If you think tech is geeky and boring, what do you think you're doing when you’re on your smartphone, iPad or playing with apps and games? You’re doing digital tech!
It may not be high tech like artificial intelligence or landing a robotic rover on Mars but the digital online activities you take for granted makes you part of the most continually connected, tech-savvy generation to ever walk the planet. Information and communications technologies (ICT) are part of everything we do every day, mashing up with all sectors to power eLearning, eHealth, eBusiness, eGovernment and the list goes on. Even pre-schoolers know how to use a computer and iPad!
We know it’s sometimes hard to think way ahead, past university or college, to what your future career might be. But if you haven’t considered tech as a career, have some fun now trying out basic digital tech skills like creating your own games, website or blog. No programming required!
We hate to go all practical on you when we’re just trying to have fun here. But these kinds of techie things done through easy-to-use software are actually related to well-paid careers in the real world where websites, games and apps are big business.
Learning tech skills and enjoying yourself is really possible without being the least bit geeky and boring. And - one last practical plug – whatever you or a group of friends create, looks good on your résumé for summer jobs.
If you know of other websites offering free software for making your own games, apps, websites or blogs send them along and we’ll add them to our list for everyone else to try too! Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Create a Game
There are several top-rated sites where you can download free software to create a game and watch tutorials to get started. Here are some of the most popular with introductions taken from their websites.
Sploder™ is online game software that allows people to create cool games and publish them on the web. Sploder™ even allows you to easily put Flash games on your site without having to learn Flash.
Game Maker requires no prior understanding of programming or game creating experience. It simply requires you to cut and paste elements into a game much as if you were using a word processor.
The mission of Sandbox is to make it as easy as possible for kids and adults to make their own games and worlds. The idea is that if we make it easy enough for kids to use, hopefully it will be easy enough for adults as well.
Build a Website or Blog
Launching a free website you’ve created can be a bit tricky because the website has to exist somewhere (hosting), needs a URL all to itself that no one else owns (domain name) and then a template to use (software) to build your home page and attach other pages to it. There’s a lot of money to be made by companies selling these services but believe it or not, you can still do a website or blog for free - and without learning code. Here’s some places you can start.
Mozilla’s free Webmaker Tools are designed to meet Mozilla’s goal of helping “millions of people move from using the web to making the web.” Its new free tool – Thimble – allows you to easily create and share your own web pages.
A really cool thing about Thimble is that you create your site by just typing on one side of the tool’s web page. On the other side, it shows you how your content looks translated into HTML and CSS code which is the foundation of every website out there. Thimble also helps you check what you’re doing and catch any errors.
One of the longstanding favorites in free website and blogging software is WordPress. Tons of bloggers use the easy Wordpress software and even host their blogs for free on Wordpress.com WordPress says you can get started in seconds without any technical knowledge. They have 55 million Wordpress.com sites around the world and counting!
Check out the Introduction to Google Sites video below which explains how it helps you create and share a website with friends and family.