Sept - Dec 2016
Global Digital Innovation
Edu Tech 


Category Archives: Digital Education

Children Need to Know How Things Work Without Expensive Robotics Kits

​Educators are beginning to recognize the importance of bringing engineering and technology into the classroom by introducing circuitry, programming, and robotics as a way to meet NGSS (Next Generation Science Standards are), K–12 science content standards requirements. The biggest issue for teachers is where to begin and how to afford the resources. With so many robotics kits on the market … Read more

Tinkering ON —


An immersive and engaging approach to embracing computers and technology – that is what Seymour Papert brought to the world. South African born Seymour Paper, who died in July 2016 and whose legacy still lives on and is recognised as the founding thinker and doer in getting learners especially children to engage actively with technology as … Read more

Tinkering – Illuminating the world and making waves

jie A few years ago Jie Qi, co- founder of Chibitronics and a qualified mechanical engineer, started looking at the idea of paper electronics and making stickers – peel and use circuit stickers, stickers with a twist – stickers that light up. Today, she is acknowledged as one of the pioneers leading the creative digital science movement in art and science … Read more


This was astounding. Walking into ThoughtWorks, Johannesburg and seeing coaches clean, mop, vacuum and organise desks for the first Rails Girls Johannesburg -was humbling and I was awestruck…


That is the spirit that set the tone for Rails Girls Johannesburg’s first presence in SA.   The organisers, coaches, ThoughtWorks Orville Khangale and volunteer Gary Segal including a 10 year old … Read more

Deputy Minister of Education to attend Rails Girls Johannesburg launch on 7 December 2014

Enver Surty NewThe Deputy Minister of Basic Education, Mr Enver Surty will be speaking at South Africa’s first ever Rails Girls workshop in Johannesburg.

Rails Girls is a coding workshop that was initiated in 2010 in Finland. Founded as a one-woman initiative, the Rails Girls project is a volunteer-based project that opens the door for young women to take part in the … Read more

Altering the lens of the world

Three years ago Linda Luikas began teaching herself programming. Today, she is acknowledged as one of the pioneers leading a digital transformation that is rapidly spreading from Finland to Africa. And in December, Johannesburg, lawyer Ayesha Dawood, through, will host the country’s first Rails Girls workshop.

Linda is a co-founder of RailGirls (using Ruby on Rails),  and we managed … Read more

Rails Girls’ Code inspires creativity

A primary goal of Rails Girls Summer of Code is to be inclusive to the all of our part-takers – participants, coaches, mentors, supervisors and everyone in the organising team, with the most varied and diverse backgrounds possible. As such, we are committed to providing a friendly, safe and welcoming environment for all, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, ability, ethnicity, … Read more

Liandra brings coaches to help with coding

Ayesha Dawood, lawyer and founder of, wanted to bring Rails Girls to South Africa.

Around the same time that she began thinking about bringing this techno project for young women to South Africa, and quite co-incidientally, she met Emi Maj, the organiser of Rails Girls events in Poland and Maputo. The meeting between the two in Johannesburg was the … Read more

Digital Pioneers open Africa’s doors

Emi Maj is among the new generation of digital pioneers. Her latest passion, connecting people through technology, may sound like a project designed for an advanced highly developed country and it probably is. But the Polish former graphics designer has exported her desire for sharing know-how to the shores of Mozambique.

A struggling economy and still trying to rebuild its … Read more

Change begins with one person


While South Africa stumbles about desperately struggling to formulate digital communications policy, many countries are already implementing their policies. The problems and obstacles in each country are unique to the environment but sometimes some very simple initiatives point to solutions.

A few years ago in Finland, two non-technical women became involved in digital communications technology. Their learning … Read more

ThoughtWorks: disruptive thinkers want to change the industry

Kgomotso Sediane, the first general manager of ThoughtWorks South Africa, is leading a team of skilled professionals who are enthusiastic and opinionated. They are determined to make changes that will have a lasting effect.

Armed with a BSc computer science (software engineering)Ms Sediane started her career in 1998, working in the software development field as a programmer, expanding her skills … Read more

You’ll need a bit of curiosity …

Taking part in building the Internet may seem like a dark mystery to most people. But Rails Girls is changing all that. If all you have is curiosity and a willingness to learn, you can join a unique group of women, and some young men, who will walk into the new world of technology.

In a first for South Africa, … Read more

Creator Spaces   Designing Innovation Economics


Ayesha Dawood

I liked this when I came across it “Thinking is a kind of making, and making is a kind of thinking" says Jessie Shefrin former Provost of The Rhode Island School of Design and past Dean of Graduate Studies of The Rhode Island School of Design.

I like this too, alot 'design thinking ... is the expression of communication – the form itself...' that is the response I got when I asked John Maeda, at a talk at MIT this year what design thinking is -- Is it the form, is it the way it is presented .. and how does it impact international affairs? His response has got me mulling on innovation economics – and a very 21st century focus. The innovation economics idea was introduced to me by Professor William Fisher of Harvard Law School, Wilmer Hale Professor of Intellectual Property. And so Professor Fisher I take the liberty to propel this idea to designing innovation economics in the 21st century. So here I am positing Creator Spaces as innovation economics in action. And yes, Prof Fisher, Intellectual Property is important and as you say, only and only if it creatively engages with culture. So I take the creative engaging with the culture of a people, the culture of counties ... to a culture of creation. So, I am building and creating and designing too. Is this Ronald Dworkin`s chain novel theory playing itself out – a step by step building of things.

In particular I focus on Creator and Maker spaces which I call Creator Spaces. It is a movement rapidly gaining traction – and pioneering new pedagogies – tinkering, creator and playful learning pedagogies. No doubt this is influencing and will continue to improve a whole new wave – tinkering, playful learning and learning through play and exploration heralding novel creations as well as iterations in the new edu- tech era.

This is innovation economics birthed. A world of tinkering, software and hardware creation including an immersive engagement with technology and with materials –that is what empowers us to be courageous and creative. To make, to create – the art of playful learning and innovator spirit is boldly borne.

In seeing what we create – both online with immersive engaging of technology to building with our minds and hands to creating with materials to embracing the realm of possibilities and yes frameworks ( the lawyer in me screams legal frameworks as much computational thinking calls for system frameworks ). That is the power of Creator Space. They energise, motivate, uplift and propel growth in ones own sense of self, in creativity, in making, in building, in designing and cognition and critical thinking. And this is why it makes sense – it is innovation economics in both the digital and physical – a new form of a connected world – a world of immersive technology made simple – a world of creative making and a world of design and designing new things – software, new hardware, new things and while the search for new hardware forms and hardware materials is increasingly opening up new possibilities in materials.... Creator Spaces are about working with what is available as well making new from afresh and in that process new forms are birthed – New software creation is Creator Space and open source learning and remixing also lend impetus to this. See what amazing creations Scratch, an open source computer programme inspiring community learning and inspiring kids to create stories, animations and games - initiated at the MIT Media Lab Lifelong Kindergarden Group - is doing for kids globally here

Designing Creator Spaces is about inspiring people to take charge of their minds and ideas. I marvelled at watching the excitement and agility of the kids at MIT `s Scratch Day this May. Boundless enthusiasm and fun creations – and such confidence.

A new creator pedagogy in the making – yes – but maybe not so new in Africa and emerging economies where creator crafts and tinkering necessities were birthed. It is this staple that will take the shift to tinkering and artful play in emerging economies to levels unparalleled and a boon for innovation economics. Now that is design thinking innovation economics.  Creator Spaces is innovation economics. And yes, Intellectual Property matters.

Ayesha Dawood is a lawyer, writer and artist and educator. She is a Harvard and South African educated lawyer (@ConsultAyesha) She has an LL.M from Harvard Law School and is a recent Fellow of the Weatherhead Centre for International Affairs, Harvard University.