Children experience technology: the youngest ones do research

Children experience technology: the youngest ones do research
Children researching
Image: KET

A four-year-old explores the 3D printer, a five-year-old girl experiments with hydropower. In Upper Austria, more than 150,000 small children have come into playful contact with natural sciences since 2009 with the “KET − Children Experience Technology” project. “We want to stick with it,” emphasizes Doris Hummer, President of the Upper Austrian Chamber of Commerce, at a press conference on Monday.

Remove shyness, arouse interest

The aim is to continue to take away the shyness of four to seven year olds and arouse their interest in technology. Successes are particularly evident among female apprentices; 16 percent were trained in technical professions last year. This means an increase of six percent compared to 2022. “This project is an important stimulus for the little ones,” says Deputy State Governor Christine Haberlander (VP).

The project is offered free of charge to the more than 741 Upper Austrian kindergartens with around 47,000 children. Thanks to the rental service, 21 KET stations are available to kindergartens for a week, reaching 10,836 children last year. “The rental days were fully booked within five minutes,” says Martin Hollinetz, the project manager at Otelo eGen, describing the great demand.

“Candle turning” as a highlight

Since 2022, it has also been possible to rent learning packages such as the 3D printing pen for a month. With this innovation, an additional 12,219 children were reached last year.

The stations are constantly adapted through constant exchange with teachers, new topics that arise, but also based on feedback from the children. “We always wanted to choose one topic, but we weren’t allowed to because the children love it,” says Hollinetz, calling “candle turning” a big highlight for the youngest children.

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