NewTechKids was invited by the Mozilla Foundation to give two, online workshops for kids and their parents during MozFest 2021. MozFest is the Foundation’s annual festival which migrated online this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

During our workshops, we taught kids about how technology is designed through concepts such as resources and requirements before exposing them to the logic of coding by encouraging them to create their own coding language. We led them through a art-focused activity involving supplies which are readily available at home.  They designed robot heads and then hand wrote simple code.

Because MozFest’s theme was ‘The Internet and Trustworthy AI’, we challenged the kids to design good and bad robots. We challenged kids to create code their robots to do both good deeds and bad deeds to emphasize that technology can be used for good and bad purposes.

We taught a Dutch-language workshop in the morning and an English-language workshop in the afternoon. Our English-language workshop attracted kids and their parents from India, Mexico, Spain, the United Kingdom, Canada and The Netherlands. A total of 50 kids participated in our workshops.

Results of NewTechKids’ Straw Polls Answered by Kids

During our online workshops, we asked kids a series of questions aimed at encouraging them to think about robots, the ethics of using robots and gauging the attitudes towards robots. Below are the results.

Which robot is your favourite?
– Wall-E = 75%
– R2-D2 = 20%
– BB-8 = 10%

Are robots good or bad?
– 100% of kids indicated robots are good

Can robots think for themselves?
– no = 75%
– yes = 25%

If robots start to think for themselves, what will they do?
– cooperate with humans = 75%
– challenge humans = 25%

If a robot does something naughty or causes damage, who is responsible?
– 100% of kids said the robot programmer

Curious about how high school students think about AI and tech? See these survey results from PreparationTech’s online panel discussion during MozFest 2021 on AI and ethics.

A big ‘thank you’ to MozFest for including kids ages 7-12 in this year’s MozFest activities! It’s never too early to start educating kids about technology and its consequences and ethics.