– Throwback MCBW 2017 –
How to get a mob of 3 x 20 kids with an average age of 10 to concentrate on one thing only for nearly 2 hours? Easy: give them a robot, an iPad and a tricky task. Such as: “Tell the robot to drive straight ahead for 50 cm, knock over a traffic cone, make a 90° turn and so on until it has cleared a field of six cones and happily begins whistling a song (with children and parents applauding enthusiastically while looking at the result).
This year saw the inauguration of an event in a former factory building in Obersendling, Germany, that had not been included in MCBW’s programme to date – a class to write code for robots, initiated by “Solutionbar” and organised by the team of “Roberta”. In teams of two, the children spread out with their iPads and laptops to programme their Dash and Mindstorms robots. And whenever they were not staring at the small, colourful squares used like building blocks to create on screen each individual command for the robot, they ran around the large hall or played a round of footie. For many, this represented their first contact with coding but by the end of the session, each child came away with a real success story.
“Children today primarily enter the world of digital media as consumers,” explained Marco Peters, CEO of Solutionbar, father of two schoolchildren and creator of the event. “We want to help children develop a creative mind. And to show them what goes into the making of games, WhatsApp and Minecraft and the likes. To that end, there is only way: our children need to learn how to write code!” He is thrilled that his idea was met with such enthusiasm and that the team received such positive feedback from all participants.