In 2013, my degree labelled me as a ‘Master of Sciences in the Educational Sciences’. My professional itinerary since that point is a bit more complex to summarize.
I immediately took to the link between games and learning as a researcher, after which I fluently moved on to digital literacy for the young and disadvantaged; on to teaching others how to program and more broadly digital creativity. Both on my official day job, as after hours and during vacations, I took every opportunity I could find to work with my passion. I passed through the Free University of Brussels, Mediaraven, Maks vzw, Konekt, Dwengo and IdeeKids. The accomplishment I am most proud of is participating in the Picademy programme and becoming the first Raspberry Pi Certified Educator in Belgium, a badge I wear proudly to this day.
At the start of 2019, I decided to switch gears and change my main job to the IT sector, starting as an e-learning development officer. Great fun, but don’t think for a moment that I would let go of my passion for digital creativity. I immediately started 8-Bit Magic ‘after hours’, with one main goal: organising the most excellent workshops I can.
Play, Make, Learn
I doubt parents (or anyone) will be surprised, but children and teenagers learn amazingly well by playing: in the sand pit, together at the dollhouse, with cars and role playing games; but just as well with digital means. The same can be said for adults, even though sometimes we seem to have forgotten. I identify strongly with the Playful Learning theory and try to apply its principles in everything I do. I’m at my happiest when I can create the means and space for other to explore, experiment and enjoy themselves through play.
My second –and perhaps even bigger- influence is the theory of Constructionism and Maker Education. We learn best when we can create something, especially concerning digital learning. The origins of this theory lie with the famous Seymour Papert (who coined the term ‘Mindstorms’), but constructionism has grown into a gigantic movement led by among others The Scratch Foundation, The Raspberry Pi Foundation en Pi-Top. Many of these theories and organizations inspired me to teach children and teens to learn how to program, create their own code, to build games and software.
Digital Creativity & Inclusion
In all my projects, I try to keep an eye on two main aspects: creativity and inclusion. After all, digital technology is only one of the many tools an educator has at her disposal. The learning experience becomes valuable when we rise above simply consuming. Therefore, I always challenge participants in my workshops to be creative. I don’t expect anyone to meekly follow perfect instructions, on the contrary: I want them to experiment. Making mistakes isn’t something to shy away from, but part of the learning process. The future doesn’t need coder slaves, robots can easily do that. Children and youngsters need to learn how to think out of the box and use technology creatively.
Secondly, I believe the digital world – and all the fun it entails – are meant to be accessible to everyone. I will proudly jump on the barricades for digital inclusion. Digital literacy skills and access to technology are a basic right for us all. I aim to pry open the digital doors in this world for girls and women, people with various backgrounds or origins, LGBTQ+, persons with a disability and anyone else who needs a hand.