Wairoa ICT Club
We opened officially in December 2016 and within 3 months have over 100 members
As at March 2017
The Wairoa ICT Club comprises of three sub groups
The Gaming club has 75 members, currently averaging around 40 members per day. Members ages are range from 5 to 26 with most being between 11 and 16 years old with approximately %85 being of Maori Descent
The Online Business club has 16 club members with approximately %50 being of Maori Descent. 5 Club members are starting youtube business, 3 online retail sales and 2 other online business options.
The Coding club has 28 members with approximately %45 being of Maori Descent.
We are currently exploring the possibility of setting up interregional eSports competitions between Wairoa, Gisborne, Napier and Hastings.
The majority of club members have little access to the basic facilities or mentoring required to pursue ICT careers, with many being completely unaware of the many possibilities available. The club is providing both access to facilities and mentoring by experiance ICT practitioners and enthusiasts. Its anticipated that those benefiting from these facilities will contribute time and/or funds in the future towards providing the same possibilities to future tamariki. This is beginning to happen already with many youth and parents begin to step into leadership and mentoring roles in the club.
Why Wairoa needs an ICT Club
Like many rural areas, Wairoa suffers from economic decline and the resulting social issues. The reasons for this are many and varied, with the root cause typically being economic conditions driving improved efficiencies and innovation in production. This is generally achieved by reducing cost of labour through the use of automation in the form of larger more time efficient equipment, or by replacing existing functions within the production line with automated machinery. This is practically relevant in the primary sectors of which Wairoa derives the majority of its GDP.
• Wairoa is the most digitally disconnected district in New Zealand 2013 statistics NZ
• Wairoa has gone from around 10,000 residents in 1996 to 8,000 in 2015
• Wairoa is well below the Hawkes Bay and National average for school leavers NCEA results 2013-2014
• Wairoa is lagging behind NZ in changes in education, with Wairoa College school leavers 3 times more likely to pursue further education in agriculture over science and technology than the NZ average.
It is clear that the current business-as-usual initiatives in the form or education and social welfare are not addressing these issues, and in fact may be contributing to the problem by increasing dependency. We needed to introduce programs that will drive social and economic growth.
The problem is there are a number of changes that need to occur first these being
• Improved access to technology and broadband
• Increase innovation and creativity
• Increase Fluid Intelligence (the ability to problem solve and adapt to change)
• And most importantly the desire to change
In the last few years there has been a lot of scientific research into the effect of video games on cognitive development with some very surprising results, showing that children who play video games demonstrate long-lasting positive effects in basic mental processes such as perception, attention, memory, and decision-making. This is particularly relevant in youth and teens.
This is why we created the Wairoa ICT Club which consists of the
1. Gaming club – 10am to 8pm every Saturday this includes a green room for creating YouTube content.
2. Online Business club – 5:30pm to 7:30pm every Monday. All members working together to help each other establish their own online business
3. Coding club – 5:30pm to 7:30pm every Tuesday. All members working together to learn, create and teach coding will focus on industry leading languages and platforms such as C# and Unity3D.
Why a Gaming Club, isn’t gaming associated with lot of health and mental issues? Actually its quite the opposite. when scientists did the research they found that gaming is actually very beneficial both mentally and in some cases physically.
PHYSICAL AND MENTAL BENEFITS OF GAMING
Those that game regularly
- Have improved vision, they can read smaller detail on an eye chart than those that don’t.
- Better able to identify shades such as different levels of grey
- Improved ability to notice objects or items that are missing, moving or out of place.
- Improved ability to track objects, the average non gamer can track 3 objects, gamers can track 6
- Major improvement in multitasking abilities
- Improvement in mental rotation abilities
- Increased brain mass. Learning increases grey matter, this includes learning computer games.
- Increase in Fluid Intelligence (ability to think creatively and problem solve)
- Have improve attention levels, unfortunately this does not translate to school as this seems to have more to do teacher-led dynamics in the classroom (maybe the teachers need to play more video games).
EXAMPLES OF GAMES THAT MAY BE PLAYED
In general, the games will mostly be free downloadable games or games that members already own.
Some examples games that may be played
- League of legends.
- World of Tanks.
- Team Fortress 2.
- Counter strike
From experience half the time spent at the club will be spent collaborating and watching others game or create content.
POTENTIAL BENEFITS TO CLUB MEMBERS
This is where the true benefits of the club come into play.
There will be a number of club leaders or members who work in the ICT industry or are involved in online groups or collaborations such as creating online content or making YouTube videos.
Its anticipated that this exposure will provide many members with insight in the many and varied ICT possibilities that exist. We will also endeavor to encourage advise and support anyone who expresses an interest in pursuing any of these possibilities.
POTENTIAL BENEFITS TO WAIROA
Its anticipated that over time some members will get involved in the online business or coding clubs. The ultimate goal of all these clubs is to stimulate social and economic change and help transition the local economy into the information age.
- Improved problem solving skills
- Beneficial to cognitive development
- Stimulates creativity and innovation
- Improves critical thinking
- Improves digital literacy
- HTML and CSS
- C# (pronounced as see sharp)
Each club member will have access to the shared skills and knowledge of the active club members, this will create the ability to quickly lean the knowledge and skills to code. Each member will be encouraged to help and teach others, in doing so this will help them acquire some of the other people management and leadership. Also the best way to learn is to teach others.
It’s a little more difficult to determine how coding will benefit Wairoa as its likely club members who pursue a career in this medium will move to the Job. But in the future when coders are experienced and well established in the industry they may wish to return to Wairoa and work remotely for companies or projects they are involved in.
We will be looking at all forms of online business including but not limited to
- Online sales
- Drop shipping
- Affiliate marketing
- App development
Members who are interested in particular subjects will form working groups and may research/collaborate in their own time. Each weekly meeting will involve member sharing their experiences with the rest of the club, as the online business are developed they will be encouraged to become mentors to other club members.
Each club member will have access to the shared skills and knowledge of the active club members, this will create the ability to quickly lean the knowledge and skills required to establish an online business. Each member will be encouraged to help and teach others, in doing so this will help them acquire some of the other people management and leadership skills required to run a business. Also the best way to learn is to teach others.
More online business = more new money in the local economy and more employment and self-employment opportunities.