he was not far off in his insight into how technology could transform education, and how in turn this would change society.

I am not profound enough to offer opinion on all of his book and beliefs on society, but I am with him completely on networked learning. He believed that the future of learning lay in communities:

“… educational webs which heighten the opportunity for each one to transform each moment of his living into one of learning, sharing and caring…”

What is beautiful about this quote is that he talks of the ‘heightening’ and ‘transforming’ benefits of the web, and that this could and should be applied to every ‘moment’. What a salve it is to read how this is a good thing, a great thing, and can be embraced not feared or controlled.

The 97ers are already immersed in this web of learning. Whether we approve of *what* they are learning or not is immaterial, but they are there playing, interacting, growing up, making mistakes, testing boundaries, making boundaries, exploring things they find interesting or funny and more importantly – sharing their discoveries.

This is not news, but it is often feared or criticised as it is not well-understood. Many people are trying to ‘harness the power of the internet’ (mainly because it is not documented or governed and has our children in its thrall – an unseen digital Pied Piper, skipping off with our children to the lilting voice of Siri).

But it is not the internet that is doing this, it is the networked communities the children find online, people stripped of physical boundaries and prejudices they face daily in school and life, an open forum of communities they can opt into or out of.

As adults we imagine Lord of the Flies horrors, with children unable to cope with this ungoverned world, and are braced for constant catastrophe. But I see this networked online space, this world wide web, as a maverick place that they are shaping and governing themselves. Creating their own rules for digital citizenship if you like.

Strangers in this place stick out, people pretending to be other people are quickly caught out. And before you “aha” me with stories of paedophiles and paedophile rings infiltrating the networks of young people by pretending to be young people themselves – yes, this happened, but it happened when this digital native crew were very young. They grew up with this, and they are very canny now, even as 16 year olds, and know what to look for and how to identify people. Not just by name.

And as they learn, so they look out for their younger siblings, whether these be actual blood relatives, or young web-dwellers. My daughter, and her friends, regularly crawl all over the social media accounts and games forums occupied by those younger than them. They look for tells and behaviour that is not natural to them or their peers and don’t dally, they delete. There is no ‘intervention’ you can delete and block early signs of danger in a way not possible anywhere else in life. If it looks dodgy, assume it is and move on. They don’t make a fuss over it, this instant gratification society that we so condemn in young people should be embraced, to some extent, because it keeps them safe in an instant online world.

We cannot beat them at this game. These children, the 97ers, are soon going to graduate into the working world, and it is for them to adapt the web to their growing experiences, not ours to adopt and govern. This is why web monitoring by “grown ups” will not work. More on that later.

Peer-to-peer learning

What we can do, is look at how we can use this incredible resource to help shape learning and education. Back to 1971 and Illich:

The operation of a peer-matching network would be simple. The user would identify himself by name and address and describe the activity for which he sought a peer. A computer would send him back the names and addresses of all those who had inserted the same description. It is amazing that such a simple utility has never been used on a broad scale for publicly valued activity.

I fully believe that the current coding movement and crisis in how to teach programming, of finding enough teachers with the knowledge to fit the traditional role of teacher standing in front of a room full of children, ready to impart all knowledge, is the tipping point away from classroom-based education. There is no way on God’s earth that anyone could hope to study to be a computing teacher and hold the knowledge necessary to teach the children all the digital skills necessary for future work, life and community.

What I see happening in Young Rewired State is peer-to-peer learning, shaped by mentors. Take the phenominal take up of the YRS/Google assemblies as an anecdotal example. We announced this project on Friday just to meet the needs of the many people asking for YRSers to share their experiences with their peers. Within 24 hours we were so swamped with young people wanting to run an assembly that we had to build a database, write auto-responders, set up a new email address and adjust our delivery plans. (You can read the stories of these young people here).

If you ask any of those young people what they value in YRS, they will always say: community. Having a community of peers and mentors who are collectively so knowledgeable that they *know* all learning and discovery can be completed and shared, within this network, is like stumbling on the oasis in the desert. It is also new, and exciting, and the boundaries have not yet been discovered, let alone tested. I am enjoying watching them race to the boundaries – I want to see where they are too.

If we continue in the UK to try to retrofit traditional education formats to programming and computing, digital skills these natives do need to have – we know the result is going to have to be tempered to delivery restraints unseen beyond this subject. And so there will be no choice but to flip the classroom.

If we could really embrace the flipped classroom methodology, encourage young people to learn outside the classroom, from networks of people immersed in subjects, then bring that learning back to their lessons and share this learning in a more formal environment, where the teacher can curate the conversation and bring together the information strings – how much more engaged, relevant and testing would the learning be?

I know this seems like a pipe dream because it requires such a monumental shift in the way we ‘do’ education now, except for the home-schooled, but when a 97er becomes Secretary of State for Education, with another ’97er in Number 10 – it will happen then. I hope it doesn’t take that long.

(Read the next blog post on the 97er and Identity)

… and the third one just published on social activism

For those used to assuming that this applies to GenY, or The Millennials, here is a clarification

Why young people are choosing to run YRS & Google assemblies

Yesterday we launched all the projects for Young Rewired State 2014 (YRS2014), this included our YRS Google assemblies initiative. We are inviting all of the young coders to run an assembly in their school, with the dedicated support of a YRS mentor, slide decks, videos, Google and YRS schwag for their mates. The point of this being to showcase their talents and encourage take up of programming by their peers as a fun thing to do; de-nerdifying it if you like!

The response has been incredible, and I wanted to share with you some of the reasons why these children are saying they want to run an assembly. (These are selected comments from the applications 50:50 girls:boys)

I would like to host an assembly at my school because, as a young person with special needs, I have been told by many people that I wouldn’t be able to have a career in technology (or anything for that matter) purely because I have special needs and this was the thing which demoralised me from persuing technology and any other career choice… My reason for wanting to host an assembly at my school is to combat the reputation people have of those who work in technology particularly programming, as there are some really cool people who program however they get ignored by the media in favour of the stereotype. Overall, I want to host the assembly to talk about something I love and a community who I will defend against those who bash ‘nerds’ and ‘geeks’.

Not enough students at my school understand the benefits of coding, and don’t even know about programs like Young Rewired State and I want to prove to them that coding isn’t nerdy and it is lots of fun.

I would like to have a YRS assembly because I want to share my experiences of programming and the two YRS events I have attended. Since I am in year twelve, our year group is being encouraged to think about which subjects we enjoy for university applications. I know many students in my school who are thinking about taking Computer Science at university but have no real knowledge of programming. By educating them about YRS and aiding them with resources to learn how to code, I believe people will be more interested in programming and consider computer science as a strong university choice. Furthermore, I am very passionate about getting people involved in YRS and telling them how they can make a positive change by creating useful apps from open data.

I think that everyone should be made aware of coding and how awesome it is. It would be great to have the help of Google and YRS! My school has around 700 students, 700 more coders hopefully!

Because we have started a code club in the last 12 months, which I love (we are starting to move from Scratch to Python), and while I will leave the school this summer to move to big school, I would love to tell all the younger girls why they should learn to code before I leave

Because I’d like to show that kids can have a say about things and this can be broadcast to the whole world with websites and coding!!

I have started a code club for my school but I’m not getting a good amount of pupils, only a couple of friends. I tried to get more but they just either forget or just don’t care. A lot don’t even know how to code and makes me really upset as teaching all the pupils in my school is more difficult if people don’t know what you can do with coding!!! I would love to have an assembly at my school to help boost the interest in coding or a related subject. But what upsets me the most is that people don’t believe that coding is one of our ‘super powers’…….. So please I would like help to make an assembly to see how it goes and use my club to teach people with a goal of everyone learning a bit of code or become complete experts!

These are just a few of the reasons given, but you can feel the passion and I am so pleased that we are able to run this programme. If you would like to run one in your school, then let us know through the sign up form here: https://youngrewiredstate.org/yrs-google-assemblies If you are not a member of the Young Rewired State community yet, then register for the Festival of Code and afterwards you will be able to run your own assembly.

Finally, here are the videos we made to be shown:

Young Rewired State 2014

So this year Young Rewired State (YRS) is six years old, believe it or not! We are still wholly focused on those young people aged 18 and under driven to teach themselves how to code, introducing them to open data and a community of their peers.

Of course the campaigning we at YRS and Rewired State have championed and supported to encourage more people to learn programming has meant that there are many more opportunities for learning now. Kudos to all the many organisations such as Code Club, Apps for Good, Decoded, TeenTech and Coder Dojo (to name the ones we know well and love).

This means that the YRS community has grown at an incredible rate over recent years, as it helps other young people learn from and teach each other. They hone their skills through building apps, websites and games, writing algorithms and parsing data – more often than not, solving real problems and challenges they experience.

This year we are doing three big things…

ONE: YRS/Google assemblies

We have a great community of hundreds of young people, most of whom do not go to the same school. They come alive when they talk about their skills and the community – and so we have teamed with Google to offer every person in YRS a sponsored assembly.

The YRSer will be helped by a dedicated YRS mentor to prepare an assembly, using slide decks, videos and YRS and Google schwag.

The point of these assemblies is for the young people already in the YRS community to tell their peers about what they have done, what they can do, and the support from Google shows how important their talents are to a multi-National brand every child will know (and probably want to work for because of the beanbags, slides and The Internship movie). It also challenges the familiar media view of nerdy, often male, programmers.

The videos I have used in this post are the videos we have made specifically for this project

Two: The Festival of Code will be International & the finale weekend will be held in Plymouth University

Every year we run the Festival of Code in multiple centres across the UK. This year we are including the centres outside the UK. This means that the festival now includes all the young people who have taken part in a Young Rewired State: Everywhere (YRS{e}) weekend around the world, and the community reaches across borders and Nations. This is the point of YRS – to create a networked community of young people worldwide who have grown up with open data and peer-to-peer learning.

Plymouth University have been incredibly generous in their offer to sponsor part of the cost and host the Festival, and house the YRSers over the weekend, meeting their challenging Wifi and power needs – and enabling us to continue to run the Festival now that many hundreds, tipping over a thousand young people, take part. Thank you so much!

(Travel to Plymouth will be arranged!! Planes, trains and automobiles will be activated – maybe holding the finale in Plymouth will encourage the YRSers to invent the flying car we were all assured in the 70s was going to be the vehicle we would be using in the 21st century).

Register as a centre, mentor or young person for the Festival of Code here: https://youngrewiredstate.org/ (it costs nothing to register or attend, it is funded through sponsorship. Feel free to apply to be a sponsor: emma at rewiredstate .org)

Three: YRS Hyperlocal and Rewired State/ly

We also announced that YRS Hyperlocal will happen in centres across the UK post the Festival, where the YRSers will be able to work, in the Festival centres that choose to opt in, with each other and mentors to take their Festival prototypes to product. At which point we will hand them over into the safe hands of partners we trust (morals/ethics).

We also announced Rewired Stately: a free Rewired State event that is happening in the last quarter of 2014 for programmers aged 50 or over, whether these be newly minted programmers or life-long, at which we will introduce them to open data and the rest of the RS/YRS community.

For more information on either of these programmes, email hello@rewiredstate.org

Please note: we do not teach kids to code… we bring together those who can code, from rudimentary knowledge to poly-codal, and take them forward to the next challenge – solving the real world problems 

Learn how to code

Many people ask me many times where they can learn how to code; mainly because they mistakenly believe that Young Rewired State teaches kids how to code, we do not, we encourage peer-to-peer  learning in a community of self-taught programmers, whilst they tackle social and civic challenges.

However I do also campaign for people to know how to program, even if only for a hobby, so it is fair enough to be asked. I just can never give an answer that satisfies as organisations spring up so fast, move on, morph – and anyway, just doing a an online coding course is not really going to be that exciting.

Just now, I rattled off a response to another email from a journalist on this topic, and it being Friday afternoon and after a week of travelling I was tired and cranky so rattled this off. But as I sat afterwards with my tea and biscuit(s) it struck me that actually that is probably the best response I have managed to drum up so far. So here it is for you (in no particular order):

  • find some free online coding tuition in any programming language (there are loads play with as many as you can)
  • get into the habit of clicking the View Source link on web pages to get an idea of what code looks like
  • set up a blog with someone like WordPress and have a go with the HTML view
  • explore communities such as github to learn how to share and fork code
  • use communities like stack overflow to get help
  • go along to hack days and learn from other people

Feel free to add useful updates, anecdotes and pointers in the comments

 

 

 

 

 

Why should kids learn how to code?

I get asked to respond to this question in public and private forums a *lot*. I often trot out the driver/passenger analogy, but this is not necessarily a good explanation for children. So here is another wheel-based explanation of why I, personally, believe it is an important skill to be taught in schools:

Buying a child a computer, laptop, tablet or smart phone without teaching them at least the basics of computational thinking and programming, is like buying them a bike and letting them cycle on the roads.

As responsible parents we ensure the children know the rules of the road, stuff like:

  • which direction the cars drive in
  • how to keep themselves safe
  • when to use pavements and when to try the road
  • to avoid motorways

and so on…

We probably start with teaching them how to operate the bike at home and in safe areas before allowing them the freedom of the road, but let’s face it for this analogy, most of these children know how to ride a bike from their first efforts with a tablet and apps when still toddlers. However, we need them to understand the environment, so that they can act accordingly, safely and happily ride their bikes – exploring and learning and most importantly having fun.

Some of these children will grow up to simply continue to be casual bikers, it is just something they can do and enjoy. Some will become professional cyclists, some will become serious weekend road warriors, some will learn to build bikes and make a living out of it. But they have all grown up completely understanding the environment within which they can ride their bikes, and how it all works.

If you take this analogy back to giving them their computer, laptop, tablet or smartphone, current accepted behaviour is to restrict them to only riding their bike in the sitting room, with Mum, Dad or teacher holding their back wheel – this way they will be safe. Or the other extreme, let them out the front door and send them straight off onto the roads with no guidance. To be fair, most parents assume that schools have already got this one, that these young people are being taught the basics of the environment therefore it is not ridiculous to let them out the front door.

But the reality is that currently they don’t. And it is only best efforts from volunteer groups, such as CodeClub, and a small number of IT teachers who have the skills and ability to teach the essential rules of operation in a digital world. In Young Rewired State we have spent the last five years finding and fostering the young people who have been teaching themselves how to code, introducing them to each other and to mentors who can help them further their skills – slowly we are building a supported network of people aged 18 and under, who are learning through peer-to-peer and are no longer isolated and having to work out the rules of the road by themselves.

The world that these children are growing up into is rapidly becoming a world largely dependent on digital, a digital renaissance is upon us if you like. To whizz back to the analogy, the roads and the cyclists are becoming ever more critical to the infrastructure and operation of our entire world. It is not just about job opportunities, it is about being digital citizens, fully informed and empowered to confidently make choices and decisions, almost without having to think. They need to just know.

Here is a little video we created at this year’s Festival of Code about why we do what we do:

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