Yesterday at the Technology workshop, Cole Zrostlik and Colleen Zertler talked about STEAM programs, particularly ones that use technology. They both had excellent ideas, and two points really stuck out for me for being helpful when thinking about working with older kids and teens:
Embrace Imperfection: Colleen talked about going against the Perfect Pinterest Project grain: not having a perfect project to demonstrate, not being worried when things don't work like you expected, and emphasizing the PROCESS over the PRODUCT (sound familiar? we talk about this with younger kids all the time). We have to give kids the chance to experiment and mess around.
Cole also talked about the importance of addressing the digital divide partly by allowing kids the time and space just mess around with technology (after first talking with them about how to be a good Digital Citizen). She pointed out that kids who have access to technology at home probably have opportunities to mess around and try stuff out, and that kids who don't really need time to do that.
Know Your Audience: Colleen again talked about trying to reach a serious tech-minded audience with her programs when she started by offering a Scratch program to allow kids to make their own video games. But the kids who were really into that sort of thing didn't come to the program, because they were way beyond it, already having taught themselves C++ programming. Scratch was way to elementary for them--but her tech programs do reach kids who might not think they are smart enough to do electronic circuitry, etc., but are attracted by the idea of the project itself.