Ana Pires inspires young minds

In an effort to foster a love for science and technology among young minds, Ana Pires, a distinguished researcher from the Interactive Technologies Institute, engaged this February kindergarten and primary school children at the “Encontro com um Cientista” event organized by Pavilhão do Conhecimento – Centro Ciência Viva.

Ana Pires, an Educational and Inclusive Technology expert, captivated the audience by showcasing her work in developing interactive games that utilize physical pieces to engage with PCs and tablets. Her creations focus on mathematical games designed to stimulate and enhance mathematical skills in children.

During the event, Pires initiated a discussion with the students about the concept of technology, highlighting examples such as agriculture and the wheel as some of the earliest forms of technology. Drawing on her experiences working with children in Uruguay, she noted their inclination towards both technological and physical play, inspiring her to merge the two in her game designs.

One remarkable aspect of Ana Pires’ work is her commitment to inclusivity. Recognising the need for children with visual impairments to interact seamlessly with their peers, she has developed 3D-printed pieces with raised textures, characters with audio descriptions, and joysticks featuring Braille buttons. These innovations have resulted in inclusive games that students can experience firsthand.

Engaging with the young audience, Pires fielded questions from the students, addressing their curiosity about her experiences as a woman in the field of science. Encouragingly, she shared insights into her journey, encouraging the students to pursue scientific careers or, at the very least, maintain a curious spirit akin to that of a scientist.