Announcing a new partner: Digital Future Aotearoa
We’re excited to reveal that Digital Future Aotearoa has been approached to be our newest partner, alongside FigureNZ, 20/20 Trust, AUT’s World Internet Project, Tohatoha and TUANZ.
There is a history between our two organisations. They’re a former grant recipient, and we’ve always been supportive of their programmes which include Code Clubs, Code Club 4 Teachers, the Electric Garden, and She Can Code. During COVID-19, it’s been a challenging time moving those initiatives online.
Our partnership is based on the mutual interest we have in providing leadership on a national basis to significantly improve digital inclusion in Aotearoa.
We both share the goal of ensuring that all New Zealanders have the access, skills, motivation, and trust to participate fully online and that any barriers to full digital inclusion are addressed and closed.
Who are Digital Futures Aotearoa and what do they do?
We were excited to join them in celebrating the national launch of She Can Code, which encourages girls and non-binary youth to create and innovate a design from home and then share it with the world. It’s focused around the Sustainable Development Goals, encouraging young people to think globally and act locally. Youth work through stages and then have a design, product, service, or idea they can submit via video or infographic/poster for judging. There are some amazing edu-tech prizes up for grabs for both teachers and students!
The most well-known work from Digital Futures Aotearoa is Code Clubs. Under the initiative “Code Club Aotearoa”, there are nearly 400 clubs across the motu that help Kiwi kids get the opportunity to learn to code, no matter who or where they are.
One area of work our funding will support is the Electric Gardens, for youth who live on the East Coast of Aotearoa. The East Coast Kūmara project’s goal is to give young people access to digital technology education that is culturally relevant to them and that increases their digital literacy skills which in turn allows them greater inclusion in digital life and the Internet.
Youth involved in this Electric Garden will grow kūmara while learning digital technologies. The Electric Garden is a revolutionary learning tool that combines growing food with digital technology education. A soil sensor is installed in the group’s vegetable garden, and then students are able to log in to an education portal and view data about soil temperature, soil moisture, air humidity, and air temperature in real-time.
On the education portal, students complete a series of lessons that help them grow kūmara while being introduced to digital technologies concepts such as data literacy, Internet of Things (IoT), Computer Science, and programming. The lessons are written from the perspective of Te Ao Māori, in this instance ancient Māori growing practices and horticultural techniques. The aim is to show youth that digital technologies and the Internet is one place they can learn about their culture.
One of the projects we will be supporting with our funding investment is creating a digital education evaluation framework for the Code Clubs, electric gardens and She Can Code—designed to be flexible enough to be used by other digital education programmes, and shared under a Creative Commons license to other digital education providers.
We’re excited to see these projects grow and how they will shape the digital future of Aotearoa. If you would like to personally support them further, check out how you might volunteer with a Code Club or buy a code club t-shirt!