Times are rapidly changing and technology is increasingly becoming part and parcel of our lives. From the tiny communication gadgets in our pockets, to operating devices in hospitals, cooking appliances in the kitchen and mega satellites in space, technology is revolutionizing people’s lives in different positive ways. In all these technological advancements, new innovations crop up every day and they shape our world in beautiful ways.

Therefore to be a part of the future, and effectively contribute to these innovations everyone needs to understand how computers work.

“In the future, not knowing the language of computers will be as challenging as the illiterate or innumerate are today.”- Dr. Dan Crow is chief technology officer of Songkick, visiting professor of computer science at Leeds University and adviser to the Year of Code

The best way catapult masses towards shaping the technology of the future is by investing on children’s ability in understanding how technology works

Kids lets code!

The African Centre for Women Information and Communications Technology (ACWICT) in partnership with Microsoft Corporation have for years championed coding for employability initiatives aimed at promoting young people’s interest in learning how technology works so that they can pursue careers in computer science related fields. Having carried out successful initiatives, both organizations felt the need to give back to their dedicated staff members by introducing their children into the tech savvy field through conducting an annual ‘kids code event’ during the International Computer Science Education Week. This way even as they work on equipping others with IT skills to innovate and shape the future, their children are also reached with the hope of having them follow in their footsteps.

“We are very excited that our partnership has come to this level where it is also giving us the chance to mentor these young ones to be able to follow in the roots that we followed. We hope that at the end of all these, even as you go through your high school and primary education, we shall be able to get some of you taking up careers in computer science,” says Constantine Obuya, Executive Director, ACWICT.

She also mentioned the increase in the number of children participating in the event shows that a majority of them are already developing interest in coding and she assured them that the journey that they have just began provides them with an opportunity to develop mobile app solutions to everyday challenges.

Mr. Alex Nyingi Microsoft East and Southern Africa, Philanthropies Manager is also keen on the kids code activity. In these events, he encourages the trainees to make friends and have fun while they code. He says that in addition to having the children play computer games, it would be a good idea for them to learn how to create their own.

“I believe all of us have ever used a mobile phone, a computer or probably have been in the internet. And you have played different computer games as well. What we want you to do today is learn how to create your own games through coding,” said Mr. Nyingi.

The trainees are usually divided into age groups and the different groups tackle coding using applications that best suited them. Well, as the old adage goes ‘all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy’, there were a few breaks especially for the young ones to rejuvenate. Also there were plenty of fun activities to indulge in. For those who found the bouncing castle too petite were welcomed to play Dance Central – Xbox 360.

The game – Dance Central – Xbox 360 – was also an exciting and unique method of coding because as one mimics the dancers on the screen they learn to debug.

Everyone always has something new to learn and what was more important is for the children to cultivate an interest in coding even when they are on their own, encourage their friends to try an hour of code. 

“I learnt how to code and I loved it” – Kerigo

Introducing our children to modern technology helps in nurturing highly enthusiastic and innovative problem solvers as they grow up. The annual kids code event is a wonderful initiative which will surely reap massive benefits in the future.