In this three part blog series ‘Educational Technology’, Advance Queensland Community Digital Champion, Emily de la Pena answers her question, ‘If I had $2000 to spend on educational technology, what would I buy to get the most out of it?’
Emily has been visiting regional libraries around Queensland delivering coding and robotics training to library staff. She’s an advocate for the important role robotics plays in education, and put together this series of three blog posts to share her thoughts on how to choose educational technology
By Emily de la Pena–Advance Queensland Community Champion
There are a number of grants available right now for council libraries, schools, and regional communities that enable them to build new tech labs and develop tech programs. Let’s say I receive $2000 in grant funding to create a tech lab for a council library or community: what would I buy to spend it wisely?
It is important to remember that education outcomes should direct which equipment is purchased. To get the best use of the grant funding, first take an audit of the community and the existing facilities at the library. We can achieve the best community outcomes when we recognise that tools are secondary to educational programs and educational outcomes.
Part 1 : Explore the landscape
Have a look at your local community to get an understanding of which age groups use the library the most, and which age groups you would like to encourage to visit. It would be best to get an understanding of the level of experience your community has with coding, hardware, robotics, and circuitry. Are there existing tech programs at the library, at local schools or elsewhere in the community? Are you catering to a community that is predominantly at a beginner level with regards to technology creation, or is there already a well-developed program that has been running or years?
Take a look at your current equipment and see what you already have. It’s best to make the most of existing equipment, and to ensure that all future purchases are compatible with existing systems. If you already have a room with a projector or a TV available — perhaps with some desktop computers, laptops or tablets — you are already at a great starting place. All you need is a handful of hardware to add to your facilities to take it to the next level.
About the author
Emily de la Pena, Founder of Coding Kids.
Coding Kids is developing the next generation of coders, creators, innovators and change makers. We are striving for: All Australian children coding by 2020! We run school holiday code camps, after-school coding clubs and professional development workshops for educators. Children build their own computer games, animation movies and digital solutions. Through fun and play children discover computational thinking, design thinking and entrepreneurship.