This month local technology business The Emerald Group launched their first venture to prepare our children to run the businesses of the future. Tiny Techs is an initiative aimed at getting young children between the age of four and seven-years-old excited by technology and learning basic problem solving.
In this first session, the children were introduced to microcontrollers, which are small, single circuit computers. By building simple robots they learnt how microcontrollers can co-ordinate motors in order to create movement. By the end of the session they had made their robots dance using a basic computer program.
In the next session, Emerald hope to move onto showing how microcontrollers can control light and sound too.
Tiny Techs was set up by The Emerald Group CEO inspired by her own daughter and her nieces and nephews.
“There are a lot of initiatives focused on teaching children to code,” Sarah Windrum explains, “but I believe the most important skill our children can learn for the future is how to identify problems and how to use technology to build solutions. By building a robot and programming it to dance, the children saw how building anything always begins as raw material and goes through several cycles before it becomes a finished article. Coding was certainly a part of the building process but not the main focus.”
Currently funded and run by volunteers from The Emerald Group, the business are keen to encourage more young people to take up a career in STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) by capturing their attention and imagination. Emerald also hope it will enable the accompanying parents to identify their own transferable skills to help them find new careers in STEM roles.
The demand is there to see. “Our first session was fully booked with no advertising,” says Simon Wilks, Emerald’s Technical Director or ‘Robot-Man’ as he is now known. “We’d love to see it grow and give more children the opportunity to experiment with building technology.”
Sarah Windrum agrees, “We have so many ideas from learning more advanced programs to using application processors like the popular Raspberry Pi. Tiny Techs is about a way of thinking to equip children for the future. We also would love to expand our age range. But to do all this, we need more support and more funding!”
If you would like to help with this initiative, please contact Sarah Windrum at The Emerald Group:
01926 452 462