In 2013 serial entrepreneur Jill Hodges started Fire Tech when she couldn’t find any courses to satisfy her two tech-enthused kids.
Facing a widening skills gap in an increasingly technology based world, Jill wanted to provide a place where kids could get their hands dirty and experiment with a wide range of technology concepts.
The first courses were run over the summer at Imperial College and led by Imperial and Cambridge students who helped contribute to the curriculum. The courses immediately sold out.
Since then, Fire Tech has continued to develop a pedagogy that focuses on project based learning, problem solving and creative skills. We continue to attract tutors with hands-on knowledge of the latest technology in coding, robotics, digital media and design. The students are inspired by the collaborative and creative work environment. Parents love our small class size.
Fire Tech now offers a year round programme that has delivered over 70,000 learning experiences across the UK, Europe, Caribbean, Australia and the Middle East.
The principle goal of education should be creating men and women who are capable of doing new things, not simply repeating what other generations have done; men and women who are creative, inventive and discoverers, who can be critical and verify, and not accept, everything they are offered.”
― Jean Piaget, The Origins of Intelligence in Children, 1953.
Fire Tech, the edtech company that runs cutting-edge tech camps for 8 to 17 year olds, is today launching….
Today, we're announcing Fireproof.
Our mission is to foster the next generation of young innovators. Fireproof is how we intend to achieve this: by creating a tech education platform that goes much further than teaching skills, by promoting collaborative, challenge-based learning, framed around the technologies that will shape children’s lives, and by tracking their progress against the future careers that await them.
It’s clear we need a new approach to helping young people to thrive in a complex world that requires creativity and original thinking. The future is uncertain. But what is certain is that we won’t be able to develop the next generation of antibiotics, build the transportation for interplanetary transportation systems or… with a tech education system that is struggling to cope.
Computer science education significantly enhances young people’s preparedness for the future of work and active citizenship. The vast benefits of computer science education have been long-known, much like the critical lack of effective, accessible computer science education across the world. Recent studies have highlighted the link between computer science education and higher rates of college enrolment and improved problem-solving abilities (Brown & Brown, 2020), and how computational thinking improved student response inhibition, planning, and coding skills (Arfe et al, 2020).
At the same time, a recent study by the Brookings Institute demonstrated the critical lack of effective, accessible tech education across the world: only 20 percent of countries globally mandate computer science as an elective or required course, while 73 percent are only piloting CS education programs or had no available evidence of in-school CS education.
In this year of unprecedented change, we have been struck by three trends that we believe will shape education into the future:
We imagine education where young people learn about the future that awaits them, in a way that makes them feel excited, inspired, and connected to the reality far beyond the walls of a classroom. Every child deserves access to the space to learn, create and explore with the tools that are shaping their realities. We are imagining the environment to help them do that.
We’ve been working hard in 2020 to serve children looking to continue their journey in tech education online and from home. We have adapted 300 hours of courses for home learning, produced 8 new course titles in Java, AI, Minecraft, Roblox and Scratch, launched our first-ever self-guided courses, as well as short Experiences focused on a single amazing aspect of technology, to inspire new passions and ideas in our students. We have partnered with the likes of Amazon, Arm and the Sultanate of Oman to scale our reach to 55,000 young people across the UK and Middle East. And we’re working on big projects with international governments on everything from digital education to space technology.
How do we want children to learn? Children can learn how to code in a thousand and one different ways online. We want them to learn Python by programming a self-driving car; to understand how AI algorithms and ethics work by….; and, instead of playing videos games, to tackle real-life video game studio projects as work experience.
Students tackle projects with friends, meaning they also build new and important friendships, while building vital skills like communication and teamwork. And their learning is guided by expert tutors, who are Forbes 30 Under 30 entrepreneurs, design engineers from Imperial College London, professional music producers and games designers, and PhD researchers at Cambridge University. Their parents will have peace of mind that this is not just yet more screen time. Fire Tech means the sparking of a new hobby, the uncovering of new skills to use at home and at school, and a fundamental preparation for the world of the future.
We’ll start sending out invitations to the platform from early 2021, and you can join the waitlist here. Fireproof is designed for students aged 8 to 17, with any level of experience with technology.
There are 1 billion young people aged 8 to 17 across the world. We know we won’t reach all of them; but we are confident that our work will unlock a new generation of young people to harness technology, shape the course of their lives and have an impact on the world in the process.
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