Here are three lessons I learned from talking with young makers.
1) If You Like Playing Games, You Might Like Making Games.
I had the pleasure of meeting some of the young makers who not only play games, they make them. These young students came up with the ideas and concepts and were supported by parents, teachers, and mentors.
Blythe Serrano has a dog and a cat in Connecticut. She also had some problems. The cat liked to run around at night and while she walked the dog, sometimes it was hard for people to see if she curbed the dog to do his business in the street. The result could be a life or death situation. So Blythe got to work to solve the problem for her pups and hopefully many more. She created collars and clothing with lighting. You can find out more at www.4pawswearables.com. You can't buy her creations quite yet, but follow her site and subscribe to her newsletter. A Kickstarter campaign may be in the works. Her product is in demand!
3) If You Can Read, You Can Code.
Seven-year-old Kedar did an amazing job explaining the creation of a board game for visually impaired friends to have fun with CODING. Kedar codes, teaches coding, and wants everyone to know that if you can read, you can code. I had the pleasure of seeing his presentation when he looked an entire teacher group into the eye and really wanted them to know that they could do this. He said, "I'm seven years old and look what I've done." His mother said some final words and he grabbed the microphone back and from the heart thanked all these educators for coming. He is passionate about helping more kids code. You can catch up with his work at littlecodeninja.com.
One thing all these young people had in common is that they didn't go to traditional school. They or their parents each articulated that school does not provide the time or space for such pursuits. That must change. Next year, my hope is that we see more public school children given the time, space, freedom, and respect to make, build, code, and present their amazing work.