In kids cartoons, 0% of princesses are engineers, 2.9% of characters are black, and Batman doesn’t recycle

Detective Dot book and apps

News via The Guardian of a new Kickstarter campaign to tackle poor representation of girls/women in STEM subjects (or rather STEAM – they quite rightly include the arts where they belong, alongside the other disciplines).

“In kids cartoons, 0% of princesses are engineers, 2.9% of characters are black, and Batman doesn’t recycle. And kids spend up to 9 hours in front of screens seeing this stuff everyday,” explains Detective Dot’s Kickstarter pitch. “We’re obsessed with buying stuff but we don’t know how it’s made or who made it. Kids media is heavily stereotyped. Children, particularly girls and minorities, need positive role models in engineering, science, technology, arts and maths.”

Read the Guardian article here and contribute to the Kickstarter campaign here

Netflix made socks that know when you’ve fallen asleep while binge watching

Netflix socks

The socks use a method of rest and activity monitoring known as actigraphy. So a built-in accelerometer will wait for you to stop moving for a prolonged period of time before sending a signal to the TV to prevent you from losing your place in Mad Men for the 20th time. An LED light will blink beforehand, notifying anyone who may just be chilling very hard to move their foot if they’re still awake and watching.

Read the full story here

Quite an interesting project for those minded to try it – requires an Arduino and knitting skills. Obvious publicity aspect aside, I think this is quite a nice way to get the imagination going: how else could we combine textiles and technology?

Can programmable robots Dot and Dash teach your kids to code?

“For kids, coding is a tool that gives you the ability to look at the world very differently,” says Gupta. “That ability will be a powerful aspect in whatever a child grows up to be. They don’t have to be a programmer or a computer scientist. They could be an architect, a doctor, anything.”

Read the full story here

John Cridland: Encourage teenagers to study arts so computer games of the future are not designed by ‘spotty nerds’, says CBI boss – Education News – Education – The Independent

Teenagers should be encouraged to study the arts at school to make sure the computer games of tomorrow are not designed by “a spotty nerd”, the head of Britain’s bosses has said. John Cridland, director general of the Confederation of British Industry, wants a drive to persuade schools to adopt the mantra of promoting “STEAM” subjects (science, technology engineering, the arts and maths) instead of just the STEM subjects pushed by ministers.

Read the full story here

John Cridland: Encourage teenagers to study arts so computer games of the future are not designed by ‘spotty nerds’, says CBI boss – Education News – Education – The Independent

Teenagers should be encouraged to study the arts at school to make sure the computer games of tomorrow are not designed by “a spotty nerd”, the head of Britain’s bosses has said. John Cridland, director general of the Confederation of British Industry, wants a drive to persuade schools to adopt the mantra of promoting “STEAM” subjects (science, technology engineering, the arts and maths) instead of just the STEM subjects pushed by ministers.

Read the full story here

Programmable jewelry uses high school cliques to teach kids to code

How do you get teenage girls interested in coding? Simple, give them new ways to call out friends and enemies in social scenarios. At least, this seems to be the idea behind Jewelbots, a new line of programmable friendship bracelets that light up and vibrate when other Jewelbots are near. BFFs can assign one another custom callsigns using the iOS and Android app, and when they meet, their bracelets will pulse and buzz in tandem. Or, if they don’t light up, well, you’ll know that Stacy just cut you the hell out of her life.

Read the full story here

This is the tiny computer the BBC is giving to a million kids

The BBC Micro moniker is already familiar to many in the UK, having been used for a series of machines designed by Acorn Computers and released in the country during the 1980s. The comparatively cheap computers helped thousands learn programming skills, and played a part in kickstarting the British video games industry, as coders designed increasingly elaborate console games in their bedrooms. Rocks references the original BBC Micro in describing the scope of the new project. “As the Micro Bit is able to connect to everything from mobile phones to plant pots and Raspberry Pis,” she says, “this could be for the internet-of-things what the BBC Micro was to the British gaming industry.”

Read the full story here

Britain’s tech future isn’t just about turning kids into coders

Finding candidates who demonstrate creativity and flexibility can often be just as important as a formal qualification. Ultimately, coders must imagine new solutions to problems; people from non-traditional backgrounds can be particularly good at this. For example, you might not think an understanding of music would be beneficial to coding, but you’d be wrong. Two of our senior developers joined us with just this background and with no formal certificate in coding. Programming and composing music both rely on a rigid framework (music has notes and rhythmic structures, coding has data types and operations). Both are about creating something from nothing and figuring out how to get there, with almost infinite scope for creativity and rule breaking.

Read the full story here

Britain’s tech future isn’t just about turning kids into coders

Finding candidates who demonstrate creativity and flexibility can often be just as important as a formal qualification. Ultimately, coders must imagine new solutions to problems; people from non-traditional backgrounds can be particularly good at this. For example, you might not think an understanding of music would be beneficial to coding, but you’d be wrong. Two of our senior developers joined us with just this background and with no formal certificate in coding. Programming and composing music both rely on a rigid framework (music has notes and rhythmic structures, coding has data types and operations). Both are about creating something from nothing and figuring out how to get there, with almost infinite scope for creativity and rule breaking.

Read the full story here

Britain’s tech future isn’t just about turning kids into coders

Finding candidates who demonstrate creativity and flexibility can often be just as important as a formal qualification. Ultimately, coders must imagine new solutions to problems; people from non-traditional backgrounds can be particularly good at this. For example, you might not think an understanding of music would be beneficial to coding, but you’d be wrong. Two of our senior developers joined us with just this background and with no formal certificate in coding. Programming and composing music both rely on a rigid framework (music has notes and rhythmic structures, coding has data types and operations). Both are about creating something from nothing and figuring out how to get there, with almost infinite scope for creativity and rule breaking.

Read the full story here