HackSpace NT

The Cause

In 2016/17, WAMP will offer a workshop series to give Northern youth a chance to gain practical experience in STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) fields. The NWT has great need for youth who are excited, passionate, and educated in STEM fields, and WAMP aims to be a part of pioneering that future.
HackSpace NT will include the following components:

• Do-It-Yourself Electronics
o Teaches the use of Littlebits, in which participants explore technology by inventing devices with supplied electronic building blocks;
o Combines hands-on learning with online lessons and examples.

• Toy Hacking
o Focuses on soldering and circuit bending old toys to teach the basics of circuitry;
o Teaches how to re-appropriate, fix, and customize salvaged electronics, toys, and musical instruments;
o Will give a basic understanding behind the function of everyday electronics.

• 3-D Printing & Modeling
o Focuses on model building and scanning physical objects to recreate them with 3D printing technology;
o Participants will learn how to model objects in 3D programs such as Blender; and how to transfer these skills to other uses, including equipment prototypes.

• Kano
o Teaches the construction of Raspberry Pi computers & “Scratch” game programming software; and
o Focuses on digital video game design as a means of storytelling, and learning about game development and animation.

The goals of HackSpace NT are to create essential skills for young Northerners as citizens of an increasingly digital world. Developing digital communication skills allows individuals to share their insights and ideas in cross-curricular activities, learn about digital literacy and its application to the modern workforce, and access information and resources responsibly by evaluating the quality and credibility of the content. HackSpace NT will leave participants with a deeper understanding behind everyday technology, and the myriad roles it can play in their lives.

Who Will it Benefit?

Youth living in Yellowknife, N’Dilo (a Tli’cho community outside of Yellowknife), Hay River (South Slave), and one community in the Sahtu region of the Northwest Territories (to be determined) will be able to attend HackSpace NT. There will be a total of 4 workshop series held in N’Dilo (2 in the summer, and 2 in the winter), and 1 per season in each of the South Slave and Sahtu communities. Each workshop can accommodate a maximum of 12 participants. With support, we can offer this opportunity to almost one hundred Northern youth.

Corporate sponsorship will allow WAMP to reduce or eliminate the participant cost of the program, which would increase accessibility to low-income families and youth. The benefit of this type of workshop is that young people are encouraged to take an active interest in their own education, and to pursue healthy activities and opportunities, as opposed to more negative options.

In the long-term, the whole of the Northwest Territories will benefit from additional training for young people in the STEM fields. Giving youth a chance to experiment and learn about the possibilities of technology at an early age increases their chances at pursuing post-secondary education in these industries. As the NWT continues to grow as a major player in resource development, Northerners with education in these fields will be in increasing demand, and will be in a position to contribute directly to the political, social, and economic future of the North.