This summer, I ran mobile app creation workshop for middle and high school children. Teaching and interacting with a bunch of kids was a great experience for me. There was lot of learning too and I am sharing those in this blog.
I will start with the good things first. I think the best part of the workshop was that children learnt to use their devices creatively. They were super excited to be able to create apps and see them running on their mobile/tablets. In three weeks, all of them created 4-5 apps/games. Some of them were quite creative and with little direction they extended their basic games to add more levels and power ups. Keeping the workshop focused on games creation turned out to be a good strategy – children enjoyed learning computing concepts while creating games for their devices. Apart from kids, the parents were equally excited to see their children engaged with gadgets in a more creative manner. It was very fulfilling to receive great feedback from parents. I would like to quote one of the parents here –
“I was so glad that I had my 13 year old boy take the Android app programming class. Ms.Jayashree went to the extent of making him truly understand the basics of programming and took him into computing one step a time, as he had no previous exposure. He loved the class and looked forward to it every day and learnt a lot during the 3 week session.My son is a kid who loves Biology and did not have any appetite for programming and this class helped him gainthat.”
Now, coming to some of the stark facts that I realized while doing the workshop. I was really disappointed to see that most of the children lack thinking capability. Critical and logical thinking are important skills of 21st century and it doesn’t look like educational institutions are laying enough stress on them. In fact, most of the children complained that the teaching methodology in schools is still rote based learning and they have little room to be creative. And note that, this was coming from children who go to some of the best schools of Bangalore! As expected, computing curriculum is quite outdated in schools and most of them lack good faculty. Computing is taught more theoretically in schools due to lack of good teachers. In fact, I realized that high school children are at the same level in computing as the children in primary level. It may sound harsh but this is the reality that I discovered. I think It is high time ICSE and CBSE revise their curriculum to teach latest and useful technologies to children. I saw lot of interest in children to learn Photoshop and iMovie kind of software rather than learning Word and Powerpoint over and over again. Incorporating these tools in the curriculum will help develop some important skills in the children who are going to face the world where technology is changing and evolving at a very fast pace.
However, the positive point is that the children are very bright and smart. They are gadget savvy and very quick to learn. They just need to be led in the right direction so that they are ready for the 21st century.
I will be sharing apps created by children in my next blog. Hope you enjoyed reading the insights! Do share your thoughts on these facts and issues in the comment box. Thanks for reading!
You can also view this on my blog here.