In sports-based activities, there is typically a portion of the week focused on practice or skill development that concludes with an exhibition (game). Since games have a binary outcome (win or lose), it enables participants to learn what they need to focus on during the following week in order to continue developing their skills. Over the course of the season, kids play a series of games before the playoffs begin. During the playoffs, there are a series of competitions with binary outcomes before the overall champion is determined.
Within the emerging coding for kids space, one of the biggest opportunities is a forum to let kids demonstrate their capabilities among their peers while also showing their parents exactly what they are learning. Our instructors are fortunate in that they get to spend either: 4 hours during a camp or 1 hour/week during classes seeing firsthand what the kids are capable of. However, parents only get to see the finished product during the last 5 or so minutes of class.
So we thought, why don’t we structure a program that would enable kids to have a parallel to a game in sports? One of the ideas that came to mind is a hack-a-thon. What exactly is a hack-a-thon? A hack-a-thon is an event in which a group of people gather together to engage in collaborative computer programming. For adults, this activity can range from a few hours to several days. But, before we pushed forward with this idea, we wanted to get your feedback on it. So, how would we structure a coding for kids hack-a-thon?
Something we always strive for in any of our programs is that the kids must have fun while learning about a subject. Our coding for kids hack-a-thon would be a fun way for kids to get together with peers that they either normally take weekly sessions with or meet some new friends that share a common interest in learning to use technology to solve really difficult problems.
One of our big beliefs is that the development of solutions to difficult problems will fundamentally rely on cross-functional and inter-disciplinary collaboration among teams. Our hack-a-thons will be structured to facilitate kids working together.
While there are often times where solution development takes time, we also want kids to gain comfort in pushing themselves to achieve results within a fixed period of time. This helps develop their time management skills while also internalizing a key truism – ‘perfection is the enemy of innovation’.
In order to really have the kids focus their energy, we would develop concise problem statements and platform recommendations (Scratch) to enable comparison of the solutions across the participating teams.
Based on this description of our coding for kids hack-a-thon, what other elements would you like to see us incorporate? In addition, is this something you think your child might enjoy? Let us know in the comments below or by sending us an email