Hackathons for Gramma
“Of Apps and Aptitude: We Could Teach Grandmothers to Code.” This headline of the opinion piece by Vivek Wadhwa (Washington Post) caught my eye. My attention skipped ahead to a suggestion: ”Hold hackathons for grandma.” There would be camps – for a day or a weekend- where seniors would learn how to code and be motivated to come up with ideas for apps. Wadhwa suggested that these apps would probably be more useful than those school kids create.
As reported by Wadhwa, there is a shortage of young companies and whereas in the past the province of start-ups has been left solely to college students and other young people , she suggests the emphasis should shift to motivating and empowering the oldsters to form start-up companies as they are “the ones who are best equipped to solve the big problems and to create new industries.” She credits older workers not only with work experience but with “knowledge of diverse social and scientific disciplines and people –management skills.” She feels they are better able to consider options and weigh outcomes.
She proposes , among other things, teaching entrepreneurship to oldsters and funding their start-ups. Think tanks would provide funding, coaching, and connections. Hence the hackathon for grandma.
I’m pretty sure coding is not the job for me, but at least it’s an alternative to a different job I once jokingly considered. When I was teaching, I said, “Tie your shoelaces” so often that once, automatically, I said it to an adult male in a buffet line. Imagine my surprise to find that checking shoelaces was an actual job . One summer I noticed a T employee stood by the top of a very steep down escalator at a Boston T stop saying, “Tie your shoelaces.” At the time I thought, “Wow, a job for which I have twenty-seven years’ experience! Perfect!”
© Dorothy C. Judd
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