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5/30/2013
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Website Aims To Inspire Digital Makers

Non-profit educational group Nesta addresses U.K.'s fading IT heritage through Make Things Do Stuff, a website that offers British teens online tools that foster digital creativity.

Are you young, British, and interested in digital creativity? There's a new website just for you. Oh, and tell your friends.

That's the message behind Make Things Do Stuff, a website launched Thursday that aims to mobilize the next generation of U.K. digital makers. The cheerily designed site is the underpinning of a new campaign to inspire teens to make things in the digital world. Make Things Do Stuff promises to help youngsters find the support, advice, resources and tools they need to go from being a digital consumer to being a digital maker.

It's a mission British politicians have been sounding about recently. However, Make Things Do Stuff comes not from central government, but from Nesta, an educational non-profit set up to explore the interactions of technology and society.

The site's focus is less on employability than on communities as a whole. "We want to help people to make the shift from consuming digital technologies, to making and building their own," reads a statement on the website. "When all kinds of different people start hacking, re-mixing and making things with technology, the possibilities get really interesting."

[ Are apprenticeships another solution to the U.K.'s IT talent gap? Read U.K. Eyes Apprenticeships To Grow IT Talent. ]

The site aims to get kids started on their journey, whether they want to build a website, a game, an app or a 3D robot. The site's homepage includes links to many possible destinations, such as remixes and mashups, physical computing (which turns out to be robots), tinkering with electronics and building contraptions with household objects. The site's content is also supplemented by local clubs and events.

Make Things Do Stuff's launch is being supported by an event Thursday in London's iconic Roundhouse, a former rock music venue famous for being one of the few places The Doors ever played in the U.K. This time, however, it's less Lizard King than teenagers learning about creating digital content -- and perhaps building digital instruments to bring the place down in a live jam session.

Nesta hopes that such events, along with online and group projects, will create a new generation of British digital makers who will not only end up with something tangible they have created but will learn a whole heap of practical technical stuff along the way.

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