Kids need the skills that will help them to succeed, and in today’s information age STEM (Science Technology Engineering Math) subject knowledge and practical skills are what is required to meet these needs. Among countries worldwide, there is a global movement to stress the importance of meeting this need and to provide opportunities for all children to gain these skills. Large non-profit organizations, such as Code.org, led by industry leaders have joined with technology companies worldwide in an effort to achieve these goals.
Code.org cofounders Hadi and Ali Partovi,. . . believe it’s a social issue that kids from nine out of 10 schools aren’t taught the tools that run today’s information economy. – PandoDaily article (pando.com)
Further, our society and economy also needs a skilled and educated workforce to fill job demand. The US Department of Labor estimates that by 2020 there will be 1.4 million jobs in computer science, but there will be only one-third the number of qualified computer science graduates needed to fill them. Seniors also have a need to be more comfortable with technology so that they can make use of today’s applications and communicate with their younger generation family members. Email and social media are the main avenues for communication today and we want seniors to be comfortable overall with technology, not fearful. 4-H supports the importance of developing STEM knowledge and skills in today’s youth. It has many initiatives and curriculum to support this effort. However, in society many people do know about 4-H, and if they have heard of 4-H, they have a misconception that 4-H is focused only on agriculture and animal husbandry. This project has the capability to travel and serve the needs of many communities, promoting 4-H and its values and increasing visibility of its STEM potential and combat this misconception.
How Will 4-H Help?
Pi-Mobile creates a mobile computer lab to provide technology education to underprivileged children and under-served seniors. The mobile computer lab uses mini-computers called Raspberry Pi’s to provide these services at a greatly reduced cost compared to traditional computers and at a size that is more portable for traveling to communities in need. We shall teach kids computer science concepts, motivate them to pursue higher education goals, and gain the technology skills needed in this information age. We will teach the seniors basic computer skills to be able to communicate more effectively and participate fully as citizens in this electronic age.