“The initiative tries to get every kid in New Zealand interested in STEM subjects so they can program robots, design and print things in 3D, develop worlds in virtual reality, write games and basically invent the future we will all be living in in 10 years time,” Rowsell says.
The OMGTech! team want to prove any kid from any background, low decile or high, can learn technology, already it has inspired thousands of kids to become NZ’s next rocket scientists.
Currently, Rowsell and his team are looking at how to prepare teachers to teach technology and science when it is changing so fast.
“We are now working with schools to roll out our workshops for teachers to demystify STEM and make it fun and easy to teach,” Rowsell says.
“We know it is daunting to even think about how to teach a room of kids to code, let alone programme a robot,” he adds.
To help teachers everywhere with this task, OMGTech!, some talented students from Auckland University of Technology (AUT) and Unitec, have created its own artificial intelligence called Grace, with the support of Microsoft NZ.
Grace is available online 24 hours, seven days a week to answer any question about technology, STEM and the curriculum.
“At first Grace will know only a few things but you will be able to chat to her, and ask her questions,” Rowsell says.
“With every question asked, Grace will find the answer from an extensive online resource library and a team of leading educators and technologists, and in doing so she learns so she knows how to reply next time.”
In time Grace will learn as much as she can about STEM so the answers to any teachers’ curly questions are easily answered, in a fun and friendly way, he adds.
The name Grace came from the inspiration of Grace Hopper, one of the first women computer scientists in the 1940’s.
OMGTech! think she is an amazing role model and it hopes Grace can inspire many more women into technology.
Grace will be “alive” on Skype and Twitter soon but visit www.omgtech.co.nz/askgrace for more details or if you would like to help train Grace.