How Hacking Empowers Us

21-07-14 jay 0 comment

These days everyone’s using technology; it’s a part of our daily lives like the air we breathe. From the television in your living room to the computer in your family room, or the cellphone that you carry around with you everywhere you go, we use computers and machines to do everything. We are, in a sense, inextricably tied to the machines we create.

So having an understanding of not only how to use them, but how to create them, fix them, and change them is an incredibly important skill set to have. In fact, people who do have these skills are almost guaranteed a job anywhere they go. That’s how important our machines are to us.

And yet it’s not just about getting a job. While learning how to program or build a machine will certainly set you ahead in the job market, there’s something even more important to it: it changes the way you look at the world. The stuff that you use on a daily basis cease to be magical objects, and become things that you can understand and create on your own. You’re no longer just a consumer in this world, but a person who has the ability to change it.

This is an incredibly empowering mindset.

Let’s turn our eye on Mokena, then, because the question becomes: if understanding technology is a powerful tool that we value as a society, how do we give the people who live here the abilities to take advantage of that. The answers, as you may have guessed, are very traditional ones: education, awareness, and outreach.

If Mokena is to become a place where we train the next generation of hackers and creators of things — people like engineers and programmers — then we need to emphasize these things not just in the schools, but outside of them and in our everyday lives. We’re trying to do this at SpaceLab in our own way, by holding community classes geared around technology. The library does this well, too.

But we can always do more. And I’d like to see that in the way we approach community building and planning for the future. How do we make learning about technology a mission for Mokena? Could SpaceLab, or some other place, become the central hub where we train the community and our children for the 21st Century?

Could Mokena become not only a place where we all live, but a place where we learn and grow together?