Bitlink after-school STEAM courses provide creative technology workshops for Launceston students

STEAM: Joe Robinson, Bridgette Kaminski, Nathaniel Bott and James Riggall of Bitlink with the game "The Adventures of Mustard Sunshine", created in a Bitlink after-school program. Picture: Paul Scambler

STEAM: Joe Robinson, Bridgette Kaminski, Nathaniel Bott and James Riggall of Bitlink with the game "The Adventures of Mustard Sunshine", created in a Bitlink after-school program. Picture: Paul Scambler

Bitlink is set to launch their latest after-school program of creative technology courses, teaching children how to use and develop technology while thinking practically about the processes involved.

The courses give children insight into robotics, including building their own robots with basic software, and learning the basics of computer programming.

A second course uses Minecraft to teach children about teamwork and democracy through building a Minecraft world and then creating a charter to govern behaviour in-world.

Bitlink’s James Riggall said that while “a huge percentage” of Tasmanian children are interested in technology, there remains a gap between children consuming technology and becoming creators.

The Bitlink philosophy focuses on integrating arts within the STEM fields of science, technology, engineering and maths to become STEAM, giving children a better understanding of why and how technology can impact lives.

​”If we want kids in Tasmania to be able to create their own opportunities, then we’ll need to do more than just teach them science and engineering,” Mr Riggal said.

“That’s where the A in STEAM education comes in.”

Mr Riggall said since integrating arts into the courses, balancing out the technology with creative problem-solving, he has seen a better gender balance in the courses as more girls get involved.

“The key idea here is that while we want to teach young people to be programmers or engineers, we also want to teach them creativity, entrepreneurship and design,” Mr Riggall said.

“I believe that if you teach children science, technology, engineering and maths, but you don’t teach them creativity, design and entrepreneurship at the same time, then you’ll train an entire generation of children who know how to build stuff, but don’t know how to figure out what to build.”

The six-week program costs $150 for classes capped at 16 participants and begins next week. Tickets are available at bitlink.com.au.

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