This week is Computer Science Week and Microsoft in partnership with KidsCompCamp kicked off the week by visiting Kangemi Resource Centre. The focus of the day was to train kids how to write basic code and since the world is fast becoming a tech-powered one, it seems paramount for the young ones to start learning how to code at their tender age.
At the Kangemi Resource Centre, the training started at 11:00 am with the Project Lead, Wanjiku Lena leading the others in training the kids how to write simple code. “I work with Kids Comp Camp which is short for Kids Computer Camp,” the Project Lead, Wanjiku Lena revealed to me earlier on. “We have a partnership with Microsoft, so we are running our off code which is marked from 5th all the way to 10th. We are marking the Global Computer Science Week where we introduce programming to kids, just demystifying the myth that has been around coding: coding is hard, not everyone can do coding.”
The setup was simple. There were desktops and laptops that were fitted with the coding program and the kids who were available shared the resources. I was expecting the kids to use Minecraft, but there was a bit of a problem. “We were supposed to use that by getting the offline version but since it was a 64-bit version, it couldn’t run on most of the devices.” That is why they ended up using Scratch.
“Scratch is found online, actually, it is open source and you can download it.” It is a coding software with a kid-friendly user interface (colourful UI and the use of objects like cats). The exercise had a goal in mind for the kids. “We are trying to show the kids that they can actually code and today’s objective was every child must write a line of code,” she said, “How they would do that is by piecing two blocks together or just pulling one block and making a sprite move and they were doing that using Scratch.”
The kids seemed to be taken by the idea and they were quickly in tune with the program. The workshop had another goal in mind. “What we are trying to solve is that we noticed that there is a huge gap between kids born in rural areas and those kids growing up in urban areas.”
There are other locations that have been scheduled where kids will receive the same training. “We have several events, running from today until Saturday. Today we are in Kangemi, tomorrow in Kitengela, Wednesday in Dagoretti Corner, Thursday in Nyumbani Children’s home, 9th on Kawangware and 10th on Kibra.”
Kenya is not the only country where Microsoft is holding coding events for youths. They are holding several workshops in more than 60 countries during this week. The Hour of Code tag was designed to demystify code and show that anyone can learn the basics and it has become a worldwide effort with over 400 partners and 200,000 educators worldwide.