Bold Content Video & Tech She Can Program Inclusivity into New Animation

Tech She Can, a U.K. charity committed to changing the ratio of women working in technology, has introduced a new guest character based on Salford schoolgirl Ava Roberts to make its popular educational resource, Katie and Tex, more inclusive.

Ten-year-old Ava, who has cerebral palsy, is cast as herself in the eLearning series, an open resource produced by Bold Content Video for Tech She Can. The series of Tech We Can animations has already been viewed by thousands of primary school children across the U.K. and beyond.

Ava joins the series in its sixth episode as a lab assistant, appearing in a five-minute lesson explaining what ‘The Cloud’ is, how it works and what it actually means.

Katie and Tex is designed to encourage children to be inquisitive users of the technology around them by exploring topics like virtual reality, cashless payments and the cloud, to question how it works and find out about the people who design and create it.

“We want every child to see that they have a place in tech,” said Becky Patel, head of early education at Tech She Can. “Ava’s parents and teacher approached us and said very few children with cerebral palsy are represented in TV and media and hardly any at all in children’s cartoons and animation so we decided to give Ava a platform.”

Ava Roberts
Ava Roberts in the recording studio.

For the voice over, Ava’s SENCo (Special Education Needs Coordinator) at school, Sarah Manson, asked the University of Salford in Manchester if they had an available recording studio. When the University learned about the project and Ava’s involvement, they offered the facility free of charge.

“It was a new experience for me,” Ava shared. “I like that she looks like me and I liked that I could choose her name and give her my name. I helped choose Ava’s outfit and got to pick my favorite one the animators sent over. We had a showing in my class with popcorn and drinks! I loved it!”

Ava’s animated counterpart will be written into future episodes when she is able to record for them.

“Our job as teachers is to prepare children for the future,” said Patel. “However, technology advances means the future is more unknown than it ever has been and a large majority of the children we teach will work in jobs and careers that we don’t even know will exist yet.

“These animations play a key part in helping children and teachers keep an eye on the world of technology, how it is changing and the roles that are developing so they can better prepare children for that future.”

Tech She Can
Ava inspired a new character in the Tech She Can animated series.

Ava’s character was created by Bold Content Video animation and post-production producer Hannah Collin.

“It’s really special for Ava to be involved in a project like this. This animated series is an open resource for anyone to use and has a huge reach among young children. We all want this series to be as inclusive as possible by creating characters from different cultures and with different abilities,” Collin says.

“It’s really important for children to see someone they can connect with and feel represented by. Imagine what this will do for other young children who have cerebral palsy to see someone who looks and speaks just like they do.”

Tech She Can (techshecan.org) is funded by 16 strategic partners and supported by over 250 members from more than 40 different sectors including tech, retail, media and aerospace. Its mission is to work together with industry, government and schools  to attract more women and girls into technology careers and change the ratio of women in tech.

The charity provides initiatives and pathways into tech across the key moments in girls’ and women’s lives. This includes their ‘Tech We Can’ educational resources which are designed to encourage both boys and girls to pursue a career in technology.

You can watch all the available Tech We Can animations at techshecan.org/animated-lessons.

Tech She Can
Tech She Can
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