African Empowerment of Youth and Teens In The Digital Age with WordCamp Conferences
William Jackson, M.Ed. World Metaverse Council
WordPress / WordCamp Community since2010
Certified VR Educator – STEAM+M Educator
CEO My Quest To Teach
WordCamp Europe 2023 provided a workshop opportunity for youth and teens across Europe. WordCamp Kampala and WordCamp Masaka are providing a youth and teen camp at their WordCamps as well.
These workshops are specifically for the youngest of attendees in the ages of 8 to 16 years of age.
Boys and girls from across Europe were provided an opportunity to learn how WordPress could empower, inspire, equip, and enable them to be not just content creators, but business owners and entrepreneurs. This is the same for Kampala and Maska conferences having the potential to build African youth and teens into future digital influencers, WordPress advocates and future
WordCamp volunteers, organizers, and speakers.
There is great importance in exposing youth and teens early by including them, they are the future of WordPress and WordCamp across Africa. Most organizations build-in mentorships, internships, or other areas to train youth and teens to make sure the future is bright, and a business or organization is sustainable and expansion.
Workshop in Europe like the one coordinated by William Jackson and Aida Correa Jackson (husband and wife) helped youth and teens see how WordPress can blend with diverse technologies that will influence the futures of the youngest attendees. Web development, STEAM+M Education, AI (Artificial Intelligence) Integration and VR (Virtual Reality) of Immersive Environments are some of the tools, platforms, and environments that youth and teens are learning. They will need strong foundations based on training, mentorship, and engagement. The fast pace of technology, the lack of exposure still influences the African continent digital divide that is present and being addressed by WordPress and the World Metaverse Council that the Jackson’s are members of.
Teachers of workshops, William and Aida traveled to Athens, Greece where over 2800 attended the European conference in Athens, Greece. Aida Correa Jackson was previously selected as one of the dedicated organizers in 2022 with many others that planned for WCEU 2023, William Jackson was selected as a photographer and My Quest To Teach was honored as a Media Partner. Both have international experiences with youth and teens providing workshops, and trainings Their experiences as teachers in public and higher education enhance their ability to connect with youth, teens, and young adults as the do with working with African WordCamps like WordCamp Kampala and WordCamp Masaka as they provide their Kids Camp conferences.
The activities developed are based on hands-on projects, using storyboarding, vision-boarding, photography activities, scavenger hunts, activities that integrates STEAM+M called “Are You Smarter Than An Eighth Grader,” that was modified to; “Are You Smarter Than A Greek Philosopher.” The activities are designed to bring out creativity, innovation, and imagination;
and build on the digital knowledge and skills the youth and teens have. Even in Europe youth are excited, engaged and entertained by technology. These European youth will be competing against African youth for future tech jobs. The Jackson’s hope they can guide youth and teens not just in the United States, but globally to see that youth and teens can be business owners and entrepreneurs.
According to BuiltIn Gaming (2022), ‘the gaming industry, a current $200 billion influencer, is arguably one of the most important and innovative sectors in tech today. Its importance to culture, social networking and entertainment cannot be understated.” Kids and Youth Camps are present at the upcoming WordCamp Masaka 2023 and WordCamp Kamala 2023 on the continent of Africa. The goal is to provide educational, business, and entrepreneurial training to get youth and teens excited about tech beyond gaming.
Pranah (8 yrs old) has an infectious smile that would not stop. She was among the girls attending that were inspired to create their blogs on WordPress.com (a free site). She was able to write about what she enjoyed, expressing herself stating, “this is the best conference ever.” Comments by Alex (8 yrs old) as he designed his web site “Alex The Awesome,” showed how influential activities like these are for mental health in youth and teens, building self-respect, and achievement. Kids want to see themselves achieve success and share it with the world. Alex also could not stop smiling, laughing, and giggling as he, and his mother helped build a web site which, from time-to-time Alex would say, “best time ever.” Posting his photos from the scavenger hunt, and selfies his mom and he took. These same ideas and emotions are shared by the African youth and teens attending WordCamp Kampala and WordCamp Masaka both in Uganda.
WordPress.com does not require coding, programming, or special digital skills. All that is needed is the desire to learn and incorporate imagination, creativity, enthusiasm, and having fun. The influence of WordPress and WordCamp conferences can be seen in its youngest attendees who are the future of digital careers, inventions and innovation. The better educated, inspired, engaged, and guided they are to using technology ethically and productively the better youth and teens can change the world in a positive and fruitful way.
WordCamp Conferences Europe and Africa
WordCamp Europe – https://europe.wordcamp.org/2023/wordpress-workshop-for-kids/
The numbers from WCEU
WordCamp Kamala – https://kampala.wordcamp.org/2023/
WordCamp Masaka – https://masaka.wordcamp.org/2023/students-showcase/
William can be followed on Twitter, Instagram, TikTok and Thread @myquesttoteach
Aida can be followed on Twitter, Instagram, TikTok and Thread @lovebuiltlife