Top 4 Takeaways from the Digital Garage Launch
A couple of years ago, the idea of having a physical making space for the public was unheard of. Fast-forward to today, the public can easily gain access to various locations around Singapore to innovate and create. On the 8th July 2017, the first Digital Garage was launched, a dedicated space for the public to experiment with technology. With a physical space made readily available for residents, people from all walks of life can have access to the necessary tools to create their own inventions!
I attended the launch of IMDA’s Digital Garage- a partnership between Tanjong Pagar Community Centre and the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA). Ms Indranee Rajah, Member of Parliament for Tanjong Pagar GRC, was the Guest of Honor for the event, which saw bustling attendance from the public with many interested in the digital making movement. Students from various Secondary school and Polytechnic students were eager to showcase their micro:bit projects to the public..
During my time spent at the launch, I was immensely impressed with all the showcases. With that, here are my top 4 takeaways from the launch.
1. Creativity is Boundless
As the saying goes, “You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.” That is definitely evident in the projects I saw done by the various Secondary school students at the launch. I spoke to a few students from Clementi Town Secondary and Xinmin Secondary School, and discovered their burning passion for digital making. Despite their young age, these students expressed great interest and were proud of their respective creations – and I definitely see the reasons why!
Think this is just a normal photo frame? I was at first but the students from Clementi Town Secondary School explained to me how they used a motion sensor and a micro:bit to create a smart photo frame with LEDS that will light up once it detects motion. Imagine my delight when the photo lights up when I walked past!
Students from Xinmin Secondary School created a ‘Rock Paper Scissors’ game, a music player, as well as a plant-watering reminder! Through my interaction with them, I learned that these projects were completed within a semester during their Design & Technology (D&T) and Information Communication & Technology (ICT) lessons. Talk about multi-tasking! Being able to come up with such innovative creations within a short period of time is no easy feat; I’m truly amazed at their achievements at such a young age.
Ngee Ann Polytechnic students from the School of Engineering course showcased a Bluetooth controlled (toy) car, designed to help stroke patients and elderlies improve their motor skills. Their lecturer, Mr Chua, shared that these students underwent C++ programming in their first year, where they picked up skills that came in handy for this project.
These students have proven that innovation and creativity is indeed boundless! No matter how old or how experienced one is, taking the first step out of his or her comfort zone to explore the wonders of digital making is key! Visit our homepage at www.digitalmaker.sg. to find out more on how you, or your child, can make a difference as a digital maker.
2. Coding is not as Daunting as You Think
There has never been a more diverse age group that is diving into coding and programming than today. Pre-school children are learning basic programming through activities such as ‘Bee-bot’; Primary and Secondary school students are picking up coding; Tertiary students are adopting coding and programming as a core module in their academic curriculum.
From my exchanges with the students, these projects were created by them without prior exposure and experience with coding. They confided that they initially thought that coding would be tough and complex. However, despite their initial unease, just look at how much these students have accomplished! One student also shared that she started learning programming/coding through online tutorials on YouTube!
3. Digital Garage’s First Milestone in Providing Easy Access for Making
Imagine the latest tech tools at your disposal. The Garage is equipped with materials such as power drills, glue guns and 3D printers provided by Home Fix and NCS Pte Ltd. It also partnered with Singapore Polytechnic to provide more sophisticated tools such as laser cutting and 3-D printing facilities. Residents have complete access to these tools to embark on their making journey.
The Digital Garage also provides an ease of access for Digital Making with the micro:bit- a pocket sized codeable computer equipped with a motion sensor, accelerometer, and LED lights- coding can be experimented by everyone without prior knowledge. With learning made easy, the micro:bit is suitable for people of all ages. To sign up, members of the public can visit and book their classes at www.facebook.com/TanjongPagarCC.
Digital Garage will be branching out into other constituencies, so do keep a look out for one in your vicinity! Meanwhile, for those who are looking for a space to create and innovate, head on over to their website, https://xpc.sg, or contact Home-fix XPC at +65 6444 9751 to book a maker space! If you wish to learn on how to program and code using the micro:bit, do head over to Tanjong Pagar CC Facebook at www.facebook.com/TanjongPagarCC to look at the available schedule timings.
4. Never Stop Learning, No Matter Your Age
During the micro:bit workshop at the launch, I was surprised to witness the room filled with makers of all ages! It was heartening to see individuals come together to share in the spirit of digital making, regardless of their age. This goes to show that the digital making spirit is not only limited to youths but to individuals of all ages, from all spectrums of life.
With society becoming increasingly reliant on technology, it is no wonder that tech jobs are high in demand. This year, IMDA reported a lack of up to 30,000 information technology professionals, reflecting how valuable coding skills are, parents should certainly consider providing a head start for their children!
It was truly an inspiring and insightful time spent at the Digital Garage launch speaking to many motivated students about their projects, and witnessing individuals from all walks of life gather together to embrace and support the Digital Making spirit. As what SMS Indranee said, “The sky’s the limit. You can continue to make and invent as many things as your creativity and imagination allows you to!” I am now even more excited to kick start my Digital Making journey!
If you are keen on picking up coding and Digital Making, find out more about our upcoming Parent-Child workshop on Saturday, 19th August 2017 via our Facebook Page www.facebook.com/digitalmakersg
Alternatively, Tinkertanker – one of the vendors for the Digital Makers Programme – also provides coding classes! Head over to their website at http://tinkertanker.com/ to find out more!
Finally, stay updated with events and workshops via our Facebook and Instagram pages (link below). More details are also available at www.digitalmaker.sg.
With all that said, I urge you to wait no more, and start adopting the Digital Making movement today!