STEM Education for Disadvantaged Kids - Craig Polk EP17

On today's podcast we're diving into STEM education and digital education for disadvantaged kids. 
Craig Polk is a passionate volunteer, and works in developing products for communications. Craig has a rich history of inspiring students around the world. 
Craig has worked with many great education programs such as IEEE pre-University, Girl Scouts, Goals Ahead, VIPS, Greenlight for Girls, Junior Achievement, Young Science Achievers, and Take our Daughters and Sons to Work.
Craig is passionate about bringing opportunities to children of all backgrounds to enrich their lives through education.
Connect with Craig; 
This episode of the podcast is sponsored by Skill Samurai - Coding & STEM Academy 

Automated Transcription of the Podcast: 

Welcome to the Parenting in the Digital Age podcast, many parents are concerned that their child might be falling behind. Others are just looking for ways to help their children thrive, not just in the classroom, but socially and well into their future careers. Each episode we explore the challenges facing parents in the modern world, from behaviour, education, and nutrition to device and gaming addiction. We interview a range of leaders in the area of childhood development to help you successfully navigate parenting in the digital age. Here is your host, Jamie Buttigieg.

Speaker 2: Uh, hello parents, and welcome to another exciting episode of Parenting in the Digital Age Podcast. Today I am delighted to be joined by Craig Polk, who works in developing products for communications, and has a rich history of inspiring students as part of great education programs such as I e e, university Girl Scouts, [00:01:00] goals Ahead, VIPs, green Light for Girls, junior Achievement, young Science Achievers. I need to take a breath here and take our daughters and sons to work. So, uh, I just, prior to all this, Craig and I were talking before we, uh, started rolling on the podcast, and in short, Craig's working in nine to five, but, uh, delivers tremendous impact to his community and communities around him through volunteering. So I'm very excited to dive into that. Um, but you know, Craig's really passionate about bringing opportunities [00:01:30] to children of all backgrounds to enrich their lives through education. Now on today's podcast, we are diving into the world of STEM education, digital education, and digital Divide education to underprivileged I'll take a breath now. Craig Polk, welcome to the show, but please share with our listeners in your own words, you know, what you do and what you are, um, passionate about. Please welcome,
Speaker 3: Uh, sure. Um, thanks for being able to, uh, get that introduction out in, uh, only [00:02:00] a couple of breaths. I know it's a mouthful. Uh, so thanks Jamie, for having me on the show. Looking forward to talking about these topics with you. Um, so if I really had to sum up, you know, what I do in my own words, um, I pretty much strive every day to help save lives, bring joy to people, and inspire the future. So there's a couple ways that I do that, but, um, most of my focus is on education, specifically, uh, STEM education, which [00:02:30] is, uh, science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. So, um, when I was growing up, I had this vision of how I was gonna be a, a famous sports athlete. Um, I was really big into ice hockey and, um, you know, luckily enough I had a, uh, a teacher who kind of challenged me on my, um, my thinking and said, Hey, where are you gonna go with this? You know, how plausible is it? And do you have a backup plan? And I really [00:03:00] didn't have one. And I know that's, that's difficult for a kid, you know, who's around 13, 14, um, just getting into the end of their pre university studies, um, of what they're thinking about in the future. But it's, uh, I was lucky enough to be challenged and kind of, uh, set me on a different journey and brought me to where I am today.
Speaker 2: Yeah. Fantastic. And so, um, we talked a little, uh, before the show at Kids in Cleats. Uh, do you wanna start [00:03:30] by telling us a little bit about that and, uh, your role there and, uh, the impact that, uh, you you're making there?
Speaker 3: Sure. Yeah. So Kids in Cleats is a, uh, United States non-profit, um, that predominantly uses soccer to help build communities one player at a time. So what I mean by building communities is we produce soccer as a vehicle, or I should say football as it's known throughout the, the, uh, larger majority of the [00:04:00] world. You know, in the United States, we like to coin that different soccer term. And, um, we have a group of children in a underprivileged area in Africa, specifically in, um, the country of Cameroon, where we teach them soccer skills. We teach them the benefits of teamwork, um, social skills, as well as different educational opportunities that they don't have. Um, kids and cleats is a relatively new nonprofit. Um, we just started in the, [00:04:30] um, early 2019, um, and, you know, shortly after we were, uh, had to deal with this global pandemic that went on and being a organization that's headquarters in the United States and working in a overseas environment, of course there was some, uh, new problems that we had to deal with because of that.
Speaker 3: But everybody kinda came together and we were able to get through a lot of those issues. And, um, [00:05:00] over the last couple years, what we've done is we have, um, now 78 students in our program, and we have our own athletic, uh, football field, and we're currently looking to break ground on a new computer and community, uh, center. So, um, when earlier I mentioned about how, uh, we build up community to support a player, um, when you think about it, you know, and Jamie, I don't [00:05:30] know if you've ever played a, a sport before, so I guess I'll have to ask, you know, your background in that. If, you know, you've, uh, um, when you were growing up, did you play any, any type of sport?
Speaker 2: I did a fair bit of martial arts, which is, uh, an individual, but there is a same element to that. So yeah, I'll say yes.
Speaker 3: Yeah. So for the people that have played any type of sports, individual or team sport, one of the things that happens to everybody is we get dehydrated, right? So if you think about all these things that go into playing [00:06:00] a sport, um, and just looking at that one of dehydration, we have to come up with a solution of how do we provide water at our facility. So being able to construct the well and construct, uh, um, you know, water outlets for people that are using the facility had then a community impact because we were able to deliver water to some of the, uh, the local houses in the community. So all of those kind of things like that, as we're building up our program has more of an impact just past the, um, like 78 [00:06:30] students that we're, that we're working with.
Speaker 2: Yeah, that's, you guys are delivering tremendous impact, and I like where it's going. This, uh, computer lab and introducing stem. Let's talk about STEM for a second. So, uh, we know you've talked about science, technology, engineering, and maths, but now we're hearing things like steam and stream, and parents still ask me in outing centers, you know, what does STEM and what does it mean? And there's still not necessarily a, um, a wide understanding. Um, can you maybe give us some background as to what those things are, maybe [00:07:00] how they're related and maybe how they're not related, just for the benefit of our parent listeners?
Speaker 3: Um, yeah, sure. That's a great question, and I definitely hear that a lot with a lot of the, uh, outreach that I do for stem. And as you mentioned, you know, STEM has four major components in it. The, the science, the technology, the engineering and the mathematics are its core concepts. And this idea of STEM education has been around for several D decades. [00:07:30] And, uh, what we've seen recently is the, um, I wanna say expanding of the acronym, right? So just to throw out two, um, alterations of that, we have steam and stream. So what does that mean when we put an A in with stem? So we've seen a more, uh, merging of, uh, arts into, uh, the science and technologies. So just to give you kind of an example of what that means is we've had this development [00:08:00] using things like 3D printers to create, um, unique works of art.
Speaker 3: We have a lot of artists now that are doing things through computer-generated art, how other things such as, uh, machine learning, artificial intelligence comes into that, and what are some of the artistic components that are uh, that, um, excuse me, that revolve around the sciences. So we've seen this kind of expanding into, uh, uh, to STEAM. And then the, [00:08:30] uh, the second one that I mentioned, stream now adds an r component to that. So we build on the arts that we have, and then now you add such things as, uh, reading and literature as well as communications. So, um, for, for some people who may be watching this that grew up in a technical background or now they have technical careers, um, you may have heard, you know, the saying, um, which I heard a lot in my university was, uh, you could be the smartest person in the world, [00:09:00] but if you can't explain it to someone, um, your worth is gonna be limited.
Speaker 3: Right? So coming up with some great ideas, being able to not only just plan them and create something, but explain it to somebody else is a, is a crucial, uh, piece to that. And then, um, kind of an offshoot of that. We see other areas that are using the same acronyms, like the R for example. Uh, we've seen it used as religion. So [00:09:30] instead of bringing in the reading in the literature component and the communication part of it, there's this bringing of religion and sciences together. Um, so depending on what the, um, I almost wanna say, uh, use case of it, what the specific school or organization is doing, you'll see a little bit of differences that are, um, in there on how they approach it. But the main, um, science, technology, engineering, and mathematics is still the, [00:10:00] the core, um, to it. And sometimes, you know, you can have stem, um, programs that bring in the arts and bring in literature and communication, but they may not change the, uh, the acronym. So it's almost like a, a marketing tool in, in some way. And depending on who you, who you talk to, people have preferences over which, um, uh, name they they prefer to use.
Speaker 2: Yeah, that's great. I wish we'd always just decide on one and have [00:10:30] a, a uniform approach. Like we, our, like our learning centers are coding in stem, we call 'em stem, but the reality is, uh, it is really stream. It does incorporate a bunch of other elements. Like for instance, when we do a YouTube, um, uh, video maker camp, there's, there are artistic elements that are creative in artistic elements when we do, uh, you said 3D printing, uh, even coding, some of the guys are coding games and designing animations and art and going behind that. You know, helping kids build that [00:11:00] healthy relationship with technology, but also help them, um, you know, become digitally literate because that's where we're headed next. And I suppose is a nice segue to our next question, you know, why, why, why, why is digital education so important for our kids?
Speaker 3: Well, you know, just to be kind of honest, you know, technology is everywhere, right? How we're communicating, um, through this use of the, uh, video meeting, um, this [00:11:30] was not really possible. You know, when, when I grew up, you know, and, or, or even just if we look at it in a shorter timeframe, um, even five years ago, this wasn't really used for being able to communicate across the world, right? So we talked without video. Um, and then if you back up even before that, you know, you would have issues with, uh, long distance calling and, um, the cost involved in it, you know, calling from United States [00:12:00] to Australia would, um, usually, usually limit, you know, what's the focus, what's the conversation? Coz there was a cost piece of, of it. And so as the technology is developing, it's bringing in more tools and opportunities, reducing costs so that more people can do things really easy.
Speaker 3: You know, like meeting and, uh, being able to share ideas and share information and, um, you know, they have the saying that information is power [00:12:30] and our education systems are all built around understanding and learning as much information as you can. So as the technology is allowing for these greater avenues to get access to information, our education systems, um, have to evolve into using technology more and more. Or there's gonna be a large amount of information that's not available. And as our society continues [00:13:00] to use this information, and, and it really shrinks the world and by, you know, making the world smaller, our children, um, they have to adapt and be able to learn things in a different way. Um, you know, learn things, it's faster. Um, you know, when, when we think about, um, classes that I had when I was younger, um, some of them I didn't take until I was in university.
Speaker 3: And I see my children [00:13:30] now that are in high school or even middle school, you know, taking these classes. You give the great example of coding, right? You know, like I didn't have my first computer until I was 18 years old. And, um, nowadays in, uh, in like developed economy areas, um, children have, uh, they, they're almost born with the computer, right? So, so they come out and, you know, there's just all these computers everywhere [00:14:00] around them. Screens are everywhere. And so, um, as they adapt to this new environment, it's really important to understand what are the, the benefits of this, uh, tool that we can use to help, um, our education system.
Speaker 2: There's lot to unpack there. Um, you know, in our own learning centers, we teach coding in stem and we believe that coding in particular, um, and digital literacy as a [00:14:30] whole is absolutely critical. Cuz technology has brought us so much good, okay, let me say that first. But there is also a crisis, right? There's also a technological crisis. There is an addiction that is occurring amongst our kids with social media. And, and you said it right there, they were born with it. I was having coffee this morning and there was a, a parent sitting with, you know, maybe a 10 month old, you know, baby, for, for all intents and purposes. And, uh, this mother, uh, you know, had their baby in a trolley in the supermarket and, uh, [00:15:00] was sitting down drinking a coffee, turned away from the baby just on a phone. Now these kids are gonna model that behavior.
Speaker 2: And you know, this, first of all, it's a parental responsibility here. I don't even know where I'm going with this. This is just a bigger conversation to unpack. But I guess, um, you know, really we have a responsibility as parents and educators to help our kids understand the language of the next generation and to give them access to the tools and technology as well as the work you are doing to help the underprivileged and [00:15:30] the marginalized and disadvantaged in the world have access to the same tools as well. What was interesting, um, is that I was, uh, uh, a couple of months ago I was playing golf very, very badly, uh, with our internet service provider. And, um, I was talking about, um, how we could get our students into pathways and to, you know, doing internships and things within their organization. And he turned to me.
Speaker 2: And, uh, at first I was really angry with the response. I was really frustrated [00:16:00] with the response. He said, Jamie, all of our, um, you know, it, um, graduates and all of our programmers and our IT support come from Ukraine. And I'm like, I'm furious. Like I'm all about how do we help our kids at home? Was there enough, enough challenges here? And he said, and he, and he said something which you've already touched on here, and that is, you know, there are countries out there that are really focused on digital learning and digital, digital literacy. I mean, there are, there are teachers and schools in Australia where they are scared to implement this sort [00:16:30] of stuff cause they just don't have the knowledge or the resources, right? We still don't have a good coding curriculum in some school, many schools in Australia. And, uh, you know, when you look at what C'S done to the world, it's brought, you've said this, it's brought us closer together.
Speaker 2: Uh, we're a lot smaller. And now organizations, uh, sorry, our kids are no longer, like my kids just aren't competing with the kids next door. My kids are now competing with your kids and the kids in Ukraine and the kids in China. Because organizations [00:17:00] with the help of covid have figured out, have figured out how to do business more remotely, how to do business, you know, with people working from home. And before they were quite reluctant to do that, which means they will now hire the people that are better, better educated, have a better work ethic, right? And, um, those that'll probably work for less because let's face it, it's, there's an economic factor there with organizations getting squeezed in other fronts. They're gonna try and save money on staff and overhead. So I think our [00:17:30] kids are in trouble, you know, maybe the US as well, but certainly within Australia because we are not keeping up. So, uh, I I guess maybe I'll, I'll lead, I'll stop talking for a minute because this is a podcast and it's supposed to be an interview. Uh, you know, how do you see digital literacy and digital and virtual education evolving in the future? You know, is this something that parents should be more or less concerned about? But like, where do you see this whole digital learning thing going?
Speaker 3: Um, yeah, that's [00:18:00] definitely a tough question to unpack. And, uh, I'll give you also a good, um, reference point for in the, uh, United States. So, um, on the onset of covid, when everyone moved to, um, hybrid or remote working, uh, one of the things we saw as workers came back was the, um, organizations and corporations, um, that previously said, you [00:18:30] know, hybrid models don't work. Remote models don't work, so it's impossible to be as effective in your, like, in your schooling or in your job if you're not in the building, right? And, um, that kind of forced us into a little experiment. And, um, as people were, um, having the opportunity to come back to the office and maybe didn't want to, we've seen corporations [00:19:00] in the United States look for areas such as, you know, you mentioned Ukraine, uh, Philippines is one. Um, you know, China and India are also large powerhouses for having, um, access to technology and a really large workforce that is, um, trained for specific functions and specific roles.
Speaker 3: So it does kind of change the playing field where, [00:19:30] you know, um, you're computing competing with the person who's sitting next to you, but now competing to someone who's, you know, world's away, right? On the other side of the globe. So it definitely does change, um, how things, um, are approached. And so there's definitely a concern there, um, that hasn't really been addressed in a lot of countries. And so in, in, in areas like Australia, in areas in United States, it is, [00:20:00] it is definite concern, um, because you wonder, you know, what are gonna be the available jobs in countries? Like, we'll, we'll just say that, you know, have, um, rich economy, right? What are, what are the job availability gonna be in countries that have a rich economy when now they're competing for, um, spots, um, in such a big diverse, uh, global economy, uh, scale that we've never [00:20:30] had before, right?
Speaker 3: So, um, to, to look at things where, you know, we wouldn't have to compete in, say, an economy that was underperforming because they didn't have the means to the technology, right? They didn't have the means to get to these types of jobs, but now they do. And so, you know, it changes kind of the playing field and it makes us have to revamp what we know about education and what we learn. So there's definitely gonna be a need to, um, learn a lot [00:21:00] more, uh, specifics, right? So some educators talk about how, okay, the shift in education is gonna be very much on the specific, right? And you see this in some areas in, uh, Europe already, and it's been a, a foothold in education system in Europe before where everyone goes to some basic, you know, uh, university. And then once they figure out what they do, they have specific universities for like, um, for coding, you know, for medicine, everything becomes specialized [00:21:30] because the only way you're able to compete is through, uh, unique characteristics and unique set of skills that you have.
Speaker 3: So in the United States, we don't have that as, as much. There's a lot of, uh, general, uh, areas of study. I'm not sure how the university is in, in Australia, if it's along the same thing. And, and when I, when I say that there's not a lot, I don't say mean that there's none, right? So we have, you know, nursing schools, we have, you know, medical schools, engineering schools, but, [00:22:00] um, on the whole, um, in the United States, I believe it's, it's close to, um, 90% of, uh, uh, students actually make it into some type of post, um, education, either in university or other trades. So it's, it's a real high number. So there was already a lot of competition here in the United States. Uh, but then we see things in, and I'll take the example in Africa, right? So because of the technology in Africa, [00:22:30] um, it's just coming in, right?
Speaker 3: And there's such a, a humanitarian effort there, um, because organizations such as a UN that go into these places, um, they talk about, okay, well what separates these poor economies from bigger economies? And one of the things today is the, how they handle technology and what kind of technology they have available. So, um, and, and just to give like a, for example, um, one of the schools we're working with in Cameroon, [00:23:00] they had a, uh, computer course that they gave. And we had somebody from our organization out there that went there to kind of like, um, audit the course and see what it was like. So they were going through, um, a Windows seven and a Windows eight, you know, like real old, you know, software compared to what it is now, where at, at 11. So it was a couple years past, but there wasn't a single computer in the room.
Speaker 3: They were talking about it on a chalkboard, right? And this school didn't [00:23:30] even have, uh, lights, right? They didn't have power, they didn't have electricity, but they still understand the importance of they have to teach these kids what a computer is because they have to, to know this to be able to compete. So they're at like a, a, a huge disadvantage. But as we're seeing more technology come out and that price of technology is gonna drop, um, these students that don't have access to any of these education materials, they're gonna start getting it cuz [00:24:00] they're gonna start having devices. Now, that doesn't mean they will be taught by, you know, African teachers. There's a huge possibility that the trend is gonna be, they're gonna have remote, uh, teachers from the us, from Australia, from Britain, from other parts of Europe. So, you know, one of the things that, uh, has been predicted is we may see, um, more wealthy, uh, societies, uh, [00:24:30] and economies, um, changing their structure that they just build up other economies, right?
Speaker 3: So, um, so not as much, uh, creating is gonna be done, but not as much manufacturing is gonna be done because it costs a lot here, right? It costs a lot to have a Australian coder. It costs a lot to have a factory in Australia or in the US or in Great Britain, but they can do those same setups in Africa, right? [00:25:00] And they can have the workforce specifically there, and then they can have the educators, the managers, things like that virtually tie in. So, um, you know, the education system is trying to grapple with that and like, what does that mean for instructing, right? And it, it's, it's a really tough question and it's a tough, like, uh, like political parts come in because, you know, there, there's concerns about, you know, moving, [00:25:30] um, workforces outside of the country. What does that mean to the local economy?
Speaker 3: You know? And in the grand scheme of things, you know, you could look at this in, in different ways where you say, okay, well, um, because there's this large digital divide, right? There's this, you know, big difference between people who have things and people who don't have things. You know, you're gonna expect the people that are on the bottom area to come up, right? And that's gonna happen both in education and their knowledge [00:26:00] and their access. But as that's happening, one of the things, you know, we don't really like to talk about, um, is that the people that are already up here, they're gonna come down. So there's this big scare and worry about, um, countries that are more developed already. What does that mean to them? You know, as they drop down, how do those, uh, societies deal and those countries deal with that drop, right?
Speaker 3: There's concerns of [00:26:30] unemployment, um, you know, uh, what happens to the future workforce? Um, and that hasn't really been addressed yet. It's a lot of conversations going on, uh, around that. So, uh, some of the things we're trying to do, uh, in kids and cleats is we're trying to understand what does that look like for un underdeveloped countries, right? How are they learning this? How are they bringing their education systems in, right? So the, there's, [00:27:00] um, organizations like us, uh, they come in and we have some concern about, um, I don't, I don't wanna, I'll use the term shady, you know, like not trustful areas that, um, they come in, right? And they build things up and they create these schools because they're looking to make money, right? And then they go away, and then the institutions like fail. But, um, in the past, those failures [00:27:30] of institutions really only impacted that local area.
Speaker 3: But now as the local area is growing on more of a global scale, it's gonna have ripple effects to, um, people that we're supporting that, right? As well. So we have to make sure as we're building those institutions up, we kind of watch how much impact, um, other societies are, are pulled down. Because at one point we all really wanna meet in the middle, right? We wanna [00:28:00] have this global standard of life where people have, you know, um, they have life, they have education, they have a, a, a easy means of survival. And, um, but at the same time, we don't want to, um, impact the future education of, uh, other students that are already, you know, at a very manageable, uh, area right now. So I don't really know if that answered your question or if I started going off [00:28:30] on like a, a, a tangent on the side.
Speaker 3: But, um, yeah, it's a difficult question. It's a difficult problem to, to, to look at. And, um, you know, one of the things why we're, why we're trying to also, um, we also educate inside the United States, um, of different schools. So we'll go to schools and we'll, we'll like connect them with, uh, some of the students in Cameroon. And for some of 'em it's like kind of eye opening, right? You know, [00:29:00] they see when we can get internet connections there and when we can actually host like a Zoom call, like, or, or, or some other type of video call. And the students in the US they see, oh, wait a minute, you guys have benches, you don't have desks. Some of you are sitting on the floor, you don't have electricity in your school. And, um, one of the students we were at in, in, in a school when we mentioned, oh, they don't have electricity, we have to bring in like solar power, they don't have electricity [00:29:30] there.
Speaker 3: And they mentioned, oh, well we have school closures anytime we have power outages. So if we had a power outage in a United States School, they close the school and they send everybody home. And it, you know, in some parts of the world, that's never a concern because they don't even have power to begin with. So it's, um, yeah, there's many points to, to go over, and I'm sure we could talk about this for a really long time. And, um, you [00:30:00] know, I know your, your listeners and your viewers, they have concerns. Different groups have other concerns. So we we're hoping we can play a part in trying to, um, you know, better, uh, not only people, um, overseas and in, in, in poor economies and help them with their education issues, but also some, you know, here locally. And, and just to kind of give you like a, for example, of some institutions that are doing that while they're trying to help, [00:30:30] um, lower economy, uh, areas.
Speaker 3: And there's a benefit to, to everyone. Um, I'll give you an example of, uh, of mit. So it's Massachusetts Institute of Technology. So it's a famous engineering school here in the United States. And, um, they created, they were one of the first ones to start this open, um, university campus that's done a hundred percent online, it's a hundred percent free. So you can have access to [00:31:00] a lot of the same training courses that you would get for thousands and thousands of dollars. But you know, you don't have access to students, you don't have access to the staff, but you have access to the material. So you're able to learn, um, you know, if you've, you know, never had the opportunity and you wanted to think about, okay, well, is engineering something I wanted to go into instead of starting a school and, you know, wasting, uh, say, well wasting, you know, using [00:31:30] all this extra thousands of dollars where you could buy a car, you know, instead of a school education, they have a chance to, uh, sample almost different courses and they can understand, all right, well, what do I want to go into?
Speaker 3: What am I passionate about? Um, where do I think I can kind of be, be helpful? And a lot of these courses now that are done in the United States, there's also this focus on bringing other things in on a, um, uh, [00:32:00] I I wanna say a, um, more of a philanthropy type aspect to it where, you know, hey, making money is not just everything. You know, as you grow up, you know, you have to realize as you're getting into university that it's really just not all about making money because how money is made is, is gonna change, right? And so there's this different aspect of what's impact do you have in your local communities [00:32:30] and globally that really has to be taught now? And some universities have jumped on board on this, some countries have jumped on board on this, this, and others are a little slower to to, to do this.
Speaker 3: And, uh, but I think that's a trend where things are gonna go. There's, you know, courses are just gonna be taught more with, hey, there's, there's more involved to a to a business, or there's more involved to your career of just what you can do or how it can benefit you, but how it can benefit others. [00:33:00] And, uh, we're seeing this ripple down into, uh, lower education levels. We hear about, um, social and emotional learning. We hear about emotional intelligence. These are all things that we didn't have like really a decade ago or, um, maybe even less in, in a lot of the schools that we're in now, but they're, they're really important. And, um, it's really gonna kind of shape how, um, education will impact [00:33:30] business and corporations in the next decade.
Speaker 2: Yeah, it's certainly, uh, gonna be interesting to see, uh, it all evolve. I'm certainly a big believer and there's a lot of evidence to suggest that face to face learning, uh, you know, yields some, uh, really beneficial learning outcomes. But I'm also a believer in giving access to education for all. And, um, you know, to, to that extent, um, you know, if there's ever anything we can do, uh, Skill Samurai, to get our educators to, you know, partner with your organization to provide [00:34:00] some, uh, time to teach some of these classes, if they've got access to the equipment, um, let's stay in contact cuz um, we'd love to be able to help and give access to, you know, coding and stem curriculum to, to those kids who otherwise don't have access to it. Um, now we, we can, but we can certainly go on for, uh, a lot longer. Uh, but we need to kind of wrap this up. Um, so let's change the note a little bit. Let's talk about something a little lighthearted. One question I like to ask all of our guests [00:34:30] as we conclude, uh, and round off our podcast episode, uh, is, you know, if you had a time machine, if you could go back and give your 10 year old self one piece of advice, Craig, what would that piece of advice be? Share with our listeners?
Speaker 3: Well, oh, wow. That's a, that's a great thought-provoking question. You know, if I had a DeLorean, I, I don't know, you know, Back to the Future is one of my favorite movies. So if I had a DeLorean and I could, you know, uh, get up to speed and [00:35:00] travel back in time and see myself when I was 10, um, I, I think one of the things I would tell myself is, is something that I tell a lot of, uh, kids that are, are program mentors now, is that, um, uh, don't be scared to do something small. And, and what I mean by that is, um, uh, when I was growing up, um, sometimes there were things that I didn't do because I thought it wouldn't have an impact or [00:35:30] I thought it didn't mean anything, right? So if, if you think about it from like a school level, um, you know, there's always the big, there's always the big project, there's always the big final exam, there's the big test.
Speaker 3: So you do a lot of studying on that because, you know, the bigger the test, the bigger the impact, right? And, and, and sometimes we won't do, uh, participate in class. We won't answer a question, we won't do a homework because we think it's small and we don't really think it's gonna, uh, [00:36:00] do anything. Um, but how we, we teach that through our program is to kind of expand on it, not just about, well, if you do that one homework assignment or when you're doing homework, if you do one extra question, right? And, and then you do that every day and you look at it over, um, uh, a month, a year, all of a sudden that's extra hundred questions, right? That you went through that you learned. And if you kind of redirect that a little bit away [00:36:30] from, um, just studying and instead, uh, helping people, right?
Speaker 3: Um, sometimes, you know, we won't say hello to somebody because it's either we think it's not gonna mean anything, right? We're like, oh, it's just a quick word. Um, I won't pick up somebody's book or paper because maybe they dropped it, they only dropped one thing. Um, you know, if a student is looking around and they're confused, [00:37:00] you know, oh, they'll find their way. There's other staff there, you know, if, if I help them find their class, it doesn't really make a big impact. And, and sometimes a lot of students now they're really focusing on what's the big impact, right? Like, what, what club do I join? What sport do I do? Uh, what classes do I take that's gonna have the most amount of impact? And, um, we try to tell them, Hey, you know, you should, um, you know, stop in, [00:37:30] even if it's a club on music, on art, and even if it's for one day, you know, even if it's not gonna be something you do for a whole year, don't be scared to try something small because, you know, when you try something small, sometimes there's a, a, a ripple that comes from it.
Speaker 3: You might ignite something that you didn't think was a passion of yours. You might be able to help somebody in what you thought was meaningless, but that other person thought was a big thing. So, um, [00:38:00] you know, when you see something from a certain perspective, uh, you have a chance of missing other things if you don't take the time to just try it. And even if it's only for a few minutes. So don't be scared to try the, the small stuff. And, and I know there's that saying that, um, you know, don't sweat the small stuff that we say don't, don't care about it. You know, be focused on the big things, but you know, life is made up of all these little small pieces and, um, and, and you [00:38:30] don't have to really, um, stress over those small pieces, but you shouldn't also skip over 'em.
Speaker 2: Yeah, that's, uh, that's actually quite profound. Uh, you know, those small things are important. I often try and teach my kids to, you know, or one of the things I say to them is, you know, how can you be 1% better than you were yesterday? How can you grow 1% more? How can you give 1% more? And if you practice that over a hundred days, you know, you've grown yourself a hundred percent and just, you know, continue that, uh, you know, just look for those little pieces of growth or those [00:39:00] little opportunities in life to contribute. And that's something, uh, you, Craig, have certainly done in spades, and I admire the work you guys are doing and, uh, your generosity. So thank you. Um, for those listeners who want to perhaps connect with you or kids in pleas, uh, if they've connected with your message today, where can we find you online or how can we get in contact?
Speaker 3: Um, yeah, so, you know, they can find this on, uh, social media, LinkedIn, Facebook, uh, Twitter, Instagram. Uh, our website is our main hub. Uh, it's [00:39:30] Um, there we have our phone numbers, our email addresses. So, um, yeah, we we're always looking for, uh, for people to partner with, people to, uh, just kind of spread the word. Um, you know, we, we have a lot of our information available in, uh, English and in French since, you know, Cameroon's uh, predominantly French, uh, speaking country. Um, so that's [00:40:00] the base best place they can reach out and find more information about what we're doing, what we're about, and how we're trying to, um, you know, help our global education community.
Speaker 2: Yeah, that's wonderful. I'll put all those contact details in the show notes today. Um, Craig, thanks again for your time, your generosity. I know this will, uh, certainly impact, uh, uh, many parents to come, those who come across our podcast over the coming years, and I hope we stay in contact. I'm sure we can do something together down the track.
Speaker 3: Yes. [00:40:30] And thank you so much, Jamie, for helping, you know, uh, parents learn about all these different, uh, aspects of education, you know, what goes on in one area, different fields, and I think it's really important for parents to keep that conversation with their kids about, uh, uh, their educations, their plans, their goals, and, um, always just keep learning, right? Every day try to learn something, you know, an extra 1% or an extra one step. Just, just try to keep moving forward.
Speaker 2: Absolutely. [00:41:00] Craig, thanks again for your time and bye for now. Cheers,
Speaker 3: Bye. Cheers.

If you enjoyed the show, please connect with Jamie on LinkedIn or Instagram. You'll find links in the podcast. Description parenting in the digital age is sponsored by Skill Samurai, coding and stem academy for kids. Skill Samurai offers after-school coding classes and holiday programs to help kids thrive academically and socially while preparing them for the careers of the future. Visit