Our younger generations are feeling the brunt of some of the world’s biggest challenges. According to a recent poll, climate anxiety is at its highest 60% of young people are concerned or extremely concerned about climate change. Undoubtedly, technology will play a significant role in mitigating the effects of climate change. But for children facing these serious challenges in the future, technology can also play a different role, inspiring them to think creatively and be more positive about the changes they can make.
Coding skills and digital skills greatly enhance children’s abilities, inspire creative thinking, improve problem solving, and provide opportunities for entertainment. While climate change may be of great concern to today’s youth, involving children in these issues and offering technology as a way out for solutions can help nurture hope, more positive feelings and encourage more careers in digital technology. the future.
With only entry-level programming tools at our disposal, our next generation of inventors are already taking on some of the world’s biggest challenges through programming.
Ask children to “contribute”
In 2015, the UN created the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to inspire countries to take action to protect the planet. The 17 interrelated global goals were developed as “a plan to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all”. Taking these SDGs as a starting point, the Micro: bit Educational Foundation, a UK non-profit organization dedicated to inspiring every child to create their own better digital future, has launched do your thing: bit challenge in 2019.
The challenge combines our micro: bit technology with a call for 8- to 18-year-olds to develop ideas and solutions that change the world using technology. A key pillar in this is the BBC micro: bit device, a pocket single-board computer designed to teach children of primary school age to encode. Back in 2016 BBC micro: bit was launched, giving devices free every year to 7 children in the UK. Today, the Foundation is truly global, with more than six million devices distributed in coding classes and clubs around the world. The devices are designed for low floors but high ceilings, which means they are very affordable for beginners, but also have great potential for more complex, advanced projects.
Inventions for an era of change
The do your thing: bit The Challenge adds a social goal to the study of digital skills and allows students to apply these skills to real-world problems, especially in the context of their local communities. Here are some of the major inventions from last year’s competition that took environmental pollution, the energy crisis and environmental protection as starting points.
- Ken and Margot from the USA have created a portable filter device dedicated to achieving the global goal 6: clean water and sanitation. When they were created, micro: bit UV LEDs work to sterilize drinking water. The device also runs on solar panel, making it affordable, durable and portable.
- Danila, Alexandra and Vladimir have developed a cleaning boat printed in 3D to help clean up a polluted river near their place of residence in Ukraine. The team worked hard to create a prototype in their school’s robotics class and upgraded the boat after its testing to make it more efficient.
- Mahmoud and Yasmina from Lebanon worked together to create “GANT – Gas and Noise Trapper”. The device protects people from noise and air pollution. GANT uses sound and gas sensors attached to micro: bit to measure smoke and noise levels. If it detects dangerous levels, micro: bit starts the server to close the window.
Renewable energy generation and recycling
- Theo, Harry and Timothy from Italy wanted to create efficient and affordable solar panels to make reusable energy more attractive and affordable. Using light sensors and micro: bit servos, their solar panel is constantly moving to ensure that it is always facing the sun, which improves its efficiency in the production of renewable energy sources.
- Arie and Samuel from Costa Rica built a prototype to achieve global goal 13: action on climate. Together, they have created a 3D-printed solar-powered electric boat that is more cost-effective and renewable. They created two prototypes and tested them on the water before choosing the most effective elements of each for the final design.
Habitat and wildlife protection
- Cheng-en, Ko-Xing and Ji Qing from Taiwan have realized that rapid climate change is contributing to rising water levels, endangering birds that previously relied on the river’s habitat. Using micro: bit, the “best bird guard” feels the rising water and pulls the bird’s nest to a safe place by the river.
- Emily, Melanie and Valentina from Uruguay have created a huge model to illustrate how their idea, a safe environment for bees, will work. The device measures temperature and humidity and counts the number of bee visits.
The do your thing: bit The campaign is an annual event, and this year’s challenge is now open to new statements. It also offers educators a range of inspiring activities to launch creative and innovative thinking in the youth involved.
To participate, students ages 8-18 must come up with a design and prototype of their world-changing invention and submit it to one of the test categories up to 15th July 2022.
Although the world’s biggest problems are far from being solved, it is inspiring to see how creatively and positively children react and consider their environment when they own technology – even as small and powerful as BBC micro: bit! The next step for our technologically savvy young inventors is undoubtedly bright.
Well Gareth Stockdale, CEO of the Micro: bit educational foundation
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