Creativity and technology meet in Salinas

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Robotics from the Naval Postgraduate School, rocketry with NASA’s Science, Engineering, Math and Aerospace Academy, hacking at Coder Dojo Salinas. Plus video production, acting, web design, a planetarium show and more. Those were the afternoon attractions today at the Creative Tech Expo at Hartnell College in Salinas.

A few hundred kids, mostly digital technology and business students from Monterey County high schools, spent their Saturday working their way through a couple dozen exhibits set up by local companies, clubs, schools and non-profits. They also heard talks by local technologists and artists, and judged videos produced by other students.

A computer recycling organization – Loaves, Fishes and Computers – was showing kids how to take a computer apart and put it back together. They also donated a computer for a raffle, which was won by students from a vocational program at North Salinas High School.

The Central Coast Broadband Consortium took part. We had a presentation going at our booth about local infrastructure – not a real attention grabber in retrospect – and asked the students to fill out a survey about how they access the Internet. We gave spot prizes for creative answers. Best one was from a kid who had all the geek details of how he gets free WiFi from his neighbors.

Most common question from kids looking at the survey choices: what’s “dial-up”? I had to explain that’s how grandpa used to get on the Internet, back when we watched TV by candlelight. If nothing else, it shows we’re making progress.

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