11.01.2016 — by Reetta Heiskanen

The Mehackit high school course is now in Stockholm!

In Categories: In English

Great news folks! We at Mehackit are truly excited to expand our creative technology enthusiasm to Sweden. During this autumn-term the Mehackit high school course has started at Viktor Rydberg Gymnasium in Stockholm.

Our course instructor in Stockholm is Hanna Årström, a tech enthusiast, student from Kungliga Tekniska Högskolan and a creative mastermind. We sat down with Hanna to discuss her story and maker-culture.

Hanna, you are instructing the Mehackit "Introduction to Creative Programming with Processing" course at Viktor Rydberg Gymnasium. How does it feel to teach creative technology to high school students?

It’s just so exciting and fun! I feel like I learn each lesson something new about what programming can be and how different people can approach it. The students have different backgrounds and experience in programming and creativity, which makes it a challenge to meet every students need. I really want to be the best possible instructor for them.

This is a broad question, but what is your background?

I have always been interested in how things work and how the world is constructed. This has led me both towards an interest in visual arts and in technology. Ever since I was a kid I have been jumping between these two areas, until I realized a few years back that maybe I don’t have to choose! I have studied engineering at Kungliga Tekniska Högskolan in Stockholm and did my Bachelor’s degree in Mechatronics.

That’s how I became interested in programming and felt that it offered a different kind of creativity than other technological areas. But I wasn’t happy with the uncreative way we were mostly taught technology and programming at KTH. That’s why I think Mehackit is so awesome and inspiring since it is highly focused on creativity.

What do you especially like about Processing?

I like that Processing is visual – there is a result of your code right away that you can see. This makes it a good program for beginners, but I think there is infinite possibilities to explore the language since it’s Java-based.

How did you end up studying at KTH?

I went to a Fine Arts program in high school, which didn’t allow to combine my studies with natural sciences. I always knew I wanted to learn more math and physics so I applied to a preparatory year that KTH provides for people who didn’t take a natural science program in high school. I really enjoyed the challenge and so I applied to the engineering program "Vehicle engineering", which is unique for KTH in Sweden.

You have also been involved in the Stockholm Makertjej initiative. Why do you think Maker-culture is important? Or is it?

I think that maker-culture can play an important role in democratizing new technology and making it available to people who wouldn’t normally be around it.

But unfortunately there is a tendency that technology is available mostly for people who already feel confident with the equipment and the technological jargon. So if the Maker-culture is going to reach its full potential, there has to be people in the movement working actively to attract new types of members. This is something that Makertjej works with.

What are you inspired by regarding future technologies?

There is a lot to be excited about! Virtual reality and motion sensing game consoles have so much potential in changing areas most people don’t think about, like visual arts and commercials. I’m also a big fan of airplanes and spacecrafts and I’m inspired (and frightened) by NASA and several other attempts for human space travel to Mars. Another big thing is the environmental challenge and how tech industries will have to change rapidly.

Do you have any role models from the technology field?

Karin Nygårds, a Swedish teacher who has become a spokesperson for education around IT and programming is one role model. The Youtube sensation Simone Giertz is also a big role model around dreaming big, doing silly things with technology and sending a message to young people (especially girls) that technology can be easy and fun to learn.

Thank you Hanna!

We are looking forward to help more schools in Stockholm to get involved with creative technology education - if you want to know more about Mehackit and our courses, you can reach us at hello@mehackit.org :)