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Hack to the Future – the most exciting unconference

2012 February 23

I’ve been to a lot of unconferences in my time, but none with any level of excitement to match Hack To The Future!

Alan and the raffle prizes

The event, created by Alan “@teknoteacher” O’Donohoe, was a massive opening salvo to highlight the recent UK Government announcement that the ICT curriculum is changing from September 2012. Alan successfully brought together children, businesses and enthusiasts to produce 40+ talks and workshops on the day.

I loved the mix of workshops and sessions, children loved the hands on experience of using electronics in the lab, I saw many children sitting down and learning to solder with the Fignition team, Julian and Helen did a fantastic job of engaging with the children (and the adults who were fighting to get their hands on the tiny 8-bit computer) and illustrating that electronics can be fun.

The crowd

Children Soldering a fignition

Microsoft Gadgeteer

Hama beads

Children also enjoyed creating their own hama bead creations, a session lead by a 12 yr old girl. Adults sat side by side with children and learnt how to make various badges and figures (There were quite a few 8-bit and 16-bit game character creations coming out of that workshop.)

The children were given free reign to choose what talks they wanted to see, and used handy mini maps and mini grids to record when and where a talk took place.

On the day, the BBC unveiled a very early pre alpha build of their new coding platform, dubbed the BBC Micro II. This platform allows beginners to learn how to code, and then their source code can be compiled for many different platforms. It’s still early days, but it is a fantastic premise, and one which I will follow with great interest.

Tom Crick Keynote

At the end of the day, Dr Tom Crick presented the closing keynote, that the purpose of the day was to excite and inspire children and adults to make a difference in the ICT curriculum, highlighting that the event is the start of many similar events around the UK, and indeed the world.

This event was fantastic, and I recommend it to children and adults, you can learn so much, just by having fun. If you would like to learn more, visit their lanyrd page.


Big thanks to Josette and O’Reilly for providing gifts and prizes for all of the children.

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