Digital Skills | SDG4
April 23, 2020

Using technology to help others – from home

By Tara Chklovski, Founder, CEO, Technovation

*Technovation is one of the projects working to scale up as part of the Global Initiative on ‘AI and Data Commons’

Our internal well-being depends on others. Feelings of closeness and caring for others allows us to relax. A sense of goodwill towards others gives us inner strength in our daily lives, especially in the face of complex difficulties such as the global coronavirus crisis. An AI researcher recently did an analysis comparing tweets in March 2019 to tweets in 2020 and found the sharpest increase in the use of “WE” words –  “We are in this together; We’ll get out of this together”.

Last week a UN report warned that girls and women are in the crosshairs of this pandemic, and that if we do not all come together to support vulnerable groups, then the progress humanity has made over the past 50 years in education, equality and health may get wiped out.

Although the gap in basic living standards has narrowed – with many people escaping poverty, hunger and disease – the skills and knowledge they now need to compete in the immediate future have evolved.

A new gap has opened, and it is widening during COVID-19: Access to broadband, technology devices, social capital and enhanced learning opportunities. Once considered luxuries, they are now critical to compete and belong. Access to technology education is especially important in knowledge-based, “work from home” economies where more and more youth are literate, connected and stuck with no ladder of choices to move up (UN Human Development Report, 2019).

With 1.3 billion people classified as multidimensionally poor (half of whom are children), technology entrepreneurship education is a powerful approach to: 1) Building their self-efficacy; 2) Upskilling to 21st century skills, and 3) Expanding their capabilities.

Our mission in technology entrepreneurship education

Technovation is a global technology education nonprofit that has a grassroots approach to empowering underserved communities, especially girls and women, to address local problems through cutting-edge technologies (mobile and AI).

Technovation’s goal is to help underserved communities build a sense of efficacy as technology inventors and leaders, eventually leading to entrepreneurship and community resilience.

Participants go through a 12-week technology-entrepreneurship curriculum that introduces five levels of learning: Going beyond coding and content knowledge acquisition, helping participants develop the skills of real-world problem solving, collaboration, metacognition, and complex systems-thinking.

To date, Technovation has reached 162,000 participants across 100+ countries; 70% of the participants are girls and women.

New #SolveItTeam video series

As 1.52 billion children learn from home, Technovation has launched a video series, #SolveItTeam, to help parents and children explore a sense of purpose together, while learning new skills, and helping others.

The series is an invitation to all, especially young learners, to be a changemaker, even while staying at home. Through the series, children traverse the typical tech entrepreneur’s journey: Finding a problem that is meaningful, building a (virtual) team, understanding oneself, understanding human behavior, understanding complex, messy systems, and finally, building products that honor the values of its users and are based on a bedrock of compassion and ethics.

Now more than ever, it’s essential to give children a voice and a sense of purpose in what they learn at home. This pandemic may have disrupted our systems and habits, but now is our chance to build real-world problem solving, self-directed learning and compassion – key skills and character traits that will serve them for life.

“You are never too young to lead, and we are never too old to learn” — Kofi Annan

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Using technology to help others - from home

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