Kids Bootcamp: Teach the language of the future

July 10, 2017

During the Graduation and Reunion 2017 of Bologna Business School was held the second edition of the Fun Coding Kids Bootcamp, a workshop dedicated to the children of our alumni and faculty where they could learn the computer language through a game. The scope was to demonstrate how important and easy is to teach little girls and boys the code programming and to help them become the citizens of the future.

A language to master

“Coding and Computing are tools to support childhood creativity, that enable to create digital artifacts and complex micro-worlds, both from the point of view of structure and behavior.” Alessandro Ricci, professor at the Department of Computer Science and Engineering (DISI) of the University of Bologna, explains the didactic meaning of learning the logic of programming. In a world increasingly oriented towards digitalization, to integrate knowledge of basic principles into a primary school curriculum should be crucial to getting more and more essential knowledge. 18 children from 7 to 11 years old participated in this bootcamp guided by “wizards” teachers where they have discussed and independently handed out their micro-worlds programs (computer programs) developing them and adapting them as best they believed, working also in group.

The method

“It has been a creative path of coding that has led the children to build programs from scratch until they create a video game, which was the final goal. “Alessandro Ricci and Laura Tarsitano, BA in Computer Science and Engineering at the University of Bologna, taught the children the use of the programming platform “Snap!” , well known and used in schools. The base of the two days workshop was the construction of a “theatrical” micro-world of a show, composed of actors moving on a stage. “Kids were the directors of the show and they had to define the scripts of the various actors as well as their costumes and sounds to use.” In this creative journey they have been able to touch, sometimes unconsciously, some of the concepts and mechanisms at the base of programming and what is now called computational thinking.

The results

“They have developed the natural ability to constructively use new concepts and mechanisms without necessarily comprehending them completely, without fear of trying, putting in place a process in which learning, use, construction, and even study, are in continuous relation. Showing an extraordinary flexibility and ability that often gets lost when pursuit the studies after primary school. “The debate on the development and use of artificial intelligence almost always resides in university labs and in industrial and business applications. “Speaking of innovation – concludes Ricci – means for me to talk about the culture of school and its development”

 

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