My dream job is working with children in a DIY environment, with a focus on creativity, hands-on experience and playfulness. Oh and technology, cause I’m still geek-me.
Sadly, Belgium is a small country with very limited resources in this field and not that many initiatives. I salute the organisations out there doing amazing work for kids, such as Fyxxi Lab. But they don’t have money to hire me. None of them do. Because well… relying on government funding sucks.
Then there are other projects -I will not name- that do interesting things, but lack the creative and pedagogical vision I dream of. Not that this is a bad thing: a technology and coding oriented vision is also a valid one. But not mine.
What to do? What to do?
Create my own opportunities of course!
I know this will be a long process, with a lot of blood (from all the DIY), sweat (from racing around town from partner to partner) and tears (yes, I cry easily) involved. But it will be worth it in the long term.
I am realistic, it won’t be the job I’ll be doing in September, when my current research contract ends. No, it will be in 2016, probably 2017. But rest assured, someday you will be able to send your kids to my educational DIY program. And they will learn to build awesome stuff, from games, over sculptures, to big-ass (safe) rockets.
The plan of action:
- Skills that pay the bills.
- DIY skills, especially in electronics, so I don’t accidentally cause any major fires.
- Kids workshop skills, so the kids don’t accidentally cause any major fires (or on purpose for that matter).
- Creative & communication skills, so I can pitch the hell out of my idea to get that government funding
- Network, network, network
- Contact FabLabs, Hacker Spaces, Maker Spaces, … I need to get to know all the interesting people that might be able to back me up and throw out a recommendation here or there
- Social and Cultural organisations. Same story as above, but you know, more people oriented.
So now my evenings are filled with reading Make: Magazine books and issues, learning how to solder, folding origami, thinking about cool things to do with kids.
Next to that, I started volunteering at an awesome digital workshop and camp organiser for children, ZebraKIDZ, based in Ghent. And tonight I have a meeting at TimeLab, starting my learning journey to become more than an educational scientist, an educational maker scientist… Or something like that.
I think I need more free time. Maybe being unemployed soon will be a blessing?