A LIFELONG KINDERGARTEN: Dusty McOnie, co-ordinator at the Computer Clubhouse in Lismore, Gail Breslow, director of Intel Computer Clubhouse Network and Jennifer Parke, community engagement manager.
A LIFELONG KINDERGARTEN: Dusty McOnie, co-ordinator at the Computer Clubhouse in Lismore, Gail Breslow, director of Intel Computer Clubhouse Network and Jennifer Parke, community engagement manager. Mireille Merlet-Shaw

Shock: Tech can be creative

IF YOU ever wanted your children to discover how to create with technology instead of playing games and spending too much time on social media, check this out.

Lismore's Youth Connections Computer Clubhouse opened this week under the Conservatorium on Keen Street.

It's proud to be the first Computer Clubhouse in a regional area of Australia, joining three clubhouses in Melbourne and Canberra.

They are part of a global network of clubhouses founded by Boston's MIT Media Lab and Computer Museum in 1993.

The space provides young people with the opportunity to experiment with their ideas using technology - from computers to a paper and pen - and to collaborate with others while being mentored by an adult.

It's all free, funded by the NSW Government.

"The clubhouse learning approach is designed to empower young people from all backgrounds to become more capable, creative, and confident learners," Youth Connections community engagement manager Jennifer Parke said.

Gail Breslow, director of the global clubhouse network, travelled from Boston to attend the Lismore launch.

"While 'computer' is our first name, it's really not about computers," Ms Breslow said.

"It's about young people rediscovering the joy of learning and rediscovering a sense of their own potential and possibilities for the future and understanding what it's going to take to realise that."

"Of course they gain marketable technology skills, but it goes so much further."

The clubhouse network comes with an impressive record. A recent survey found 97% of alumni said it had been a formative influence in creating high goals and expectations in life.

Some described the clubhouse as having kept them in school or as a home away from an unhappy home.

Youth Connections's Nicola Garnsey said it was "about learning how to create rather than consume."



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