Growing Australia's Future Minds
These 14 start-ups are helping kids get ready for the future
Work is changing, and so are the kinds of skills kids need.
To help prepare young Australians, we have partnered with leading start-up accelerator BlueChilli and Amazon Web Services to create the Future Minds Accelerator.
The four-year programme supports start-ups that helps students aged 5-18 get the skills they need for the future – like critical thinking, problem-solving, automation, systems design and data analytics. And many of the start-ups also directly help young people tackle challenges they may face – from anxiety to disengagement from school to getting learning support in geographically isolated areas.
Here is a snapshot of the 14 innovative and inspirational start-ups from our 2020 Future Minds Accelerator programme.
We are investing A$10 million over four years in the Future Minds Accelerator programme
They have created a range of workshops, programmes and resources to help teachers bring 21st century skills – like science, technology, engineering and maths – into the classroom. And for parents looking to entertain the kids during school holidays, they run “innovation camps” on topics like future cities and sustainable futures. All BOP Industries’ programmes are practical and based on real life. Students get hands-on experience using new and emerging technologies – like 3D printing and holograms. They can even design their own sustainable city.
Buzzy Games is a live online coaching platform on which students in Australia and the United States can come up with an idea for a game, build it using code, and then play it. Buzzy Games helps teachers and parents support students to build skills in collaboration, creativity and coding – in a way that is fun and engaging.
Catembe uses online interactive games and simulations to teach business education – everything from marketing to microeconomics. Students can participate in real-time, business-focused games using their own mobile devices.
Champion Life helps students around the world get active via physical activity and health challenges. The app includes videos to guide physical activities, motivational videos of community role models, monitoring tools to track use, plus a place for students to record how they feel before and after exercise. Teachers can see their students’ wellbeing scores – and support them, if they need it.
Digital Technologies Institute
For many people (ahem, like your friendly Rio editor here) – computers are mysterious machines full of boxes and wires that seem to make things happen magically. Well, Digital Technologies Institute is changing all that.
Founded by a passionate group of engineers and educators, Digital Technologies Institute is simplifying computer science – like how computing works, and how processors are built. Through their programmes, teachers and students can build their own computer processors and deep dive into artificial intelligence without having to code.
When Leonardo de la Fuente saw how much time his mum, a teacher, spent planning lessons, he decided to find a way to help. Fast forward to today, and Leonardo, his brother Sebastian and friend Wybe have turned school into a secure, online community. Edoome connects teachers with their students so they can communicate, collaborate and share.
It also has tools to help teachers save time in planning, assessing and keeping track of their students’ progress. So far, it has helped improve kids’ learning outcomes by 30%, and saved teachers an average of seven hours a week (!).
Hosted by TV presenter and scientist Dr Rob Bell, Experimentary is an online platform filled with engaging curriculum-based science experiments that can help kids learn more about the subject, while building important scientific skills.
It has lesson plans to help teachers and parents explain science and oversee experiments, as well as reporting tools to track comprehension.
It also helps them identify and build the skills they need. And through handy tools like virtual work experience, personalised career plans and access to industry mentors, Future Amp helps students make the transition from school to work.
Meet Gheorg, the friendly little robot that helps kids with anxiety. He is the brainchild of Dr Louise Metcalfe – a psychologist, scientist, entrepreneur and mum – who saw the growing prevalence of anxiety among children – and decided to do something about it.
After observing the kinds of characters that kids want to talk to, she created Gheorg. Six years on, Gheorg is now an app. He uses the latest psychological science therapies – like daily check-ins and meditation exercises – in a way that kids can relate to.
The school’s practical courses are highly visual, based in neuroscience and aimed at developing new thinking by connecting individuals with their visual mind and the imagination.
Designed by a group of teachers and corporate professionals, Inventorium builds a curriculum around each student’s individual goals, responsibilities and interests. So, learning becomes a part of their life – and students can achieve academic goals and life goals at the same time.
So they grew their network of tutors, teachers and mentors to reach these communities. Today, they work with charities, foundations, NGOs and businesses to provide educational support to Australia’s most remote schools and communities. And all of its profits go to subsidising Indigenous and rural education in Australia.
Designed for students ages 9-18, Vortals provides a simple and accessible way for kids to develop critical job skills – and have fun along the way. Through Vortals, students can learn from industry pros – cofounder Russell Scott directed Australia’s first 3D IMAX documentary “Hidden Universe", the sixth-highest grossing Australian documentary of all time.
Students are given real life start-up and incubator tools to create a social enterprise idea that solves a problem in their local community. They get to pitch their idea to a panel of experts and – if successful – Young Change Agents helps them crowdsource funding and bring their idea to life. It not only teaches young people critical skills, it empowers them to be entrepreneurs, leaders and world changers – and make a contribution to their communities along the way.