The aim of this website is to document our family journey. It’s a journey about bringing up our daughters (Nina 3 and Violet 2) in a rapidly changing world and trying to think about and anticipate how to help them prepare for a future that will look very different to today.
I read a lot about technology, trends changing the workforce and the fact that AI / robots are predicted to replace a huge number of jobs. On one hand, advancing technology is improving our lives and creating a great number of opportunities. On the other, it will inevitably leave a lot of people behind and I don’t want my daughters to fall in that group.
My wife Natalie and I are both trained lawyers. We are not STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) people. We are comfortable with words and logic, detail and complexity, but we aren’t naturally people who will focus on maths and science at home. We will pay for good schools, make sure we encourage learning, sit down to do homework…. But is that enough to prepare them for what’s coming?
My sense is that we probably need to be more informed than we are now. Informed about what skills will be in demand, about what industries are likely to disappear and about new forms of education that are becoming available.
The assumption based on everything we read is that technology is key, and MyLittleCoders is a family project to see what we as parents can do to help our kids get prepared. Importantly, the goal is not for them to become computer programmers. The choices they make in life are theirs and it’s more important that they are happy with what they do, but I do believe we can help them be positioned for the future so that they have the widest possible choices available.
I am no longer in the law and now work for a large property developer in Singapore. Part of my role is to lead Innovation in the region, which exposes me to what is happening at the forefront of the real estate and construction industry. I have my own website called www.disruptproperty.com where I track real estate related start ups and not a week goes by without someone launching a new business somewhere in the world aiming to change our industry. It gives me a birds eye view to the future of one of the world’s oldest industries, and this trend is happening across all sectors – EdTech, LawTech, FinTech etc – so there is no doubt everything we take for granted now is soon going to change. The only question is how quickly.
Much of the time I’m at home I’m sorry to say I’m on a laptop, either working on my blog or replying to work emails. Nina has started asking if she can play on the computer so we write letters and words together. She loves it, but it got me thinking… how can I seize on those precious moments when she wants to do something together by introducing something educational rather than just looking for a last-minute app or showing her funny videos on YouTube.
This led me to the burgeoning world of STEM related toys, coding classes, kickstarter campaigns, subscription boxes and good old books all designed to help our kids ready themselves for the future. I’ve started to collect these and play with them together with Nina and Violet. It’s already meant the quality of play time has improved and if it sparks a passion or unlocks something that Nat and I may not have found ourselves that’s an outcome. If nothing else it will mean more time spent with the kids doing fun and interesting things.
To finish, it’s worth saying that as a family we believe in the basics like good manners, bath time and healthy diets and think that kids should spend time playing with mud, on swings, in cubbyhouses and daydreaming. This isn’t about spending a life in front of computers, it’s just about preparing for life dominated by them.