What we do in Lab sessions
At each weekly two-hour Lab session, two or more computer programmers and designers work individually with between 12 and 20 young people to develop their social and technology skills. We provide an environment where participants can share their interests in a wide variety of activities such as gaming together, video creation and sharing, graphic design, programming and game development. Mentors are available during Lab sessions to support activities or to work with participants on new projects of interest to them.
We’ve found that some of the most useful things first learned by participants during Lab sessions are social and personal skills. This includes learning about how to work with others, how to make friends and how to interact socially, as well as simply feeling accepted and valued by peers with common interests. The Lab is about technology skills too, but typically the programming and design skills come a little later once participants have settled in. This can take a little time and one of the essential aspects of The Lab is that kids find their own place and in their own time.
Our approach to Lab sessions
We take an unstructured approach so every session can be different. We want participants to undertake activities because it interests them, not because they have to. This approach is deliberately unlike school and is based on our experience with hundreds of young people. The Lab is designed to be a cool and accepting place to visit, hang out and learn while having fun.