Skills for an unknown future
As educators, we often talk about ‘education for the 21st century’ or ‘skills for the future’, but which future are we preparing our students for, and what expectations have we placed on this future?
The ‘future’ is a time period, unbound by social or economic constructs. We constantly set future expectations for our students which we develop them towards. There is, however, a danger in creating expectations in which a child’s socio-economic background is allowed to pervade their future, an issue never more pressing than in education programmes for children in disadvantaged contexts.
At the Breteau Foundation we aim to prepare children for a future which is bright. We believe in the importance of developing children to have ‘21st century’ skills that match up to the current rates of innovation and technology, despite the limited access to technology in their current communities. This is why the Breteau Foundation are piloting the use of ‘Kano’ tablets in South Africa to develop a range of skills and provide children access to innovative technologies. Partnering with Kano to pilot an after school programme allows us to deliver a current, innovative tech-based intervention for children to engage in and develop.
Education Technology For All
The Breteau Foundation’s belief that innovative technologies should be accessible to all is a constant thread throughout our work. Working with innovative tech startups like Kano supports us in getting cutting edge tech to children in our programmes. The Kano project goes further than the provision of access to innovative cutting edge tech at Heathfield Primary School. The project acts as a sustainability development within our South Africa Programme which currently services the Foundation stage and is implemented up to Grade 3. Evaluating our programme we realised that after Grade 3 technology was once again dropping away from the curriculum. We wanted to create a programme in which children could reach the next step with their tech skills, building in a sustainable legacy. Implementing the Kano after school club at Grade 4 level creates this platform for children to further explore tech.
What is Kano?
Kano is described by its creators as ‘an innovative accessible ‘build your own computer’’. Children receive a set of parts and an image-only instruction manual, which guides them through building the computer page-by-page. Once built and plugged in, the fun then really begins as children have access to the software that will develop them as coders and programmers, playing games that develop these all-important skills for their future. The beauty of Kano is that the software programming element has any number of development opportunities to support children, and encourages self-led independent learning.