A lucky few out of the fifteen Twin Cities youth in the current BRIDGEdotMN class recently took a break from the norm and spent an afternoon finding inspiration from local software firm Clockwork Active Media Systems and the Minneapolis College of Art and Design (MCAD).
Program Coordinator Ben Estes describes the experience:
“The BRIDGEdotMN youth were quite amazed at all the creative spaces that MCAD offers such as a 3D modeling studio, photo labs and video production rooms. We also saw a computer animation lab where they had a chance to use digital drawing pens on the special monitors. Next, we headed over to Clockwork for a tour and some product demonstrations. This was unique experience for the youth as they saw teams of designers and programmers working together to create mobile phone applications and websites. They especially enjoyed seeing the Quality Assurance department where a team of programmers is tasked with breaking websites for the majority of their day.
The youth got to test mobile apps and see demonstrations of recent Clockwork animations and websites. The students had lots of time to ask questions and were very inquisitive. One youth, Mohamed, got to show off the GIF animation he created and got some professional feedback. They also received some constructive advice for how young people can pursue careers in technology. The Clockwork team advised them on what to study in school, what school doesn’t teach and how to learn on your own.”
BRIDGEdotMN is a collaboration among TECHdotMN + three nonprofits — Project for Pride in Living (PPL), CTEP AmeriCorps, and Mobile Citizen — with a shared vision to end the digital divide in urban Minnesota. The program was imagined and constructed by Mike Bollinger and myself, funded through profits from TECHdotMN. To date, 21 local youth have received a new netbook computer, a year of mobile broadband, and technical skills workshops aimed at accelerating the digital learning curve.