MBN Academy’s Robin “My Day with Tomorrow’s Technology Leaders”

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My Day with Tomorrow’s Technology Leaders

My work within MBN’s Academy normally sees me interfacing with Post-Graduate level students. They can be seriously challenging. They’re clever, ambitious, often outspoken, confident and very, very sure of themselves. However, they’re just the warm-up act. They’re just light sparring partners to get me ready for the “Real Deal” when it comes around. And, last Friday, it did.

An invitation to talk during Knightswood Primary’s “World of Work” event in Glasgow. 150 students from P6 and P7 (10 to 11 years old). GULP! My experience with this age group (and I have presented to this level before) is that (a) you really need to know your stuff because (b) they don’t mess around!!!

So, I rock up to the school with my newly jazzed up “Future of Work” presentation (thanks, Ashleigh!) and press the buzzer on the front door. Waiting for me is Mrs. Young – Principal Teacher – with a gang of young folks. I get offered a seat and a name badge as a flurry of bodies speed round me in every direction – visiting adults emerging from doors having finished their presentations, teachers keeping order as, literally, dozens and dozens of amazingly noisy little folks buzz around in every direction. Beautiful chaos!!

I am shown into the main hall, given a cup of tea (I have a simple rule when visiting anywhere. Corporate organisation, start-up, I don’t care – do they offer you tea?? Then they are good guys!) and my presentation is loaded onto a PC.  I then meet the two young gents who are tasked with looking after my A/V – what a pair of wee stars they were. The hall fills, I look up and there are a sea of kids looking right at me. RIGHT AT ME. However, having brought up 3 kids, and now that I’m a papa to another 2….I know the score. I’ve learned the rules: Be relatable, be honest, don’t patronise and never, ever act smart!!

So I take a deep breath, introduce myself (It’s an amazing feeling to hear a chorus of children doing that talking/singing thing “Good morning, Mr Rob”) and I get started on my presentation…My presentation features Robots, Fortnite: Battle Royale, X-Box, Netflix, Smartphones, Space travel, Autonomous vehicles and wearable tech. The kids raise their hands again and again to ask questions, make observations and sometimes…just sometimes…because they like to raise their hands!

I rush around the hall, leaning down to hear the quieter kids’ questions – doing the “sssssssshhuuuusssh” thing with my arms as the noise gets a bit too much to talk over until…30 minutes later – I am finished! The kids (bless ‘em) give me a wee round of applause and a cheer before my 2 A/V guys present me with a “thank you” card, an engraved pencil and a couple of drinks to take back to the office. Wee stars.

Thanks to all the kids who were so enthused with my talk. Thanks for all the questions, the comments, the jokes and the silliness. I am confident that there was at least a few Technology Leaders of Tomorrow in the audience. They are some seriously smart cookies! And finally, many thanks to Mrs. Young and the teachers for inviting me. As my boss said when I got back to the office – “Food for the Soul” ?