Virtual Earth, XBox Controller and 100’s of girls at TTYA

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TTYAOn the 22nd August John and I participated in Technology Take You Anywhere 2008, an event to help encourage school girls into Technology careers.  We were placed in the Multimedia space up against the dance mats, game bikes etc. We devised a bit of a game where we’d show the girls an image of a famous landmark and they had to find it using Virtual Earth, an XBox controller and help from their school mates.

We haven’t presented or had to deal with children and teenagers before so were a bit concerned they wouldn’t find what we did very interesting.  We’d tested it out on a few adults beforehand but not anyone under the age of 20! Would maps and geography be too boring for them? Are maps so 2001 afterall?

The day went really well and was INTENSE! It was non-stop all day with lots of questions and enthusiasm from all the girls. A tip for the future..if you’re at an all girls event it seems to help to talk a man along.  Check out my crowd versus John’s crowd in the picture as an example.TTYA VE

Somehow I did get a chance to turn on the video camera during the event and put together a bit of a summary package of our day. Look out for my favourite comment of the day at about 1min 30: “This is a game to trick people to learn”. One of the girls told John we should put in out on Playstation and make a fortune.

For me it was interesting to watch how quickly the girls just “got it”. Even if they’d never used an XBox controller or Virtual Earth before, they worked it out fast and saw lots of uses for the technology. It was great to see the girls then pass along their learnings to their friends; explain the game, what to do, why etc. They also don’t miss much. Most of them noticed I had Messenger running and wanted to know why, what I used it for etc. I use it a lot at work to keep in touch and pick people’s brains and the thought that was “cool” and apparently “didn’t realise adults used messenger”.

The organisers got some great feedback including : “Thank you for an awesome day 🙂 PS. This has just made me love computers and IT even more!! Hope I see you guys again in the future! (13yr old)”

Many thanks to Peter Ulm for letting us borrow one of his Virtual Earth banners.